Road Scholar : Home
Best of London Theatre on The Queen Mary 2

Program Number: 11996RJ
Start and End Dates:
5/31/2013 - 6/12/2013; 5/16/2016 - 5/29/2016; 7/5/2016 - 7/17/2016; 9/7/2016 - 9/20/2016; 10/10/2016 - 10/22/2016;
Duration: 12 nights
Location: United States/England
Price starting at: $4,329.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; Ocean Voyages; Independent City Discoveries Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 30; 12 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 11 Dinners    
Meal Options: Low Fat; Vegetarian; Low Salt; Gluten Free    

Theater and the performing arts take center stage on this enriching voyage from New York City to London aboard the magnificent Queen Mary 2. Immerse yourself in the history and practice of theatre with onboard theatre expert Giles Ramsay, who explores the development of drama from Greek tragedy to the modern musical. In London, experience the arts first-hand as you enjoy theater productions ranging from the classic to the cutting edge and gain insight from leading theatre professionals.

Activity Particulars

Walking up to 2 hours/2 miles per day on city streets and in galleries. Many theatres and historic buildings in London have no elevators and are not accessible.

Details of selected performances are sent four weeks prior to departure date.

Itinerary At-a-Glance

New York City, 1 night; aboard Queen Mary 2, 7 nights; London (England), 4 nights.

Days 1-2: Arrival New York City / embark Queen Mary 2:

Meet fellow Road Scholars during a welcome meeting and dinner. The next afternoon, board the elegant Queen Mary 2 as we set sail for London. Lodging: Downtown Manhattan hotel.

Days 3-8: At Sea:

Enjoy a wide variety of enriching ship-board activities, including the on-board planetarium, art classes, ballroom dancing and more. Theatre producer and director Giles Ramsay explores the art of theater and the process of production from text into performance. Gain expert understanding into the historic roots of European theatre ranging from medieval drama, through Marlowe and Shakespeare, to Wilde, Coward, Pinter and Stoppard.

Days 9-13: Southampton (England) / disembark / coach via Winchester to London / departure:

Disembark in Southampton and travel by coach via Winchester to London. Tonight, enjoy a theatre performance, which may range from a major classic to a contemporary comedy. Morning brings an interactive political discussion with a top BBC journalist, then free time to experience London on your own. Attend another evening play ¬— perhaps a major musical in the West End or a leading show at London’s flagship National Theatre. Explore The Victoria and Albert Museum, the world’s largest museum of art and design. Learn about rehearsing a play during an interactive workshop led by professional actors. Attend our third theatre performance this evening. The next day, visit The National Gallery and take afternoon tea at The Phoenix Artists Club, located in rehearsal rooms once occupied by Noel Coward and Laurence Olivier. We round off our trip with an in-depth discussion of shows we have seen with a leading London theatre critic, then enjoy our final theatre performance.

Queen Mary 2

At 1,132 feet long and 131 feet wide and cruising at 28.5 knots, the Queen Mary 2 can carry 2,592 passengers. Public areas linked by elevators include restaurants, bars, library, theater, casino, gym, pool and more. Dining in the Britannia Restaurant.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Giles Ramsay

Giles Ramsay is an independent theatre director and producer who specializes in creating new work with artists in developing countries. He is the Founding Director of the charity Developing Artists, a Fellow of St. Chad’s College, Durham University and Course Leader in Theatre at The Victoria and Albert Museum in London. He has devised and instructed on Road's Scholar programs since the early 1990's and has run theatre projects in countries ranging from Kosovo to Zimbabwe.
Meals and Lodgings
   New York Marriott Downtown
  New York, New York, USA 1 night
   Aboard The Queen Mary II
  Queen Mary II, USA 7 nights
   Radisson Edwardian Grafton Hotel
  London, UK:England 4 nights
 New York Marriott Downtown
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: The only Marriott hotel centrally located in Lower Manhattan, New York City's Financial District, and within walking distance to Wall Street and NYSE.
  Contact info: 85 West Street at Albany Street
New York, NY 10006 USA
phone: 121-238-5490 x0
  Room amenities: This hotel near Wall Street features 497 newly renovated guest rooms, including 7 suites. Hotel rooms offer the new Revive bed, 300 thread-count linens, down comforters and marble bathrooms. Some guest rooms offer views of the Statue of Liberty, New York City Harbor, or Wall Street. This downtown Manhattan hotel near Wall Street offers a state-of-the-art hotel fitness center. High-tech amenities include high-speed internet access and flat-screen TVs in all guest rooms.
  Facility amenities: All public areas non-smoking, Beauty shop nearby (referral at front desk), Cash machine/ATM, Coffee/tea in-room, Concierge Lounge Hours, Concierge desk, Evening turndown service, Florist, Foreign exchange, Gift/newsstand, Housekeeping service daily, Local restaurant dinner delivery, Newspaper delivered to room on request, Newspaper in lobby, Phone calls: toll-free, Room service, 6:00 AM-12:00 AM, Safe deposit boxes, front desk, Valet dry-cleaning, Virtual Concierge Available
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior:  Write to Adventures Afloat at Road Scholar in Boston or email
  Check in time: 4:00 PM

 Aboard The Queen Mary II
Type: Cruise Ship
  Ship Information: Having made her debut in January of 2004, the stylish and grand 12-deck, transatlantic liner Queen Mary 2, built by Cunard and under British Registry, represents the pinnacle of maritime achievement. At 1,132' long and 131' wide (150,000 tons) and cruising at 28.5 knots she can carry 3,090 passengers (of whom a maximum of 44 are Participants). Group dining in the Britannia Restaurant.
  Contact info: Queen Mary
New York, NY xxx USA
phone: xxx--
  Room amenities: Bathrobes with matching slippers, a hairdryer, refrigerator, safe, data port, direct dial phone, an interactive TV, daily shipboard newspaper, nightly turndown service and 24-hour room service. 220V British 3-pin and 110V 2-pin sockets.
  Facility amenities: Public areas linked by elevators include restaurants, bars, library, lounges, theater, casino, spa club, gym, sun decks and pool. Canyon Ranch Spa Club.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Radisson Edwardian Grafton Hotel
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Located close to the West End.
  Contact info: 130 Tottenham Court Road
London.,  W1T 5AY UK:England
phone: +44 20 7388 4131
  Room amenities: Air-conditioning. Direct dial telephone with personal phone numbers. Satellite TV, hairdryer, mini bar, in room safe, iron and trouser press, and tea and coffee making facilities. Complimentary wireless Internet access. US 110v sockets.
  Facility amenities: Restaurant, bar, business centre, fitness room and complimentary wireless Internet access.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after:  For additional pre and post program accommodations, please contact Road Scholar Travel Services at (800) 241-1404 or via email to
  Check out time: 10:00 AM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Independent transfers to New York hotel. There is a welcome meeting and reception with Giles Ramsay, Course Director, in the hotel at 6:00pm. You will be staying at New York Marriott Downtown that night.
  End of Program:
The programme ends after breakfast in the hotel in London. Breakfast ends at 10:00am and check out is by 11:00am. You will be staying at Radisson Edwardian Grafton Hotel the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. **PLEASE NOTE: Cunard requires that you register online in order to receive your E-ticket(s) and cruise documents. You should do this when you receive your final program materials about 5 weeks prior to departure, your booking number and cabin assignment will be included with these materials. Please go to to register. Click on Already Booked, then click on Voyage Personaliser on the left-hand side, scroll down a little and click on Visit Voyage Personaliser (in red font). That will open a new window where you can enter your first and last name and booking reference number to sign in. Once you have completed your online registration, you will be able to view and print all of your cruise documents. **You must print your own Queen Mary II Luggage Tags, they are required by the ship porters so your bags can make their way safely to your ship cabin.**
  Parking availability:
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: Buses and Amtrak trains are available to New York City. Nearest underground station in London is Warren Street.
To Start of Program
  Location:  New York, New York
  Transportation to site: The first night of this programme is spent at the Downtown Marriott New York. No transfers to this site are provided by Road Scholar and so you will need to make your own arrangements on arrival. Taxis are generally available and reliable. Taxi from JFK is approximately $55 (22 mi); from La Guardia is $42 (13.5 mi); from Newark EWR $45 (11 mi). OR, from Newark you may want to use the Olympia Trails Newark Airport Express Bus (Tel: 877-8-NEWARK) which costs $16 and takes your to Grand Central Station (2 mi away from hotel). From there take either the 4 Train (towards Crowne Hts-Utica Av) or 5 Train (towards Flathbush Ave-Brooklyn College) to the Wall St station and then walk 5 minutes to the hotel. (Total cost per person 18.25) . From NEWARK Terminal C take the 62 Bus towards Newark Penn Station. Transfer to the PATH Commuter train towards World Trade Center. Walk 7 min to the hotel. ($7:75; 40 min) From Newark you may go the whole way via public transit. It will involve 3 transfers and a little walking. (total cost pp $12.75; 1:15 min) OR, from JFK, take the AirTrain JFK: Howard Beach-Airport towards Howard Beach. Transfer to the A Train towards Inwood to the 207 St stop. Walk to Fulton St (~3 min). Take the 5 Train towards Flatbush Ave Brooklyn College. Walk 5 min to the hotel. ( Cost $7.25; about 1:20 min) OR, from LaGuardia, Take the M60 Bus towards West Side BWay to 106th St via 125th St. Walk to Astoria Blvd (~ 2 min). Take the N or Q Trains towards Coney Island to Stillwell Ave. Walk to Lexington and 59th St. Take the 4 Train towards New Lots Ave to the Wall St Station and walk 5 min to the hotel. (Cost $2.25 pp; 1:20 min)
  From End of Program
  Location:  London
  Nearest airport:  Heathrow and Gatwick
  Transportation from site: Trains and underground available. Transportation will be provided to Heathrow at the end of the program for participants who are departing on group departure day. Complete the form in the preparatory materials and return to Road Scholar in the UK.
Elevation Note: This program takes place at sea level.

The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Arrival, Welcome
(Friday, May 31)
 Afternoon: Independent arrivals. Welcome meeting and reception in hotel at 6 p.m.
 Dinner: Enjoy dinner on your own to explore local fare.
 Evening: Enjoy a free evening to explore.
Accommodations: New York Marriott Downtown

Day 2: Embark Queen Mary 2.
(Saturday, June 1)
 Breakfast: In the hotel.
 Morning: Enjoy a free morning on your own.
 Lunch: You are free to enjoy lunch on your own. You may wish to take a late lunch onboard ship.
 Afternoon: Group transfer by coach to embarkation of Queen Mary 2 at about 2 p.m.
 Dinner: Onboard ship.
 Evening: Free to begin exploring the magnificent Queen Mary 2 and its grand array of activities and entertainment.
Accommodations: Aboard The Queen Mary II
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 3: Multi-media presentation by Giles Ramsay.
(Sunday, June 2)
 Breakfast: Onboard ship.
 Morning: Enjoy a variety of shipboard-enrichment activities during each of the next six mornings and evenings as you sail to London and your theatrical learning adventure. Experience the Cunard Insights guest lecture series, which explores historical and contemporary issues presented by speakers including explorers, academics, former ambassadors and politicians, historians and scientists, novelists, biographers and award-winning actors and film makers. If you are an avid reader, take advantage of the Book Club and literary discussions with librarians, or choose from a wide range of classes such as watercolors, computer lessons, wine tasting, ballroom dancing and more, or enjoy bridge and board games.

On deck, games and more active entertainment are available. You can exercise in the fitness center, walk around the Promenade Deck, swim in one of the pools, play tennis, or take exercise classes such as yoga and Pilates.

In the Royal Court Theatre, enjoy singers and dancers in stage shows. There are movies in the cinema, and the bars and lounges throughout the ship feature pianists, jazz bands and string quartets. Hear the Julliard School jazz series and take part in the Royal Night Theme Balls. Polish your acting skills with one-hour workshops with actors who spent three years at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

Or simply take Afternoon Tea and enjoy the Maritime Quest exhibition throughout the ship.
 Lunch: Onboard ship.
 Afternoon: To prepare for your theatre adventure in London in six days, Giles Ramsay, a theatre producer and director based in London, presents a colorful and informative lecture: "What is Theatre and Why Do We Need It?" He will offer insight on a different aspect of London theatre each afternoon. Subjects will possibly change as Giles tailors his lectures according to the interests of the group and the current theatre scene in London.
 Dinner: Onboard ship.
 Evening: Enjoy an array of shipboard activities.
Accommodations: Aboard The Queen Mary II
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Lecture by Giles Ramsay and Welcome Cocktail Party
(Monday, June 3)
 Breakfast: Onboard ship.
 Morning: Enjoy a variety of shipboard-enrichment activities. Consider taking a class such as watercolor painting or ballroom dancing, enjoying one of the ship's swimming pools, and more.
 Lunch: Onboard.
 Afternoon: Giles Ramsay presents the multi-media lecture: "Medieval Drama Reformation and Christopher Marlowe.” Also, enjoy a Welcome Cocktail Party.
 Dinner: Onboard.
 Evening: Enjoy a variety of shipboard-enrichment activities, including many kinds of evening entertainment featuring dancing, music and more.
Accommodations: Aboard The Queen Mary II
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Lecture by Giles Ramsay on Shakespeare
(Tuesday, June 4)
 Breakfast: Onboard.
 Morning: Enjoy an exceptional array of shipboard-enrichment activities.
 Lunch: Onboard.
 Afternoon: To continue your preparation for a fascinating theatre adventure in London, Giles Ramsay presents the lecture "Shakespeare's Life and Verse."
 Dinner: Onboard.
 Evening: Enjoy a variety of shipboard-enrichment activities. Check the QM2 schedule to see which night you can experience a Royal Night Theme Ball, donning your formal dancing attire and taking to the floor in a sea of glittering ball gowns and tuxedos accompanied by the sounds of a wonderful orchestra.
Accommodations: Aboard The Queen Mary II
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Lecture by Giles Ramsay on "British Theatre"
(Wednesday, June 5)
 Breakfast: Onboard.
 Morning: Enjoy a variety of shipboard-enrichment activities, perhaps excercising your mind playing bridge with new friends or trying out a board game, then exercising your body in the QM2's fitness center. You activity choices are plentiful.
 Lunch: Onboard.
 Afternoon: Giles Ramsay presents the colorful and informative lecture: "British Theatre."
 Dinner: Onboard.
 Evening: Relax on the deck enjoying the camaraderie of new friends. Or choose one of the many kinds of nightly entertainment found on this elegant ship. You will never find yourself without plenty of nightly options.
Accommodations: Aboard The Queen Mary II
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Insight on Theatre.
(Thursday, June 6)
 Breakfast: Onboard.
 Morning: You may choose to enjoy a yoga or Pilates class with one of the QM2's expert fitness instructors, or improve your skills in a computer class or one of many other class offerings. Choose from the plentiful shipboard activities offered on this grand ship.
 Lunch: Onboard.
 Afternoon: Theater producer and director Giles Ramsay continues his expert insights into British theatre.
 Dinner: Onboard.
 Evening: Choose to relax taking in a movie in the ship's cinema, or take it up a notch at the G32 Night Club with a popular themed night from the 1960s, '70s or '80s. You have many options to experience all the QM2 has to offer.
Accommodations: Aboard The Queen Mary II
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Giles Ramsay lecture, "The 20th Century: Wilde, Coward, Pinter, Orton, Osborne."
(Friday, June 7)
 Breakfast: Onboard.
 Morning: On your final day aboard the QM2, perhaps you will glean final bits of knowledge from a class you've been taking. Maybe you're in need of a rigorous walk around the Promenade Deck. Or perhaps you and new friends have been keeping track of your wins and losses playing bridge and are hoping to swing things in your favor. There are ample shipboard activities from which to choose.
 Lunch: Onboard.
 Afternoon: Giles Ramsay continues his series of exceptional lectures with "The 20th Century: Wilde, Coward, Pinter, Orton, Osborne."
 Dinner: Onboard.
 Evening: On your final evening aboard ship before making port in Southampton, you may want to have a quiet night spent with new friends. Or perhaps you'll toast your last of six nights at sea, marveling at all you've done and learned while crossing the Atlantic.
Accommodations: Aboard The Queen Mary II
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Arrive England, Winchester Cathedral, Theatre Performance at the Old Vic.
(Saturday, June 8)

Note: Walking and standing of up to one hour in Winchester Cathedral; some steps, stone floors.

 Breakfast: Onboard.
 Morning: Disembark Southampton and transfer by coach to London via Winchester. Experience a field trip to the magnificent Winchester Cathedral, which is one of the largest cathedrals in England and is the longest Gothic cathedral in Europe.
 Lunch: At the Winchester Cathedral Refectory.
 Afternoon: Continue the transfer to London.
 Dinner: In the hotel.
 Evening: Sweet Bird of Youth Old Vic 7:30pm By Tennesse Williams. Marianne Elliott directs Kim Cattrall as a fading Hollywood legend ravaged by the bitterness of failure and despair, in Tennessee Williams’s powerful and poetic, Sweet Bird of Youth. Fleeing the disastrous premiere of her comeback film, Alexandra Del Lago [Cattrall] travels incognito as The Princess Kosmonopolis seeking refuge in drink, drugs and the arms of Chance Wayne, an idealistic young dreamer turned gigiolo and hellbent on achieving his own movie stardom. A trip to Chance’s hometown in a bid to win back his childhood sweetheart sees their relationship of convenience unravel in Williams’s vivid and haunting portrait of the destruction of dreams.
Accommodations: Radisson Edwardian Grafton Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: A top national journalist speaks. The Globe.
(Sunday, June 9)

Note: Most London theatres do not have elevators. Accessibility notes will be available when plays and venues are chosen.

 Breakfast: Full English and continental breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: Enjoy a captivating discussion with one of England's top national journalists on the "State of the Nation." Discuss England's world role in the past, present and future.
 Lunch: Enjoy an early lunch on your own.
 Afternoon: The Tempest at Shakespeare’s Globe 1:00pm By William Shakespeare 'WE ARE SUCH STUFF AS DREAMS ARE MADE ON.' Prospero, Duke of Milan, usurped and exiled by his own brother, holds sway over an enchanted island. He is comforted by his daughter Miranda and served by his spirit Ariel and his deformed slave Caliban. When Prospero raises a storm to wreck this perfidious brother and his confederates on the island, his long contemplated revenge at last seems within reach. Inspired by reports of the first English colonies in the West Indies and imbued with a spirit of magic and the supernatural, The Tempest is Shakespeare’s late great masterpiece of forgiveness, generosity and enlightenment. Jeremy Herrin’s previous work for Shakespeare’s Globe includes 2011’s much loved Much Ado About Nothing. Roger Allam won the Olivier Award for best actor for his role as Falstaff in Henry IV parts 1 & 2 at the Globe in 2010. Other recent credits include The Thick of It (BBC) and Tamara Drewe (Film). Colin Morgan is best known for playing Merlin in the long running BBC series Merlin. This production will employ Renaissance costumes and staging.
 Dinner: In the hotel.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Radisson Edwardian Grafton Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 11: Victoria and Albert Museum. Theatre workshop. Theatre performance with Helen Mirren as the Queen in The Audience.
(Monday, June 10)
 Breakfast: Full English and continental breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: On a field trip, experience the world-famous Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), new home to the theatre collection. Theatre and performance galleries are dedicated to the performing arts, displaying works of art, costumes, ephemera, video recordings, puppets, posters and photographs. The V&A's Theatre Collections hold the UK's national collection of material about live performance in the UK since Shakespeare's day, covering drama, dance, musical theatre, circus, music hall, rock and pop, and other forms of live entertainment. The collections were founded in the 1920s when a private collector, Gabrielle Enthoven, donated her extensive collection of theatrical designs, memorabilia, books and photographs to the Museum. She continued to add to her collection, and worked on it as a museum volunteer until her death in 1950. Since that period, the collection has continued to grow, and has provided a home for many other significant objects and archives. Between 1987 and 2007, some of this material was housed at the V&A's branch museum in Covent Garden, the Theatre Museum. New galleries devoted to the performing arts opened at the V&A in South Kensington in 2009.
 Lunch: Enjoy lunch on your own to explore local fare.
 Afternoon: Experience an interactive theatre production or directing workshop.
 Dinner: In the hotel.
 Evening: The Audience by Peter Morgan starring Dame Helen Mirren and dfirected by Stepehn Daldry at Gielgud Theatre 7:30pm. WORLD PREMIER. LIMITED SEASON. The play everyone's talking about. For sixty years Elizabeth II has met each of her twelve Prime Ministers in a weekly audience at Buckingham Palace – a meeting like no other in British public life – it is private. Both parties have an unspoken agreement never to repeat what is said. Not even to their spouses. The Audience breaks this contract of silence – and imagines a series of pivotal meetings between the Downing Street incumbents and their Queen. From Churchill to Cameron, each Prime Minister has used these private conversations as a sounding board and a confessional – sometimes intimate, sometimes explosive. From young mother to grandmother, these private audiences chart the arc of the second Elizabethan Age. Politicians come and go through the revolving door of electoral politics, while she remains constant, waiting to welcome her next Prime Minister.
Accommodations: Radisson Edwardian Grafton Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 12: Afternoon tea with a theatre critic. The Almeida Theatre.
(Tuesday, June 11)
 Breakfast: Full English and continental breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: Experience an expert-led field trip to an art gallery such as the National Gallery.
 Lunch: Enjoy lunch on your own to savor local fare.
 Afternoon: Enjoy afternoon tea with a theatre critic at the Phoenix Arts Club. Sandwiches and cream tea will be served at 3 p.m.
 Dinner: The enhanced afternoon tea will replace an early dinner.
 Evening: Chimerica by Lucy Kirkwood at the Almeida Theatre. 7:30pm. Tiananmen Square, 1989. As tanks roll through Beijing and soldiers hammer on his hotel door, Joe – a young American photojournalist – captures a piece of history. New York, 2012. Joe is covering a presidential election, marred by debate over cheap labour and the outsourcing of American jobs to Chinese factories. When a cryptic message is left in a Beijing newspaper, Joe is driven to discover the truth behind the unknown hero he captured on film. Who was he? What happened to him? And could he still be alive? Writer Lucy Kirkwood (Royal Court), It Felt Empty When The Heart Went At First But It Is Alright Now (Clean Break at the Arcola) and director Lyndsey Turner Philadelphia, Here I Come! (Donmar Warehouse), Posh (Royal Court and West End) make their Almeida debuts with Chimerica,
Accommodations: Radisson Edwardian Grafton Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 13: Departures.
(Wednesday, June 12)
 Breakfast: Full English breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: Transfers to airports for departure flights home.
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

A History of the Theatre

Author: Glynne Wickham

Description: A fully illustrated survey of 3000 years of theatrical history, including opera, ballet and spectacle.

A Sense of Direction

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Description: William Ball's productions at in the 1960s and 1970s were considered landmark interpretations of classic theatre texts. "Tartuffe", "Cyrano de Bergerac" and "Taming of the Shrew" all demonstrated a fineness of detail, a clarity of presentation, and perhaps most of all, a thunderingly imaginative theatricality which few directors can match. This book brilliantly details his approaches, and is particularly good on directors relations with actors.

Being an Actor

Author: Simon Callow

Description: Few actors are more eloquent, honest or entertaining about their life and their profession than Simon Callow. Being an Actor traces his stage journey from the letter he wrote to Laurence Olivier that led him to his first job, to his triumph as Mozart in the original production of Amadeus. This new edition continues to tell the story of his past two decades onstage. Callow discusses his occasionally ambivalent yet always passionate feelings about both film and theatre, conflicting sentiments partially resolved by his acclaimed return to the stage with his solo performances in The Importance of Being Oscar and The Mystery of Charles Dickens, seen in the West End.

Greek Theatre in Performance

Author: David Wiles

Description: In this fascinating and accessible book, David Wiles introduces ancient Greek theatre to students and enthusiasts interested in knowing how the plays were performed. Theatre was a ceremony bound up with fundamental activities in ancient Athenian life and Wiles explores those elements which created the theatre of the time. Actors rather than writers are the book's main concern and Wiles examines how the actor used the resources of story-telling, dance, mask, song and visual action to create a large-scale event that would shape the life of the citizen community. The book assumes no prior knowledge of the ancient world, and is written to answer the questions of those who want to know how the plays were performed, what they meant in their original social context, what they might mean in a modern performance and what can be learned from and achieved by performances of Greek plays today.

In Search of Shakespeare

Author: Michael Wood

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London - The Biography

Author: Peter Ackroyd

Description: Probably there is no one better placed than Ackroyd--the author of mammoth lives of Dickens and Blake, and novels such as Hawksmoor and Dan Leno and the Lime House Golem which set singular characters against the backdrop of a city constantly shifting in time--to write such a rich, sinewy account of "Infinite London". Ackroyd's London is no mere chronology. Its chapters take on such varied themes as drinking, sex, childhood, poverty, crime and punishment, sewage, food, pestilence and fire, immigration, maps, theatre and war. We learn that gin was "the demon of London for half a century", and that "it has been estimated that in the 1740s and 1750s there were 17,000 'gin-houses'." Fleet Street was an area known for its "violent delights" where "a 14-year-old boy, only 18 inches high, was to be seen in 1702 at a grocer's shop called the Eagle and Child by Shoe Lane." By the mid 19th century "London had become known as the greatest city on earth." By 1939 "one in five of the British population had become a Londoner."

Modern Drama in Theory and Practice

Author: J.C. Styan

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Shakespeare and Co.

Author: Stanley Wells

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The Director and the Stage: From Naturalism to Grotowski

Author: Edward Braun

Description: Beginning with the triple impulses of Naturalism, symbolism and the grotesque, the bulk of the book concentrates on the most famous directors of this century - Stanislavski, Reinhardt, Graig, Meyerhold, Piscator, Brecht, Artuaud and Grotowski. Braun's guide is more practical than theoretical, delineating how each director changed the tradition that came before him.

The Life of the Drama

Author: Eric Bentley

Description: Discusses the various aspects of a drama, from the plot and character to dialogue, thought and enactment. In addition, Eric Bentley describes different types of plays such as melodrama, farce, tragedy, comedy and tragi-comedy

The Medieval Theatre

Author: Glynne Wickham

Description: Glynne Wickham's important history of the development of dramatic art in Christian Europe. Professor Wickham surveys the foundations on which this dramatic art was built: the architecture, costumes and ceremonial of the imperial court at Byzantium, the liturgies of countires in the Eastern and Western Empires and the triumph of the Roman rite and the Romanesque style in Western art. Within this context Professor Wickham describes three major influences upon the drama: religion, recreation and commerce.

The State of the Nation

Author: Michael Billington

Description: Michael Billington's new book looks at post-war Britain from a theatrical perspective. It examines the constant interplay between theatre and society from the resurgent optimism of the Attlee years to the satire boom of the Sixties and the growth of political theatre under Tony Blair in the post-Iraq period. Written by Britain's longest-serving theatre critic, the book also offers a passionate defence of the dramatist as the medium's key creative figure. Controversial, witty and informed, State of the Nation offers a fresh and challenging look at the vast upheavals that have taken place in Britain and its theatre in the course of sixty turbulent years.

The Year of the King

Author: Anthony Sher

Description: "'One of the finest books I have ever read on the process of acting' Time Out; 'This is a most wonderfully authentic account of the experience of creating a performance' Sunday Times; 'A brilliant compulsive account' Michael Billington, Guardian

Will In the World

Author: Stephen Greenblatt

Description: With something of the vigour of the Bard’s writing, Greenblatt takes us through the bawdy, teeming Bankside district (centuries before it became a tourist destination), and the Machiavellian, dangerous world of the court--in fact, all the splendour and misery of the Elizabethan age--and at the centre of it all, its greatest artist.

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