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

Program Number: 16794RJ
Start and End Dates:
11/5/2015 - 11/13/2015;
Duration: 8 nights
Location: England, UK:England
Price starting at: $3,399.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Theater
Meals: 15; 7 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 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.

Date Specific Information


This departure will concentrate on MUSICAL theatre and will be an ACTIVE level departure. All 5 performances will be musicals, there will be a field trip to Wilton`s Music Hall (in place of the Globe) and lectures by Giles Ramsay on the development of the British musical, a RADA musical workshop, and tea with a theatre critic.

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. n/a
  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: If arriving and departing Heathrow Airport on group travel days. Complete the Participant Information Form on-line, or in the preparatory materials and return to Road Scholar in the UK. Please include departure and arrival date, departure airport, airline, flight number, time of arrival at Heathrow. We recommend completing the form on-line as information will be kept for future programmes. Nearest underground is Warren Street-adjacent to the hotel on the Victoria and Northern lines. Take the Heathrow Express to Paddington and a taxi from there. The Heathrow Express is a fast and frequent train service from Heathrow terminals to Paddington. Trains run every 15 minutes and the journey time from Heathrow Central for Terminals 1 and 3 is 15 minutes; passengers at Terminal 4 may use the free transfer shuttle Heathrow Connect to Heathrow Central; 21 minutes from Terminal 5. Fares, in 2014, start at GBP21 for a single and GBP34 for a return. Tickets may be purchased at the station or via the web From Gatwick take the Gatwick Express to Victoria and a taxi from there. The Gatwick Express is a fast non-stop train service from South Terminal to Victoria. It runs every 15 minutes and takes 30 minutes. Fares, in 2014, are GBP19.90 single; GBP34.90 return. Tickets may be purchased at the station or via the web
  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: In Transit to Program
(Thursday, November 5)
 In Transit: Overnight flight to London.

Day 2: Arrive, Check-in, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
(Friday, November 6)
 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: Musical Performance
(Saturday, November 7)
 Breakfast: Full English and Continental breakfast in the hotel. A variety of eggs, bacon, sausages, tomato, baked beans, hash browns, fruit, yoghurts, toast, marmalade, jams, cold cuts, cheeses, juices, tea and coffee.
 Morning: Lecture: "A History of the Music Hall" followed by a production briefing on tonight's performance.
 Lunch: In the hotel.
 Afternoon: Free afternoon.
 Dinner: Pre-theatre dinner at the Phoenix Artists Club.
 Evening: Performance: Bend It Like Beckham at the Phoenix Theatre. Jess needs extra time. She is facing the most important decision of her life: live up to family expectations of university, career and marriage, or follow in the footsteps of her hero David Beckham. When the talented teenager is spotted playing football in Southall, a world of unexpected opportunities opens up before her. But as her sister’s traditional Indian wedding approaches, can she keep her family happy and still follow her dreams? Bend It Like Beckham is a joyous new British musical comedy. Featuring an original score with an Indian kick, it brings a unique cultural fusion of musical theatre to the stage for the first time. This reimagining of the much-loved hit film sees generations, cultures and communities brought together in this joyous and uplifting story about bending the rules and scoring that deciding goal.
Accommodations: Radisson Edwardian Grafton Hotel.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Development of the British Musical
(Sunday, November 8)
 Breakfast: Full English and Continental breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: Free morning.
 Lunch: In the hotel.
 Afternoon: Lecture: The Development of the British Musical.
 Dinner: Excluded.
 Evening: Performance: Close To You at the Criterion. Fall in love with Burt Bacharach all over again in Kyle Riabko’s dynamic, uplifting and magical journey through over 30 classic hits! Close To You is now playing at the Criterion Theatre in the heart of Piccadilly Circus. With a sensational cast of talented musicians led by Kyle Riabko, the show is a fresh take on Burt Bacharach’s classic songs that speaks to all ages. Steven Hoggett, Olivier Award winner, directs this beautiful re-interpretation. Close To You comes complete with Bacharach’s official blessing, the great man himself declaring: “It’s a love letter and truly unique. I love it”
Accommodations: Radisson Edwardian Grafton Hotel.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5: Musical London & Wilton's Music Hall
(Monday, November 9)
 Breakfast: Full English and Continental breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: Lecture: "The British Musical in the 20th and 21st Centuries".
 Lunch: Lunch in Covent Garden.
 Afternoon: A walking tour of musical London.
 Dinner: Excluded.
 Evening: Enjoy a trip back in time as you visit Wilton's Music Hall-a grade II listed building, built as a music hall and now a more general-purpose performance space in Grace's Alley off Cable Street in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. It is one of very few surviving music halls in its original state. Originally known as the Mahogany Bar from 1839, Wilton's came into the ownership of John Wilton in 1850. Wilton commissioned contractors to build a Music hall in 1858 on the same site as the former concert room of the public house. Wilton's passed into several ownerships during the 1870s before being destroyed by fire in 1877. An eight-year rebuild commenced that year before the building was bought by the East End Mission of the Methodist Church, who took possession of the building and established a church there in 1888. The church ceased in 1956 and briefly became a rag storage warehouse. By 1964, the buildings future remained uncertain and a petition was launched to secure it from demolishers. The campaign, led by the poet John Betjeman was a success and Wilton's was bought by Greater London Council who preserved it until 1999 when it was bought by the Broomhill Opera Company.
Accommodations: Radisson Edwardian Grafton Hotel.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 6: Backstage Tour
(Tuesday, November 10)
 Breakfast: Full English and Continental breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: Free morning.
 Lunch: Excluded.
 Afternoon: Enjoy a backstage tour of the Theatre Royal Drury Lane.
 Dinner: In the hotel.
 Evening: Performance: Gypsy at the Savoy Theatre. Based on the true life memoirs of legendary burlesque entertainer, Gypsy Rose Lee, it tells the tale of Momma Rose and her two daughters, Baby June and Louise, trekking across America in their family vaudeville act. But times are changing, audiences are expecting more, and the two girls have their own ambitions in mind. The rise of burlesque is upon them, and nothing will ever be the same again for Momma Rose. With lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book by Arthur Laurents and music by Jule Styne, this moving and “scintillating” (The Times) production of Gypsy is the first to be seen in London for 40 years.
Accommodations: Radisson Edwardian Grafton Hotel.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 7: Theatre Workshop
(Wednesday, November 11)
 Breakfast: Full English and Continental breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: Free morning.
 Lunch: Excluded.
 Afternoon: Take a unique hands-on Musical theatre workshop at RADA.
 Dinner: Dinner taken out in Covent Garden.
 Evening: Performance: Beautiful – The Carole King Story at the Aldwych Theatre. Long before she was Carole King, the chart-topping music legend, she was an ordinary girl with an extraordinary talent. She fought her way into the record business as a teenager and sold her first hit, "Will You Love Me Tomorrow", when she was just seventeen. By the time she reached her twenties she had the husband of her dreams and a flourishing career writing hits for the biggest acts in rock ‘n’ roll from Aretha Franklin to the Monkees, the Drifters, to the Shirelles. But it wasn’t until her personal life began to crack that she finally managed to find her true voice. Beautiful tells the inspiring true story of King’s remarkable rise to stardom, from being part of a hit songwriting team with her husband Gerry Goffin, to her relationship with fellow writers and best friends Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, to becoming one of the most successful solo acts in popular music history.
Accommodations: Radisson Edwardian Grafton Hotel.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 8: Theater Critic Class
(Thursday, November 12)
 Breakfast: Full English and Continental breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: Free morning.
 Lunch: Excluded.
 Afternoon: Critical round-up. Meet with a leading theatre critic such as Kate Basett of the Independent on Sunday with afternoon tea at the Phoenix Arts Club. Farewell meeting. The Phoenix Artist Club - 'A hidden gem' - secreted away down a little side street (used in the opening sequences of 'Harry Potter') and tucked beneath The Phoenix Theatre lies this charming escape from the London norm. As featured in many films and TV Productions, Travel Channel's "The Layover" with Anthony Bourdain, written about by Rupert Everett in "Red Carpets and Other Banana Skins", visited by Princess Michael of Kent, Kiera Knightly, Jude Law, David Soul, John Hurt or Janice Dickinson to name but a few, inspiring screenwriters, authors and poets and refreshing worn out theatre staff from every London Theatre - you can perhaps understand why they want to keep us for themselves!
 Dinner: Excluded.
 Evening: Performance: Kinky Boots at the Adelphi Theatre. Kinky Boots takes you from the factory floor to the glamorous catwalks of Milan. Charlie Price, played by Killian Donnelly (Memphis, The Commitments, Billy Elliot, The Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables), is struggling to live up to his father’s expectations and continue the family business of Price & Son. With the shoe factory’s future hanging in the balance, help arrives in the unlikely but spectacular form of Lola, played by Matt Henry (Avenue Q, Saturday Night Fever, Miss Saigon), a fabulous performer in need of some sturdy new stilettos. With direction and choreography by two-time Tony Award-winner Jerry Mitchell (Legally Bonde, Hairspray) and a book by Broadway legend and four-time Tony® Award-winner Harvey Fierstein (La Cage Aux Folles) this striking musical proudly proves that sometimes the best way to fit in is to stand out!
Accommodations: Radisson Edwardian Grafton Hotel.
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 9:
(Friday, November 13)
 Breakfast: Full English and 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