SHAKESPEARE IN LONDON PROGRAM
Shakespeare in London is BADA’s semester abroad programme, sponsored by BADA and Sarah Lawrence College, for students interested in exploring Shakespeare and his work from an academic perspective. It is intended principally for English and History Majors wishing to gain an understanding, both from text and performance, of how Shakespeare is viewed through the cultural prism of our own times, along with Theatre Majors who would like to extend their knowledge of textual analysis.
The course, which focuses on Shakespeare’s plays, takes full advantage of the opportunity to see a considerable number of these works in performance in London and also at Stratford-upon-Avon. While Shakespeare’s plays are studied principally in the classroom, they are also explored in performance both on stage and in the rehearsal room.
At the heart of the course lies the fruitful interaction between text, performance and context. The course also pays close attention to those cultural, social and political developments in England in the late C16th and early C17th, fresh ideas about racial and national identities, gender, social class that necessarily inform Shakespeare’s work, while also exploring how both on the page and in performance it is viewed through the cultural prism of our own times.
Students interested in conservatory training and exploring Shakespeare from an actor’s perspective should consider our London Theatre Program.
We are very excited to launch BADA’s new undergraduate semester abroad program, Shakespeare in London, and to welcome our first group of students.
With its interdisciplinary approach, the program is an ideal study abroad opportunity for students of English, Theatre, and other areas of study who love Shakespeare and want to discover more about the man, his plays, and his time, all while living and studying in the city that made him famous.
Dean of the British American Drama Academy
With its academic rigour, its close attention to cultural and historical context, and above all its keen interest in the continuing life of Shakespeare’s plays on the present-day stage, the program shares many priorities with The Shakespeare Institute – the world’s only university research department devoted entirely to the study of Shakespeare’s works, times, life and afterlives. Some time will be spent in Stratford-upon-Avon, visiting the Institute and studying the work of the Institute’s close theatrical colleagues, the Royal Shakespeare Company. Prof. Michael Dobson
Director of the Shakespeare Institute
and Academic Consultant for Shakespeare in London
Applications are currently closed. To be notified when applications open, please sign up for the Shakespeare in London mailing list.
Your application will include:
- One academic reference from the English/Literature Department or the History Department
- Study Abroad Approval
- Personal Statement (500 words) – Tell us a bit about yourself and why are you interested in attending the programme.
- Essay (around 1000 words) – on a Shakespeare play to which you feel a connection or a Shakespeare production you have seen
- Shakespeare’s Plays (1 & 2) Students will attend two 3-hour classes each week which will explore two of Shakespeare’s texts. The plays will be studied chronologically and in specific groups, viz Early Plays, Middle Plays, The Great Tragedies and the Late Plays. For the purposes of these classes the E.K.Chambers chronology from 1930 will be used, but students will be alerted to revisions to this chronology by scholars such as Stanley Wells.In one class plays will be studied from the perspective of the Elizabethan/Jacobean period in which they were written. And in the second texts will be explored through contemporary perspectives on class, race, gender, violence post colonialism and language.
- Culture and Society 1580-1612 Students will take a 2 hour class each week that will set the plays that they are studying within the social and cultural context of the Late Elizabethan and Jacobean period. The subject areas covered in these classes would be chosen with reference to the plays that were being studied that week. So ‘Grammar School Education in the late C16th’ – to mirror Shakespeare’s own possible education in the classics in Stratford – would coincide with studying Titus Andronicus and The Comedy of Errors – a pair of plays with their roots within Roman theatre practice. While Twelfth Night would be studied in parallel with the developing secular music performance tradition in the English Renaissance, particularly the use of the lute. And contemporary attitudes, particularly those of James I to witchcraft and demonic possession in relation to Macbeth.Other subject areas would include the English Renaissance, how the Classical cultures of Rome and Greece were read by Elizabethans and Jacobeans, Elizabethan Cosmography, the rise of radical Protestantism in late C16th England, dance in C16th/C17th, the ‘Catholic’ musical traditions of Thomas Tallis and William Byrd, popular and courtly literature in the period, the idea of rhetoric, theories of kingship and power, London as a diverse mercantile city, sea voyages of exploration, social class gender etc.
- English Politics 1580-1612 Students will also take a 2 hour class each week that will set the plays that they are studying within the politics of the Late Elizabethan and Early Jacobean period. This will not be a ‘survey’ course but will look at individual political events within the period that possibly have a bearing on particular plays. For example, the Earl of Essex’s rebellion in 1601 and the staging of Richard II at the Globe. Or how Elizabeth’s Royal Progresses such as her visit to the Earl of Leicester at Kenilworth, often designed to keep the aristocracy in check reinforced a binary opposition between Court and Country that finds its way into plays such as As You Like It and Twelfth Night.Other political events might include: Elizabeth I’s excommunication and the Spanish Armada, the wars in the Spanish Netherlands, the failed harvests of the 1590s and the Poor Law Act, Elizabeth’s ‘Golden Speech’ to Parliament, the succession to the crown 1599-1601, Raleigh’s failed attempt to establish a colony of Virginia at Roanoke Island and the settlement of Jamestown by the Virginia Company in 1607, the Gunpowder Plot, James I’s idea of a ‘Great Britain’, political advisors and favourites– the Cecils to the Duke of Buckingham etc.
- Writing about Theatre Students will take this 2 hour class each week having made a visit to the theatre in London. It is hoped that at least half of these visits will be to productions of Shakespeare’s plays, along with other plays of the period.The idea is that where possible the texts being studied in the ‘Shakespeare’s Plays’ classes would be mirrored by a production seen by students in the theatre in the same week.Led by a prominent national theatre critic, the class will explore the various current performance traditions in British theatre, particularly in respect of Shakespeare. It is also designed to discuss both the principles and practice of dramatic criticism and to encourage students to develop their critical vocabulary as they write about what they have seen.Where appropriate the course will introduce students to key critical texts within the British Shakespeare tradition, Dryden’s Essay on Dramatic Poesy, Johnson’s Prefaces, the writings of Harley Granville Barker, L.C.Knights, as well as the more contemporary work of Kathleen McLuskie, Lisa Jardine, Jonathan Dollimore, Jonathan Bate etc.This class would also engage with London as a site of production and consider current production practice in the UK in relation to debates about class, race and gender, the legacy of colonialism, nationalism and Brexit.
- Acting Shakespeare Discover the difference between reading the plays and standing them up on your feet. How does an actor tackle Shakespeare’s complex texts in performance? Students are encouraged to inhabit the language that they are working on, and through that language finding a window into the characters.
- Space and Place in Shakespearean Production From the first Globe to the Royal Shakespeare Company’s newly refurbished main house in Stratford, the performance space has determined both the ways in which Shakespeare wrote his plays and the manner in which they have been staged in the four centuries since his death. The course will explore the development of theatre spaces in London; the movement from outdoors to indoors in the Jacobean period, the theatres of the Restoration, of the 18th and 19th centuries and into the present. Students will be required to make at least one independent visit to particular performance sites, the Globe, Hampton Court, the Inns of Court, Wilton’s Music Hall, West End theatres, the National Theatre, the Royal Opera House, the Coliseum etc and report their findings back to the class. Students will also explore the performance history of six of Shakespeare’s plays in the classroom and on supervised field trips to theatre sites in London and be introduced to the role that dramaturgy plays in contemporary productions.
During their time in London students will be introduced to the general principles that underpin academic Shakespearean research in Britain, both textual analysis and working within the wider cultural context in which Shakespeare’s plays are ‘read’ both on the page and in performance.
There will be seminars that explore the use of primary and secondary sources. On occasion these sessions will be led by guest lecturers. They will be supported during tutorials with the Academic Advisor in which each student is encouraged to develop their own ‘methodology’ in respect of their research.
Work in the seminar room will be supported by field trips to key collections in London and elsewhere, notably the British Library, the Theatre History Library at the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Birmingham Shakespeare Library.
Every student will meet for a tutorial with the Course Academic Advisor every other week. The purpose of these tutorials is threefold:
- To discuss a student’s academic progress through each of the elements within the course
- To advise on particular aspects of the course that may be concerning a student
- Work with each student on applying the skills acquired in the Research Seminar to one of their final papers for Culture and Society 1580-1612, or English Politics 1580-1612 or Space and Place in Shakespearean Production
Once a week there is a guest lecture given by Shakespeare scholars or theatre practitioners and will relate to each of the classes that the students take in the programme. One might explore how Shakespeare began to be constructed as the ‘National Poet’ in the late C17th or how Elizabethan/Jacobean audiences ‘read’ costume. A classical actor might explore a Shakespeare role that they are currently playing or a director might present a case study of a recent production. These will include:
Along with seeing productions there will be a workshop with the Royal Shakespeare Company at their studio theatre, The Other Place, about their current repertoire and the work of turning sixteenth-century texts into twenty-first-century live theatre. At the Shakespeare Institute, there will be classes arranged by Professor Michael Dobson, its Director, (and the programme’s Academic Advisor) on the latest scholarship about the plays in the RSC’s current repertory.
Dates for the Spring 2022 Shakespeare in London Program are:
Arrival: Friday 21st January
Orientation: Sunday 23rd January
Program begins: Monday 24th January
Program ends: Friday 22nd April
To be notified about the dates for upcoming cycles of this programme, please sign up for the Shakespeare in London mailing list.
The Shakespeare in London Program is open to college/university Juniors and Seniors.
Colleges/Universities interested in having students attend the Shakespeare in London Program should contact:
Eunice Roberts, Dean of BADA
T: +44 207 487 0730
Housing for BADA’s Shakespeare in London Program is provided, maintained and serviced by The Stay Club. Shakespeare in London Program students are housed in the brand new (January 2019) Stay Club Kentish Town location along with students from universities and other programmes in London.
Stay Club Kentish Town has wireless internet access, 24 hour staffed reception, and 24 hour laundry facilities, as well as an on-site cafe, cinema, gym, discotheque, and spacious common areas for studying and socializing. Students live in two-person studio flats with kitchenettes. The Stay Club offers weekly social events including discos, cinema nights and cultural celebrations.
The Stay Club Kentish Town is located just a few blocks from the Kentish Town Underground station on the Northern Line and bus lines offering direct transportation to BADA and all central London Locations. It is a 12 minute walk to the world-famous Camden Market and a 20 minute walk to Hampstead Heath, a large and ancient park that contains spectacular views from one of the highest points in all of London.
BADA’s Shakespeare in London takes place in an historic Crown Estate building in one of London’s most prestigious residential areas which is home to a number of national embassies and ambassadorial residences.
Inside BADA you will find a full range of facilities including 6 teaching spaces, each named after a different playwright, a Library, a collection of recorded performances, a private Green Room for students to relax or study in-between classes.
There are also designated computer and printing facilities for students and wireless internet connection available throughout the building.
Studying abroad with BADA enables you to train and live in the theatrically vibrant city of London.
BADA is located beside the beautiful Regent’s Park, perfect for walks between classes and springtime picnics. BADA’s location offers easy access to the theatre’s in London’s West End and it’s only a short walk from Camden Town, famous for its bustling markets, coffee bars, health food stores, art house cinemas and distinctive shops.
BADA also lies close to Primrose Hill (home to many actors, directors, writers and other celebrities) and the perfect place to get a panoramic view across London.
Studying in London enables you to take advantage of the cultural riches of one of the world’s great cities, with a history that stretches back more than 2,000 years, and also travel easily around the rest of the United Kingdom and Europe during the one-week midterm break.
This course will be taught by academics working on Shakespeare and the work of his contemporaries and where appropriate by theatre practitioners in order to enable students to forge that crucial link between theory and practice as the course progresses. To learn more about our current Faculty, please visit our Faculty page.
Faculty will include:
Shakespeare in London Fees are the equivalent of one semester of Sarah Lawrence College tuition which includes all academic expenses, trips, tickets, and masterclasses.
For more information about current tuition, fees, and estimated expenses, please visit the Sarah Lawrence College website.
- Roundtrip Airfare to the UK
- Spending money
Please consult your school’s financial aid and study abroad offices for information on how your aid package may be applied to studying on the Shakespeare in London Program.
BADA offers limited direct financial assistance to students on the Shakespeare in London Program. For more information, see the Financial Aid section of the Application.
Please contact your home institution as to how their refund policy and fee protection plan applies while studying at BADA.
For questions about Study Abroad, please contact:
Sarah Lawrence College
Office of International Programs
1 Mead Way
Bronxville, NY 10708-5999
T: 914 395 2305 or 800 873-4752
For further information or any questions regarding the Shakespeare in London Program, please contact:
Eunice Roberts, Dean of BADA
T: +44 207 487 0730