My experience in London at the British American Drama Academy (BADA) was the perfect practical complement to my theory-focused Macalester education.
I lived in Central London with other members of the program in an off-campus apartment, and walked to school through Regent’s Park every morning. At school, we took intensive courses studying acting in a conservatory style. My classes included a Shakespeare-specific course, Restoration era High Comedy, Dramatic Criticism, Voice, Movement, Stage Combat, Dramatic Criticism, Theater History, and my personal favorite, Modern Physical- a class about physical comedy, contrast, and humor. My instructors were highly respected and experienced members of the field, like Norman Ayrton who taught High Comedy and served as the Dean of BADA from 1985-96 as well as a faculty member at Julliard School from 1974-85.
Each week the program took the students to one play on a major London stage for our Dramatic Criticism class, where we saw Keira Knightley in The Misanthrope, James Earl Jones in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and Dame Judi Dench in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
We had four Master Classes with world-renowned actors and actresses such as Fiona Shaw and Henry Goodman. After Spring Break each student was cast in one of three productions, which were staged for the public at the Lost Theater.
My BADA experience was an exhausting, exhilarating immersion in the theatrical world that has helped to focus my major and prepared me for life after graduation.