London Theatre Program (BADA)

Contact

E-mail

914.395.2305

Become part of London’s great theatrical tradition as you work and study with leading actors and directors from the world of British theatre.

Sponsored by Sarah Lawrence College and the British American Drama Academy (BADA), the London Theatre Program is designed for dedicated students who are passionate about their work and serious about acting. Students may enroll in the single semester program in either the fall or spring. Students interested in immersing themselves more deeply in British conservatory training should explore the advanced program, which runs from fall through spring.

Academics

Students take acting classes, master classes, and workshops with leading artists from the British stage, complemented by individual tutorials with teachers. A faculty from Britain's foremost drama schools teaches technical classes in voice, movement, and stage fighting.

Classes in theatre history and theatre criticism, tickets to some of the best productions of the season, and the experience of performing in a professional theatre round out the program.

Students can enroll in either the fall or spring for single-semester study. Those wishing to pursue intense training are encouraged to begin in the fall and continue with the Advanced London Theatre Program in the spring.

The British American Drama Academy (BADA)

The British American Drama Academy enables students from across the world to study classical theatre with leading actors and directors of the British and American theatre by organizing programs with American colleges and universities. This program, based in Magdalen College in Oxford University and is run in association with Yale School of Drama. High school students may also study acting and discover Shakespeare on BADA’s Midsummer Conservatory Program for 16 – 18 year olds.

Single Semester (Fall or Spring)

Students receive a full semester of Sarah Lawrence College academic credit (15 credits) for each semester of the program. Students who come for either the fall or spring semester take the following courses. The single semester conservatory program runs in the fall and the spring.

The first eight weeks include classes in:

Scene Study: Shakespeare
This practical acting course enables the students to search for, find, and explore the structure of Shakespeare’s texts in a physical and active way. The aim by the end of this course is for the students to have achieved a deeper connection with the drama of the words. This course will give students a greater sense of confidence in Shakespeare’s language and students will find they can speak the text more naturalistically even while honoring the given demands of the structure. This course looks at various plays—comedy, history, and tragedy and gives particular attention to textual analysis and verse speaking. No formal written work. (2 credits)

Scene Study: High Comedy
This is a practical acting course designed to give students a dynamic, sensitive, and physical approach to acting in High Comedy, enabling them to play with increased confidence, openness, precision, understanding, and skill. Students will work as a group on exercises which will lay a foundation for the detailed scene study work of these complex and witty texts. The course will give each individual the opportunity to put into practice the core principles of working on High Comedy from Restoration through to Wilde, Coward, and Orton in a highly supportive, collaborative atmosphere, and gain a strong understanding of what makes this material so rewarding and exhilarating to act. No formal written work. (2 credits)

Scene Study: Modern Physical Theatre
In this course, students study with a member of Complicite (subject to availability) and will study exercises influenced by the teachings of Jaques Lecoq and Philippe Gaulier. These studies will include many improvisations which look at the actor’s presence in the space and their dynamic of play. Students will look at the relationship between the physical body and text and how one informs the other. In the second half of the semester, the group will either examine a 20th-century European text or the half mask. (2 credits)

Voice
In this course students will be taught the fundamentals of voice covering the topics of body, breath, voice, articulation, support, and voice to text. There will be a focus on physical awareness and release through developing alignment and centering. Breath control is explored to assist in the opening up and freeing of the voice. The voice is developed in its range, resonance, timbre, and expression. Effective articulation is taught. Students will learn to apply this knowledge by using practice exercises given in every class with which they can develop their speaking voice for the stage, TV, screen, or radio. Coaching within voice classes help the student to explore and develop an authentic connection of voice to text. Text work covers the elements of rhetoric, rhythm, sound, text structures, meaning, and thought. As speaking language is a physical activity, some exercises are interactive. Exercises will be done together with the group as a whole, in smaller groups, pairs, and individually. As students gain in vocal confidence through their practical voice work a deepening connection to and ownership of language in performance will emerge and grow through the regular application of their acquired knowledge. (1 credit)

Movement
By using movement work, group games, imaginative, and observational work as tools to build the ensemble, students are encouraged to be free and strengthen their bodies. This provides the student actors with the ability to transform physically into the different characters they play. This class also enables the students to free their voice and unlock physical habits and tensions which may inhibit their bodies and therefore their ability to be free. The period dance element allows the students to transform physically and imaginatively into other eras and to link this to the work in their Shakespeare and High Comedy classes. (1 credit)

Stage Fighting: Hand to Hand Combat
Led by one of the leading fight directors in Europe, this course trains students in realistic stage combat with emphasis on safety, control, period styles, and technical virtuosity. The students will learn and be able to perform a large body of practical fight techniques and will gain a working comprehension of all the relevant safety principles and be able to apply them in practical situations. Students will also gain an understanding of their personal areas of strength and areas requiring further focus with a clearer judgment of their own personal rehearsal arc with regards to the illusion of violence in performance. Students will also have a more acute understanding of how to integrate character into action and action into text by the end of the course. (1 credit)

Theatre History
This course explores the development of comic theatre in England from Ben Jonson to Joe Orton. Students will develop a good knowledge and critical appreciation of seven English plays and acquire the interpretative skills that allow a more informed appreciation of such works. Particular attention will be paid to text and to the theatres for which these works were written. Students will also gain an awareness of the historical, social, and cultural context from which these works emerged. The plays, which will include works by Congreve, Goldsmith, Wilde, Coward, and Orton, are some of the same texts that students will be working on in their High Comedy acting classes. (2 credits)

Dramatic Criticism
This course introduces students to some of the best live theatre available in London—one of the world’s most exciting theatre cities; and it will also visit the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford. Students will discuss the role of theatre criticism in the United Kingdom, and the way it is changing in the digital age. The course is also intended to sharpen a student’s personal critical and observational skills in respect of performance, design, and production choices. Students are encouraged to develop fresh ways of watching, thinking, and writing about theatre. (1 credit)

The final five weeks of the course are devoted to:

Acting in Performance
For this course, students will rehearse and perform productions of major British and European classical works. After eight weeks of classes, students are split into companies and begin the five week rehearsal period. Each company is led by a British theatre director. This culminates in a final performance at a working London theatre. During the rehearsal period, students continue their voice and movement work with a warm-up class each morning. Voice and movement faculty also come into rehearsals and support the student’s process thus helping to further develop the core foundations for the modern actor. (3 credits)

Additionally, the first eight weeks of classes include:

  • Tutorials—An important supplement to the curriculum are regular one-on-one tutorials. In tutorials, students study text and speeches of the students choosing individually with the Dean who is also a professional actor. These sessions are devoted to improving students’ acting abilities and encouraging students to explore and independently lead on making a range of creative choices while building on their portfolio of audition pieces.

  • Weekly theatre visits (including a trip to see the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford)

  • Weekly masterclasses with leading UK theatre practitioners, including actors, directors, and designers from the British and American stage. Recent masterclass instructors include: Jenny Beavan, Brian Cox, Bob Crowley, Brandon Victor Dixon, Julian Glover, Henry Goodman, Greg Hicks, Fiona Shaw, Owen Teale, Deborah Warner, Sam West, and Elliot Barnes-Worrall.

Advanced Program (Full Year)

In the fall term of the full year program, students take the same classes as the single semester version of the London Theatre Program. In the spring semester, students work and attend all classes as their own group. They will now build on all of their foundational skills from the fall, while introducing a variety of new disciplines and techniques while learning to create a strong sense of ensemble.

The first eight weeks include classes in:

Shakespeare
This course enables students who have mastered the basic requirements of Shakespearean performance to explore Shakespeare’s language more deeply through scene work and physical approaches to theatre, alongside rigorous text work. Students will create pieces in response to Shakespeare, giving them ownership of something quite unique. Students will develop a series of skills that help to unlock characterization. (2 credits)

Dramatic Criticism
Led by a leading theatre critic, this course focuses on how being a constructive critic has benefits for the students as practitioners. Students will look at how taking risks can aid creativity and the role of a critic. The course explores and discusses topics such as; How to watch a theatre production, how do we look at a work of art? How do we decide what is good and bad art? How can that be applied to our own work as practitioners? (1 credit)

Theatre and Culture
This course focuses upon how we study dramatic texts by placing them within their historical, critical, and social contexts. Students will study four plays from different periods and then use this work to investigate the performance history and critical reputation of each play. The course will visit those places in London that are associated with the plays they are studying, as well as visiting the theatres linked to them, in order to learn more about the ways in which performance spaces and theatrical styles changed from the sixteenth century to the modern day. Students also will be introduced to the skills of textual research, including the use of libraries and specialist collections that hold primary and secondary sources. (2 credits)

Stage Fighting: Rapier and Dagger
The spring semester will encompass the foundational safety principles, and a broad corpus of techniques, for rapier and dagger, building to choreography and the opportunity to set that into a short scene. Students will strengthen their practical, physical partnering skills and gain a more acute understanding of how to integrate stage fighting into performance. (1 credit)

Voice
This course builds on the technical acquisitions of the first semester where the class focus was on the understanding, practice, and fluent delivery of the basic components that go to make up spoken voice work—alignment, breath, tone, articulation, and range. In this semester, how to apply these skills in the acting equation takes center stage, where there will be much more emphasis on hands-on work on student monologues and voice support for the Solo Performance course and the Acting for Screen course. Students learn how to develop important seamless links between technique and interpretation as required in performance. (1 credit)

Movement
This course allows students to explore a character’s journey through the use of play. Using Shakespeare plays and characters, students will explore concepts of ‘use of space, elements, animal qualities, rhythm, and energy levels.’ Students will also be introduced to dance styles from that period, as well as exploring more contemporary dance interpretations. (1 credit)

Acting for Screen
This course emphasizes building confidence and ease in front of the camera and in the on-set environment. Students explore and learn the principles of screen acting technique and learn the actor’s and film set vocabulary. They become familiar with the logistics of performance on set and begin to assume responsibility for their own creative choices. At the end of the course, students are given a professionally edited video of their on-screen scenes. (2 credits)

Flying Solo—Creating a One Person Show
Creating a work for solo performance can be one of the most rewarding and empowering experiences in an actor’s life. This course will guide students through the process from the initial response to authorship, rehearsal strategies, practical challenges, and performance choices. The actor/audience relationship will be analyzed and explored. Led by a specialist in solo work who has taken productions to London’s West End, on domestic and international tours, and annually to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the course will encourage and develop self-confidence, motivation, stamina, and versatility. The course will culminate in a short showing for faculty and student peers. (2 credits)

The final five weeks of the course are devoted to:

Acting in Performance, Devised Shakespeare
The final production leads on from the Shakespeare class. By using the skills and tools developed through the sessions, students (working alongside the director) will create their own full-length work based on a Shakespeare play. This will be performed in a London theatre. (3 credits)

Additionally, the first eight weeks of classes include:

  • Tutorials—An important supplement to the curriculum are regular one-on-one tutorials. In tutorials, students study text and speeches of the students choosing individually with the Dean who is also a professional actor. These sessions are devoted to improving students’ acting abilities and encouraging students to explore and independently lead on making a range of creative choices while building on their portfolio of audition pieces.

  • Weekly theatre visits (including a trip to see the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford)

  • Weekly masterclasses with leading UK theatre practitioners, including actors, directors, and designers from the British and American stage. Recent masterclass instructors include: Jenny Beavan, Brian Cox, Bob Crowley, Brandon Victor Dixon, Julian Glover, Henry Goodman, Greg Hicks, Fiona Shaw, Owen Teale, Deborah Warner, Sam West, and Elliot Barnes-Worrall.

Faculty

Please visit BADA's website for faculty information.

Living in London

The London theatre is the principal focal point for drama in the English-speaking world. Nowhere else is there such a diversity of plays or such a range of talent. The resources of London are therefore central to students’ experience in The London Theatre Program.

Housing

Each semester, students are allocated secure and modern accommodations in one of two locations in the heart of London, both with excellent transport links for getting to BADA and exploring the city. Both locations have weekly professional housekeeping service, wireless internet access, and secure entry systems.

All accommodations have central heating and come with a private kitchen fully equipped with a stove, refrigerator, washing machine, and microwave oven, spacious living area furnished with sofas, flat screen TV, and telephone for incoming calls, a private safe for valuable items, and wireless internet access.

Cultural Activities & Excursions

Attendance at performances is an integral part of the program. Master classes and talks with guest artists from the theatre world are arranged throughout each semester.

Books & Plays

Books are provided for all acting classes. BADA has its own library, from which students may loan out books. The library has computers for writing papers and Internet access during office hours.

Admission

The Sarah Lawrence College London Theatre Program is highly selective, and the number of students is limited. It is open to juniors and seniors enrolled at any accredited American college or university.

The Office of International Programs can provide further information about the program, as well as names and numbers of program veterans who will be happy to discuss any aspect of the program.

Audition

All students applying to the London Theatre Program are required to audition either in person or by submitting an uploaded video via YouTube to the International Programs Office. Please contact Cecilia Weisman at cweisman@sarahlawrence.edu to schedule an appointment for an in-person audition. The audition dates and locations for fall and full year applicants are as follows:

  • March 4, 2018—UCLA (Los Angeles)

  • March 5, 2018—University of Southern California (Los Angeles); Please contact Emily Moon at moone@usc.edu to schedule an audition.

  • March 7, 2018—Yale (New Haven)

  • March 9, 2018—Sarah Lawrence College (Bronxville); Sarah Lawrence students must audition in person.

  • March 10, 2018—Ripley Grier Studios (New York City)
  • March 14, 2018—Tufts University (Medford, Boston area)

  • March 17, 2018—Northwestern (Chicago)

  • March 18, 2018—Juilliard (New York City)

  • March 20, 2018—Howard University (Washington, DC)

If you are unable to audition in person, you may audition at any time via YouTube. To do so, the video must be set as “unlisted (private).” E-mail the unlisted URL to Cecilia Weisman. After you have submitted your online audition, you will be contacted to schedule a brief Skype conversation with the Dean of BADA, Eunice Roberts. After your audition has been viewed and you’ve completed your Skype conversation with the Dean, we will notify you of the results of your audition. However, your official acceptance will not be given until all required application materials have been submitted.

The following must be part of your audition:

  1. Some words about yourself. For example: your name, how old you are, what school you attend, when you began studying acting and why, what you know about the London Theatre Program, why you are applying to the program, and how you heard about the program.
  2. A monologue from Shakespeare in verse no longer than two minutes.
  3. A monologue of your own choice no longer than two minutes.
  4. A song of your own choice which can be a capella or accompanied.
  5. Avoid close-ups, please. At least one of your monologues must be filmed with your entire body in frame.

Applications & Deadlines

Students may either submit an audition via YouTube at any time or audition in person at the locations listed in the Audition section. Please be sure to read the audition requirements carefully.

Students may apply for the full year, fall semester, or spring semester. The completed application for the full year and fall semester is due March 1. The completed application for the spring semester is due October 15.

Tuition & Fees

Listed below is an estimate of costs to help you plan for the semester ahead. Sarah Lawrence tuition, per semester, will be $26,300. Tuition includes all academic expenses, trips, tickets, and master classes.

Room

$5,450

Room deposit (against damages)

$200

Study abroad medical insurance*

$234

*Students still need to have their own coverage or coverage through the Sarah Lawrence plan to ensure they are adequately covered before they leave the US and upon their return.

Estimated Expenses

Meals

$1,900 - $2,600

Incidental expenses (theatre tickets, books, etc.) $850 - $1,050

Roundtrip airfare

$738*

Local transportation

$500

*This estimate was from a student discount service (as of 4/21/17), as noted in our Handbook, www.statravel.com, and based on a non-stop flight from New York to London. Travel expenses before or after the term, and any trips taken during the mid-term break, are not included in this estimate.

Financial Aid

Sarah Lawrence College students who normally receive financial aid may apply their awards to any College-sponsored program abroad.

Sarah Lawrence College offers limited financial assistance to guest students on this program. Students should consult their home school's financial aid office for guidance on other financial aid resources.

For more information about Sarah Lawrence financial aid options, e-mail the Office of International Programs.

Academic Calendar

Please note that these dates are subject to change.

Fall 2017
Friday, September 8 Students arrive*
Sunday, September 10 Orientation day
Monday, September 11 First day of term
November 6 - 10 Mid-term break
December 12, 13, 14 End-of-year productions
Friday, December 15 End of term/farewell party
Saturday, December 16 Students must vacate housing
Spring 2018
Friday, January 5 Students arrive*
Sunday, January 7 Orientation day
Monday, January 8 First day of term
March 5 - 9 Mid-term break
April 10, 11, 12 End-of-year productions
Friday, April 13 End of term
Saturday, April 14 Students must vacate housing

*Students are expected to arrive in London on the Friday stipulated and cannot depart prior to the end of the term.