Road Scholar : Home
The Best of British Theatre: The West End and Beyond

Program Number: 16794RJ
Start and End Dates:
1/8/2015 - 1/16/2015;
Duration: 8 nights
Location: England, UK:England
Price starting at: $3,099.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Theater
Meals: 14; 7 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Low Fat; Vegetarian; Low Salt; Gluten Free    

Immerse yourself in some of the best theatre in the world ranging from the classical to the cutting edge. Since the Elizabethan Age London's theater scene has always reflected the ever-changing face of this vibrant city. With an expert lecturer and theater practitioner, explore the art of theater and the process of production from text to performance. Enjoy five theater performances and one concert at venues ranging from The National Theatre to The Royal Court or the stylish Donmar Warehouse. Release your inner actor through a practical drama workshop led by professional actors, pit your wits against one of London's leading theater critics and take a backstage peek of a flagship West End theater. Get unique insight into the art and craft of drama. You will never go to the theater the same way again.


• Enjoy introductions to each show by theater experts.
• Experience an interactive theater workshop led by professional actors.
• Meet a leading London theater critic for a round-up discussion.

Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles. Some historic theaters have stairs and no elevators. Seat locations will be of good standard for all performances; in most cases, group will sit together for performances.

Itinerary Summary

Arrival London, 7 nights; departure.

Overnight flight from the U.S.A.
1 night
Arrival London
7 nights

With a theater professional, consider how the art form developed, explore the world of the bard and discuss the universal draw of theater. Experience the life and times of Shakespeare through interactive displays at the Shakespeare’s Globe Exhibition. Then, take an in-depth look at contemporary, cutting-edge drama in the West End. Venture backstage at a flagship West End theatre and take an interactive theatre workshop and learn some professional secrets. Production briefings and a roundup by a leading theater critic analyze the plays you’ve attended. Complete this panoramic overview of London’s performing arts with an immersion in the visual arts at London's galleries.


It was the seat of an empire on which the sun never set. It has been Merry, Dickensian and Victorian. It has given us common law, Shakespeare, tennis, the Rolls-Royce and the Beatles. England and its people have played an outsize role in shaping world history. It is a country whose past, politics, culture and characters never cease to captivate.

London: Four-star hotel located near the West End.
Meals and Lodgings
   Radisson Edwardian Grafton Hotel.
  London., UK:England 7 nights
 Radisson Edwardian Grafton Hotel.
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Located close to 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 prior:  For additional pre and post program accommodations, please contact Road Scholar Travel Services at (800) 241-1404 or via email to
  Check in time: 2:00 PM
  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: 11:00 AM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
A light lunch is served in the hotel for those arriving by lunchtime. Welcome meeting is at 5:00pm in the hotel. You will be staying at Radisson Edwardian Grafton Hotel. that night.
  End of Program:
After breakfast on departure day. Some transfers may depart before breakfast. 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. Valid passport.
  Parking availability:
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: Trains to Euston -nearest station. Buses available. Underground Warren Street is adjacent to the hotel.
To Start of Program
  Location:  London.
  Nearest city or town:  London
  Nearest airport:  London Heathrow and Gatwick.
  Transportation to site: Heathrow Express into Paddington Station London or Gatwick Express to Victoria Station London. From there take a taxi. The Heathrow Express departs the airport every 15 minutes and takes 15 minutes add 6 minutes from T5.) to London Paddington. An Express single costs from GBP21 (2014 prices), return is from GBP34. Paddington Station is situated in the west end of central London. It connects to the Bakerloo, District and Circle lines on the London Underground and is also a short walk to the Hammersmith and City line. The Gatwick Express departs the airport every 15 minutes and takes 30 minutes to London Victoria. It departs at these minutes past the hour 00 - 15 - 30 - 45. An Express single costs from GBP19.90 (2014 prices), Express return is from GBP34.90. With three London Underground stations - for the Victoria, District and Circle lines - getting around central London is easy and direct from London Victoria station. Victoria bus station is next door, and it’s only a short walk to the National Express coach station. Nearest underground is Warren Street. Buses and trains available.
  From End of Program
  Location: London.
  Transportation from site: As above in reverse. Nearest underground is Warren Street. Buses and trains available.
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
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:
(Thursday, January 8)
 In Transit: Overnight flight to London.

Day 2:
(Friday, January 9)
 Arrive To: London. Individual car transfers to the hotel.
 Lunch: A light lunch is served in the hotel at 12:30pm
 Afternoon: Welcome meeting with the course director at 5:00pm in the hotel.
 Dinner: In the hotel.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Radisson Edwardian Grafton Hotel.
Meals Included: Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Production briefing.
(Saturday, January 10)
 Breakfast: Full English and Continental breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: Lecture: "Shakespeare's World" followed by a production briefing on tonight's performance.
 Lunch: Excluded.
 Afternoon: Free afternoon.
 Dinner: In the hotel.
 Evening: Theatre performance: Three Winters at The National. 7:30pm. From the remnants of monarchy to Communism, democracy, war and the EU: Croatia 1945 – 2011. The Kos family argue, adapt and fall in and out of love. World after world is erected and torn down around them. The one constant is the ivy-clad house in Zagreb, built by aristocrats, partitioned, owned by all, owned by a few; witness to four increasingly educated and independent generations of women. Against an ever-changing political landscape, Tena Stivicic creates the portrait of an eclectic family, held together by the courage to survive. Running time: 2hrs 30min including interval.
Accommodations: Radisson Edwardian Grafton Hotel.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 4: Concert.
(Sunday, January 11)
 Breakfast: Full English and Continental breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: Concert performance: Barnabas Kelemen and Olli Mustonen at the Wigmore Hall. 11:30am. Hungarian violinist Barnabas Kelemen, praised by the Guardian for his “innate musicality”, joins forces with Olli Mustonen for a Coffee Concert sure to display the compassionate humanity of their artistry. The vitality of Beethoven’s Third Violin Sonata contrasts here with the melancholy introspection of Prokofiev’s F minor Violin Sonata, written during the deathly years of Stalin’s Great Terror and the Second World War. Running time: 1hr, no interval.
 Lunch: At the Wigmore Hall.
 Afternoon: Lecture: History of London's Theatre 1660-20th Century.
 Dinner: Excluded.
 Evening: Free evening.
Accommodations: Radisson Edwardian Grafton Hotel.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5: Performance.
(Monday, January 12)
 Breakfast: Full English and Continental breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: Lecture: 20th Century Theatre.
 Lunch: Excluded.
 Afternoon: Free afternoon.
 Dinner: In the hotel.
 Evening: Theatre performance: Henry IV Part 1 at The Barbican Theatre. 7:15pm. With his crown under threat from enemies both foreign and domestic, Henry IV prepares for war. As his father gets ready to defend his crown, Prince Hal is languishing in the taverns and brothels of London, revelling in the company of his friend, the notorious Sir John Falstaff. With the onset of war, Hal must confront his responsibilities to family and the throne. Presented by the Royal Shakespeare Company and directed by Gregory Doran, this production received excellent reviews when premiered in Stratford-upon-Avon and is an epic, comic and thrilling vision of a nation in turmoil. Running time: 2hrs 45min including interval.
Accommodations: Radisson Edwardian Grafton Hotel.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 6: Theatre workshop
(Tuesday, January 13)
 Breakfast: Continental breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: Take a unique hands-on theatre workshop-Producing, Directing or Playwriting.
 Lunch: Excluded.
 Afternoon: Free afternoon
 Dinner: Excluded.
 Evening: Theatre performance: Tiger Country at the Hampstead Theatre. 7:30pm. December is the busiest time of year for London’s hospitals. For one particular team it’s business as usual, even with the seasonal upsurge. Brain, the urology consultant, is audaciously trying to convince his superior, Mr Leffe, to swap irksome patients. Newcomer Emily has already discharged 5 people and it’s not even 10am. Her boyfriend James is, as usual, engaged in charming his superiors – not to mention eye catching Rebecca. Feisty senior house officer Mark is wrestling with his bossy mentor Vashti to allow him to be more hands on and, through it all, cardiology registrar John simply can’t find a minute in the day to enjoy his roast turkey sandwich. Nina Raine entertainingly entwines multiple stories in this action-packed drama that looks beyond the corridors and into an extraordinary workplace, full of professionals under pressure, driven by ambition, compassion and humour. Running time: 2hrs 20min including interval.
Accommodations: Radisson Edwardian Grafton Hotel.
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 7: Theatre Performance.
(Wednesday, January 14)
 Breakfast: Continental breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: Backstage tour of a flagship West End theatre. Go behind the scenes to see the auditoriums, front-of-house, scenic workshops and backstage technical areas.
 Lunch: Excluded.
 Afternoon: Field trip to the nation's treasure house the V&A- to view the Theatre Galleries.
 Dinner: In the hotel.
 Evening: Theatre performance: Sunny Afternoon at The Harold Pinter Theatre. 7:30pm. The Kinks exploded onto the 60’s music scene with a raw, energetic new sound that rocked a nation. But how did that happen, where exactly did they come from and what happened next? With music and lyrics by Ray Davies, Sunny Afternoon depicts their rise to stardom. Set against the backdrop of a Britain caught mid-swing between the conservative 50’s and riotous 60’s, this production explorers the euphoric highs and agonising lows of one of Britain’s most iconic bands and the irresistible music that influenced generations. Running time: 2hrs 30min including interval.
Accommodations: Radisson Edwardian Grafton Hotel.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 8: Round up with a major theatre critic.
(Thursday, January 15)
 Breakfast: Continental breakfast in th hotel.
 Morning: Field trip to London's vibrant Bankside and Shakespeare's Globe Theatre Exhibition. Founded by the pioneering American actor/director Sam Wanamaker, Shakespeare's Globe is a unique international resource dedicated to the exploration of Shakespeare's work, and the playhouse for which he wrote, through the connected means of education and performance. Shakespeare's Globe Exhibition explores the life of Shakespeare, the London where he lived, and the theatre for which he wrote. Find out about extravagant Elizabethan costumes, Renaissance instruments and how they were used, and the dramatic stories of the first Globe crossing the Thames, and the new Globe being reconstructed on Bankside. See the costume collection which explains the process of designing, making and fitting costumes for Shakespeare’s stage, and for the productions at the new Globe. In Special Effects Touch screens bring to life the last word in Elizabethan special effects. See and hear the kinds of instruments that Feste first sang to, or those that played the dead Hamlet off the stage. See a full-size recreation of a 17th-century printing press. The field trip continues on to the Tate Modern--the gallery of international modern art situated on Bankside. Tate Modern displays the Tate collection of international modern and contemporary art from 1900 to the modern day. Tate Modern is more than just an art gallery. The amazing space of the Turbine Hall - has housed a succession of installations which have caught the imagination of the public.
 Lunch: Excluded.
 Afternoon: Critical round-up. Meet with a leading theatre critic such as Benedict Nightingale of the Times or Kate Basett of the Independent on Sunday and discuss the shows you've seen. Farewell meeting.
 Dinner: In the hotel with the course director.
 Evening: Theatre performance: Taken at Midnight at the Haymarket Theatre. 7:30pm. Hans Litten is one of the most celebrated lawyers in Berlin, famed for his brilliant mind and rhetorical flair with which he defends those fighting back against the rapidly growing Nazi movement. So, when he calls Herr Hitler as a star witness in the trial of a band of murderous SA men, the politician feels the full force of Litten’s intellect, wit and courage. Two years later, on the night of the Reichstag fire, Litten is arrested. He is held without trial, beaten and tortured as an “enemy of human society”. As Litten disappears into the Nazi system, his indomitable mother, Irmgard, confront his captors and, at enormous personal risk, fights to secure his release. This riveting drama explore her struggle, her son’s resistance and the heroic battle of the weak against the powerful, truth against lies and mothers against murderers. The first new play to open in the West End in 2015 and playing for a strictly limited season, it is a rare opportunity to see one of the UK’s leading performers, Penelope Wilton, in a significant and important new play. Running time: 2hrs 35mins including interval.
Accommodations: Radisson Edwardian Grafton Hotel.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 9:
(Friday, January 16)
 Breakfast: Continental breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: Car transfers to the airports for return flights to North America.
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

In Search of Shakespeare

Author: Michael Wood

Description: There can be few more appropriate writers and TV presenters to go In Search of Shakespeare than Michael Wood. Having already gone In Search of England and pursued the history of the Conquistadors in his recent acclaimed series, Wood has now taken on The Bard in the book to accompany his latest TV series. This is well-trodden ground, but Wood tells the story with relish and an historian's eye for detail, dismissing Bardolatry in favour of a "tale of one man's life, lived through a time of revolution--a time when not only England, but the larger world beyond, would go through momentous changes."

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 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

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 and on Broadway in 2002. Being an Actor is a guide not only to the profession but also to the intricacies of the art, told with wit, candour, and irrepressible verve by one if the great figures of the stage.

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.

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

Author: William Ball

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.

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.

Modern Drama in Theory and Practice

Author: J.C. Styan

Description: Volume 1: This volume begins with the naturalistic revolt in France against traditional styles of theatre. As realism becomes a European movement the account moves from Paris to the Meiningen company and Ibsen's work as producer and play-wright in Oslo, Chekhov's in Moscow, Shaw's in London, Synge's in Dublin. Among the producers are Antoine, Brahm, Grein, Granville-Baker, Nemirovich-Danchenko and Stanislavsky. The early days of the Irish Dramatic Movement and the chief realistic directors and critics in the USA after Belasco are considered; the tradition is shown to persist in the work of Williams and Miller in the USA and Osborne and Bond in England. Volume 2: he theories of Wagner and Nietzsche provide the basic principles for this volume, disseminated by the work of Appia and Craig, and affecting the later plays of Ibsen, Maeterlinck, and Lugné-Poe's Théatre de Le'Oeuvre. Jarry is seen as the precursor of surrealism; later symbolist elements are found in the plays of Claudel, Giraudoux, Yeats, Eliot, Lorca and Pirandello. Artaud's theatre of cruelty is related to the work of Peter Brook. The theatre of the absurd is illustrated in Sartre, Beckett, Pinter and Ionesco. Recent avant-garde theatre in America and Britain also reveals elements of symbolism.

Shakespeare and Co.

Author: Stanley Wells

Description: "With the passing of the years Shakespeare has too often been isolated from his fellows. He is the greatest of them, but he would not have been what he is without them." -- so says Stanley Wells at the conclusion of what is a wonderfully readable look at the theatrical scene of Shakespeare's day. Concentrating on the Bard's contemporaries rather than the man himself (more than adequately covered elsewhere), Shakespeare & Co is accessible rather than academic (though by no means lightweight), and an excellent introduction to those figures who hover on the edges of Shakespeare's biography, all too undeservingly like like bit-players in somebody else's drama. Individual chapters cover the theatrical scene (how plays were put together and presented, how they fit into the political mood of the time, and so on), and a brief look at some of the well-known actors of the day, before we get to the playwrights: Marlowe, Thomas Dekker, Ben Jonson, Thomas Middleton, John Fletcher & Francis Beaumont and John Webster.

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.

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.

You can't find a better value than Road Scholar.

As a not-for-profit organization, we are dedicated to providing all-inclusive educational programs at great value. From lectures to gratuities to field trips to accommodations - the tuition you pay up front is all that you pay.

Specifically, this program includes:

Plus these special experiences...

View the Daily Schedule to see more

And included with all Road Scholar programs:

© Road Scholar 2015 | Call toll-free: 1-800-454-5768