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UK International Drama Tour 2019

On 1st January, 2019 ten enthusiastic thespians jumped on a plane bound for Heathrow London. Rugged up and ready for a month long adventure, we headed to London’s bustling Covent Garden, our first stop. We hit the ground running, taking in West End shows like Phantom of the Opera, Kinky Boots, The Play That Goes Wrong and 42nd Street. We visited wonderful locations like Buckingham Palace, M & M World, Covent Garden Markets and who could miss a shopping trip to Harrods.

We started our theatre experiences with backstage tours to The National Theatre, Shakespeare’s Globe. Which was a fantastic experience and a real eye opener into the backstage workings of a theatre. The students participated in a very entertaining acting workshop run by Stage Ed based on The Play That Goes Wrong.

On the way to beautiful, stunning Bath we made a quick stopover at Stonehenge in somewhat cold temperatures. The historians among the group thoroughly enjoyed the historic Roman Baths. Continuing on our historic journey, we headed to Oxford where we toured the famous Oxford University and stood in the very stairs Harry Potter stood on his first day at Hogwarts.

Our Harry Potter adventure wasn’t complete without a trip to The Harry Potter Experience in Watford. There’s no other way to describe the amazing, fabulous, sensational, educational experience we had except to say MIND-BLOWING. Seeing the exact costumes the actors wore, the sets, the props, walking through the great hall, looking at the different technical jobs that took part in the film collaboration was one day we all will never forget.

We were treated to another outing to the theatre in Oxford where we saw a production called, Showstopper. A fully improvised musical devised on the spot from audience suggestions. The skill, talent and not to mention stunning vocal skills of the actors certainly opened our eyes to the array of training an actor must undertake to make it.

No trip to the UK would be complete without a trip to the Bard’s hometown of Stratford-Upon-Avon. Immersing ourselves in his world, we visited Shakespeare’s birthplace and house where we saw an actor performing some of his classic monologues, Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and took a backstage tour at the fascinating Royal Shakespeare’s Company theatres.

On the way to Harrogate we made a quick stop via Nottingham where we enjoyed a classic English Pantomime, Robin Hood and the Babes in the Hood. We took some time out to enjoy The Robin Hood Experience before heading to the majestic, Harrogate.

The few days staying in The Yorkshire Hotel in Harrogate was truly magical. We enjoyed some wonderful moments dining in the world famous Betty’s Tea Rooms with exquisite food. Visiting Ripley Castle and walking the grounds of the working castle was both serene and relaxing at the same time. Some of us struggled with the heat in the Turkish Baths, but the history behind it was fascinating. We were lucky enough to have a guided tour around Harrogate given by Harry, a man with endless knowledge about his hometown. We finished our visit with a backstage tour of the historic Harrogate Theatre.

We continued on our way, spending a few glorious days in York where we had our very own Amazing Race which took us into the Yorkshire Soap Company. Who knew they were making wedding cakes out of soap these days? Visited the York Minister and stepped back in time at the Jorvik Viking Centre.

We continued our trek and arrived in Glasgow and while the accents were a little hard to understand, the city displayed some amazing architecture in particular that of Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Eager for more history we had day trips to Edinburgh where we experienced Edinburgh Castle and its surrounding beauty before heading over to Dublin to experience a little Irish culture.

One of the highlight performances was seeing the National Theatre’s production of Warhorse in Glasgow. What a theatrical treat. There wasn’t a dry eye in the theatre by the end of the show. A truly magnificent production.

From Perth WA to Perth Scotland. We reached our final leg where we were to stage our production of Girl Who Cried Wolf at the Perth Youth Theatre, but not before a well-earned snow fight on the bus ride up. We meet some wonderful young people in Perth through two workshops conducted by Mrs Flanigan and one by the Lauren Oakes from the PYT. We tackled our show with professionalism and enthusiasm and the audience was pretty impressed with both our story and talent. It was hard to say goodbye to our newfound friends, but we hope they will come to our Perth to see us in the near future. We arrived back on home soil on Sunday 27th January ready to catch up on some much needed sleep.

Tour Experiences

The best experience I had on the UK Drama Tour was……

The bond I made with the incredibly special people, that accompanied me on the tour. Many of these people, I would have never even approached, and those I knew, we became so much stronger as friends. I truly believe these people will stay with me through my life for many years, as this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and the people that I travelled with, are so of the most amazing people I have, and believe I ever will meet. Our bonds are so much stronger, we have a huge amount of inside jokes and are growing closer every day. I massively miss seeing those beautiful people every day, and I wouldn’t change any of it for the world. – Kat Northall

Phantom of the Opera –Hannah Klonowski

The first night we played ‘Steven’ (Joe’s version of Mafia) – Jacob Miles

The best experience I had on the UK drama tour was when we went to see the play that goes wrong, as it was one of the most hilarious shows we watched and it is one of the main things we continue to talk about still. – Abbey Giezendanner

Working backstage with students in their performance in Perth, Scotland and watching the explore and learn new things with the Perth Youth Theatre students. – Michelle Kuipers

The best place I visited and why……

Oxford was so beautiful!!!! Harry Potter world was a highlight and Oxford University was so cool. Seeing where scenes from Harry Potter were filmed was phenomenal. – Naomi Denston

In Stratford-Upon-Avon we visited all things Shakespeare. We visited his birthplace, Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, the Royal Shakespeare Company where we did a backstage tour as we topped it off by watching a play at the RSC called Tartuffe. – Taleisa Kuipers

The best palace I visited was Dublin. Loved it. – Rachel Anderson

Greggs – Joe Neal

I also was able to meet up with a life-long, childhood friend which added to the experience even more, making Harrogate my favourite place, followed by York; the second most night of bonding. Although I felt the whole tour and every location was as incredible as the last. – Kat Northall

Favourite saying on tour

“Charrrllllieeee, honestlyyyyyy” - Abbey Giezendanner

“Charlieeee!”- Taleisa Kuipers

“Or did I?” – Jacob Miles

“Vati-can-can-can” from the musical Showstopper – Michelle Kuipers

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