There is no better place on earth for entertaining Performing Arts students â€“ that is why a school trip to London is such a fine proposition. No city boasts the gravitas, variety or weight of theatrical history that our capital does. A carefully organised tour would leave an incredible legacy on the minds of pupils already interested in the grand art of drama.
The power of the West End is international, and thereâ€™s nothing like the cultural atmosphere that pervades the alleyways, cafes, restaurants and theatres to inspire schoolchildren to follow their dreams. This school trip to London is bound to make the passionate soak up vibes they have never felt before.
But where to start? Where to visit? Here are a few of the most dynamic sites around, and they are from all around London.
Of course, the National Theatre! Set in memorable Brutalist architecture on the South Bank, this gold standard is not only a great place for views of the river but, with three theatres, and restaurants, it is a hub of creative convergence. Shows, exhibitions and talks constantly revolve â€“ some are brand new plays, others renditions of the classics â€“that no matter what time of the year a trip is planned, there is sure to be something riveting and beautiful showing.
Be sure to make the most of the tours too: architecture and costumed guides are available, but the most exciting is the backstage tour. Pupils can take a glimpse into the unseen world of theatre, to where props and sets are created, and the pathways actors take behind the scenes.
No true school trip to London â€“ performing arts or not â€“ is really complete without a visit to the home of Shakespeare, the famous Globe. Itâ€™s a great experience to enjoy the space, tread the boards and, of course, see some Shakespeare in tantalising action. But where the Globe really excels now is in the array of workshops and extracurricular experiences that it hosts.
These are great for teachers looking to structure a few hours of education and fun. The Bardâ€™s themes and works come alive with short courses that can be tailored according to age and ability. There are also acting classes and theoretical studies â€“ all held in-house.
Looking for something a bit more up to date â€“ a bit fresher, a bit more energetic? Try Pineapple Studios near Covent Garden. Leave the theatre behind and embrace dance. The studio was started by model Debbie Wood in the late 70s for amateurs to mix with professionals, and to be closely linked with the fashion of fitness. And since then it has become a phenomenon. Classes are frequently available for pupils of all abilities, and for a diverse mixture of dance genres â€“ like tap, ballet and street.
A School trip to London always goes much smoother with a specialised educational tour service organising the itinerary. They will tailor your visit for specific interests, helping you to enable your students to make the most of their time amongst the metropolitan performing arts scene.
John Gardiner is the Managing Director of The School Travel Company, a tour operator specialising in educational travel for school and youth groups. Whether you’re planning a school trip to London, New York or India’s Golden Triangle, you can trust both the educational and economic value of their itineraries, whether ready-made or specifically designed to suit the needs of your group.
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