The humble stage, whether it is made of wooden beams, carved from stone, or set in the open air, has long been a kind of time travel machine. For cultures across the globe and for many centuries, thespians, sets and costumes have transformed the small spaces into new worlds from the past, present, future and from the wildest reaches of the imagination. Audiences have willingly suspended their disbelief to be taken on a journey without once leaving their seat.
Possessed as they are with this muse and magical ability, drama students on a school trip can likewise benefit by taking themselves on a journey – not for the audience’s sake, but for their own benefit. Some places around the globe are havens for artistic inspiration and dramatic tradition that will feed the art and nourish the growth of the students as thespians. Here are just three.
West Coast USA
Any school trip to the West Coast of the USA, and in particular California, is a thrill for students. But it carries a special tantalisation for the drama student, since for many it represents the starry final frontier of the most notoriously fanciful, yet somehow realizable, dream in an actor’s career that of “making it” in Hollywood. Students can not only be inspired by seeing the famous celebrity-stamped places around Beverly Hills, Los Angeles and San Francisco, but they can also engage in tailor-made acting and drama classes with some of the most seasoned professional teachers that the American industry has to offer – and just maybe get a taste of what it would be like to be a star.
Poland has long inspired sober questions of the more sombre corners of the human psyche, through the dramatic portrayals of the horrors of World War Two and the Holocaust. Those on a drama school trip will also be touched by this often-necessary artistic education in real tragedy. Yet the continued development of the nation, since the fall of communism, has likewise been shaping the boom in the dramatic arts in Krakow and other cultural centres across the country. Students can engage in traditional and modern skills of drama with expert teachers.
Few places on earth rival Paris for its place in the worldwide artistic milieu. Often represented amongst many great artists as the key chamber of the creative heart in the West, pumping inspiration and vitality into the veins of the artists who visit, Paris will always stir drama students on a school trip to a renewed understanding of how what they do may be construed as art. Students can hone their craft near the refuges and haunts of great writers, thespians and philosophers of art like Rabelais and Moliere and Satre, and drink in a sense that what they do within their classroom walls can really connect to a grand tradition.