Join the storied ranks of the Putney Players as we work as a team to write and produce an original production for debut at the world-renowned Edinburgh Fringe Festival on this summer theatre program in Britain for high school students. Deepen your knowledge of acting, playwriting, stagecraft, history of the theatre, and publicity on your way to a comprehensive understanding of the theatre world.
- July 8, 2013 - August 6, 2013
- Students completing grades 9-12
- Cultural Exploration
- Typical Group:
- 16 Students, 2 Leaders
- 4.5 week(s)
“I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.”
- Oscar Wilde
All the world may be a stage, and everyone a player, but how many people can say they have created and performed an original production at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – the largest theatre gathering in the world? As part of this summer theatre program in Britain for high school students, you’ll do just that. Together with your leaders and fellow actors, help design, write, and produce a ready-to-tour show that culminates in an unforgettable world premiere performance.
The journey begins at Oxford University, whose storied history, tradition of excellence in student theatre, and convenient location (close to both London and Stratford-upon-Avon), make for an ideal jumping-off point. While in Oxford, stay at St. Hilda’s College, set on the banks of the Cherwell River, and on the edge of Trinity Christ Church. Your group leaders provide fun, seminar-style instruction in the formal, technical, and artistic aspects of theatre. These first weeks are full of games, improv, workshops with guest lecturers, field trips, and, of course, nights at the playhouse. Bonds with the other members of your troupe form quickly as you decide upon a shared theme to develop for your production, and leap right into daily rehearsals.
During your time at Oxford, take a day trip to Shakespeare’s birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon, and see the Royal Shakepeare Company in its flagship venue. Then it’s off for an extended weekend in London to see a performance at the reconstructed Globe Theatre and attend cutting-edge modern dramas at stages across the city. Every day gives you new skills and perspectives you can apply to your own work-in-progress. Now that the play is starting to take shape, enjoy a farewell dinner and show in Oxford and then board a train for Scotland.
Hit the ground running in Edinburgh, one of Europe’s most elegant, inspiring, and bustling cities. Arrive nine days before the Festival begins, with plenty of time to survey your performance venue, polish the script, and come up with a marketing strategy. The pamphleteering on the Royal Mile must be lived to be believed! In addition to your ongoing rehearsals, explore the spires of Edinburgh’s medieval Old Town, visit the towering Edinburgh Castle, and discover the contagious enthusiasm of your fellow theatre lovers, thousands of whom make the trip to Edinburgh an annual pilgrimage. As in Oxford, you stay in university accommodations located near the center of the city, and within walking distance of a number of important venues.
“I was expecting to increase my acting skills but this program exceeded all my expectations. I came back a better actor, but also a better writer, director, interviewer, listener, friend, and traveler.”
- John DeVoy, Noble and Greenough School, Newton, MA
Finally, the house lights go down, and the curtain goes up. The moment is electrifying, but what is seen on stage during the three evenings of your run is just the most visible part of a much deeper experience. In addition to the audience’s enthusiastic applause, you find that you come away from Theatre in Britain with knowledge, confidence, and friendships that will last a lifetime.
- Take master classes from renowned British actors and directors.
- Experience Shakespeare as the bard intended in the Globe Theatre.
- Go punting in the slow drift of the Cherwell River.
- Race up and down Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, promoting your show.
- Choose from dozens of world-class performances at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
What to Expect
Students are not expected to be experts in all areas of theatrical production. However, a willingness to try new roles and the desire to be an active part of a supportive group of open and creative individuals are essential.
At Putney we take pride in our reputation for careful, thorough planning and attention to detail. The descriptions of our high school summer programs abroad are based on our experiences in previous summers and our plans for this summer. It is inevitable that some things described here will not happen exactly as presented. To get the most out of the Putney experience, participants need to be flexible in responding to unforeseen situations, and creative in taking advantage of unexpected opportunities. We expect Putney participants to share responsibility for the success of their experience.
Putney organizes escorted international flights. Please consult us for fares.
Learn about last year’s program by reading the 2012 Theatre in Britain Blog.
Departure • Join your group at Newark International Airport as we begin Theatre in Britain. Fly to London with your leaders.
Oxford: Form your troupe • Touch down in London and travel by bus to the historic university city of Oxford. For the next two weeks, your home is St. Hilda’s College, on the banks of the Cherwell River, just a short walk from downtown. Learn from your leaders, work with guest artists, and begin to give shape to your group’s original performance piece.
London: The Play’s the Thing • Travel to London by bus to spend an extended weekend seeing and participating in the best performances the city has to offer. Stay in private rooms in a comfortable hostel, centrally located near Picadilly Circus. Highlights of the weekend include a workshop at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and the chance to see newly-premiered modern shows.
Edinburgh: Footlights and Fanfare • A scenic five hour train ride brings you directly to the heart of Edinburgh. Settle in to university accommodations, and then get to know your performance venue. Execute your marketing strategy, and hone your play in preparation for taking the stage.
Fringe Festival Performances • Your immersion in the world of theatre culminates with your three-show performance at the world renowned Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
“I went on a Putney program in 1976 and my older daughter went on two Putney programs when she was 16 and 17. Now, with Theatre in Britain, Mae has had her Putney experience – it was a life-changing accomplishment to perform in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.”
- Loraine Powell, San Diego, CA
Return Home • Fly with the group and a group leader from Edinburgh to Newark International Airport and continue to your final destination on a connecting flight.
This itinerary represents our best projection of the group’s schedule. However, we may implement changes designed to improve the quality of the program.
Background • Oxford, Edinburgh, and London are cities steeped in a rich history of theatre. From the traveling minstrel shows of medieval times, to the Elizabethan grandeur of Shakespeare’s Globe, and down to the bright lights of modern-day shows in London’s West End, a passion for the stage permeates British culture. Fortunately, it is a tradition not only lively, but alive. Look no further than the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, recognized as the largest arts festival in the world, with over 2,650 different shows in 2012, put on by more than 22,000 performers. Join us, seek inspiration in your storied surroundings and each other, and follow in the footsteps of Oscar Wilde, Vivian Leigh, Kate Beckinsdale, Richard Burton, and Hugh Grant.
Population • Oxford, the “city of dreaming spires,” is comfortably small, yet surprisingly diverse, with many of its 150,000 residents connected to the world-famous medieval university. Edinburgh is a thriving cosmopolitan city, as well as a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. During the Fringe Festival and August holiday, it sees its population nearly double in size to almost a million residents.
Language • After a week in Britain, you may begin to wonder what it means to say that English is your mother tongue. Over 20 recognized dialects and many more accents fill the streets and stages of England and Scotland.
“I absolutely loved my leaders, Tim and Kelley. They really cared about everyone, picked amazing shows for us to see, and taught me so much! They feel like friends to me, but they also stepped up whenever we needed guidance.”
- Leah Barr, Evanston High School, Evanston, IL
Climate • Summer brings out the best of England’s lush countryside and carefully maintained gardens and hedgerows. Average temperatures in both Oxford and Edinburgh are in the high 60s to low 70s with upper limits in the mid 80s. Though the nights get a bit colder, it’s still warm enough to enjoy plenty of outdoor productions. This being England, expect a healthy dose of rain and fog as well—don’t forget to bring a few sweaters and a lightweight raincoat.
Cuisine • While English cuisine doesn’t enjoy quite the same reputation as that of mainland Europe, it is, nonetheless, hearty and filling—exactly what’s needed to keep the show going! We eat some lunches and dinners at our University dining halls, with the Edinburgh University fare, in particular, being singled out by past participants as ”excellent.” The remaining meals include picnics, and a number of pre- and post- show sit-down dinners at a variety of restaurants. Vegetarian and vegan food is readily available (as are bangers and mash!).
Currency • The British Pound Sterling (£) is the currency of both England and Scotland. Banks are easily accessible throughout our travels and ATMs are plentiful.
Voltage • When traveling to the U.K., don’t forget to bring a voltage converter as well as a plug adapter. Both England and Scotland use 230V/50Hz current, with type “G” plug heads (three pin, rectangular blades).
The Cultural Exploration Theatre in Britain program is directed by Patrick Noyes. If you have questions, are interested in receiving more detailed information, or would like to talk further about the program or any of our high school summer programs abroad, please get in touch!
Patrick Noyes: Georgetown University, B.A., Spanish. After living for five years in Spain, Patrick joined Putney twelve years ago as leader of a Spain Language Learning program. He spent five summers with Excel in Spain, and has directed Excel at Amherst College, Excel China, and Excel Spain. Patrick has an unhealthy fascination with technology, which he tries to balance with healthier fascinations of camping, adventure races, architecture, and arthouse Spanish Cinema.
How To Apply
STEP 1: LOG ON.
STEP 2: HOLD A SPACE IN THE PROGRAM.
You can hold a space in a program by completing the Online Application Form, submitting a signed Agreement Form, and providing the $700 Application Deposit by Mastercard, Visa, or Discover Card through our secure online system or by sending a check to our office. Our admissions staff is also available to take credit card information over the phone. We will hold a space in a program for a reasonable time, pending completion of the full application process. See Step 3.
After March 15, we will hold a space temporarily as above, but we must receive full payment by check or wire transfer within three days to continue to hold a space in the program.
STEP 3: COMPLETE THE APPLICATION PROCESS.
Before we can make a final admissions decision, an application must be complete. In addition to the Application Form and Application Deposit described above, a complete application includes:
- Applicant Statement - Attach a statement explaining why you would like to join a Putney program and what you feel you can contribute to it. Your application cannot be processed without this statement. Approximately 150–300 words is sufficient. Global Action applicants’ statements must be 300-500 words addressing these questions, and detailing their interest and/or experience in the country and issues on which they wish to focus.
- Two Teacher Reference Forms
These documents are available as part of our Online Application. We review a completed application within a few days, and notify families of our admissions decision by e-mail.