Dickinson College Humanities Program in Norwich

A Day in The Life of British Theatre and Everything in Between

September 3rd, 2009 · No Comments

Today was a day filled with the inner workings of British theatre. I began my day with an early morning walk to a nearby Starbucks. I ordered my usual Caramel Marchiato with extra caramel, in order to get myself prepared for a fun filled day learning of British theatre. On my walk back to the hotel, I pondered what today’s adventure would bring? Once I arrived at the hotel it was time to begin our discussion with a Dickinson Alumni.

Rick Fisher class of 1979, attended Dickinson college and in his first semester of senior year traveled abroad to London. During this time he fell in love with the theatre and when he graduated moved to London to pursue a career in the theatre. Since then he has two Tony Awards for his lighting direction in one particular play Billy Elliot, and a second one I cannot remember. As he was speaking today about his journey as he worked his way from the bottom of the barrel to becoming a Tony Award I could not help but think of my own future goals after college to become a professional dancer and choreographer. I never thought of Dickinson as a institution in which one could professionally develop a career in the arts, but after hearing of Rick’s journey, it has now become a possibility that is not beyond reason. His words and passion for his career, inspired me to further carryout my plan to dance after my Dickinson education ends. As he informed us, the business is not an easy one, but his dedication, and love for the theatre made me realize that the challenge makes it all the more rewarding.

At 11:30 the class broke for a quick lunch and then headed out for a tour of the National Theatre. Our tour guide did a phenomenal job taking us about the massive structure, as she explained how not only the productions were made possible, but of how much goes in to putting on 6-9 productions a day. It never occurred to that so many intricate details when in to putting on a play. As we toured through the national theatre, our tour guide stripped down, our fantasy world of what we all imagined the theatre to be, and showed us how the work of everyone was important to putting on a successful production. The tour was very similar to the Walt Disney/Warner brothers tour of the lot in Los Angeles California where they film major Hollywood television shows. On both tours the tourist is able to get a real sense of not only the work of the actors but the work of the collective, it is a realization to an audience member that so much is required for a production of this scale, just for our entertainment.

Following the tour the group headed back to the hotel, and capped of the night with the play, All’s Well That End’s Well. After learning of all the intricacies to making a play I was able to appreciate the work all the more. From the acting, lighting, costumes, props, and everything in between, the performance was astounding. The only problems I had with the play was the ending. For the sake of my fellow peers that will see the production in the near future, I will not ruin the ending however, I will say that the lead female is the dumbest girl in Shakespearian history. Still production was enjoyable, and having been in the theatre just hours before the set was up, it was great to see the final piece of the production. An experience I won’t soon forget.

Tags: Anthony