Contemporary British Theatre with Optional Weekend Trip

Did you know London has around one hundred theatres? Fifteen of which are occupied by subsidized companies. Large commercial theatres can be found in the West End offering a variety of light entertainment, music, ls and comedies.  However, London’s theatre scene is not just big budget productions of Billy Elliot and the Lion King.  Off-West End productions feature plays with more individual themes. The most innovative and experimental work is usually found in the ‘fringe’ theatres.

Students enrolled in this course will be offered a ‘taste’ of all these modes of production, and a consideration of state subsidy for theatre within a critical framework. Students course will be introduced to a variety of texts, performances and theatrical venues that reflect the vitality of contemporary British theatre. Upon completing the course, students will be able to show an understanding of the network of relationships that constitute contemporary British theatre and be able to critically evaluate theatrical performances with an appreciation of technical terminologically and theoretical perspectives, forming an appreciation of aesthetic, academic and political debates in contemporary British theatre.


*Please note: A £90 lab fee (covers performances and activities) is required for this course.



Students registered for this course will have priority access to book a place on our "Shakespeare's Footsteps: Culture and History in Stratford-upon-Avon" trip.

Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire, a market town approximately a hundred miles from London, is the place where William Shakespeare was born in 1564 and it is where he retired to in 1610. The Stratford trips, led by FIE’s theatre or Shakespearian literature tutors, enable students to learn about Shakespeare and his work by exploring his hometown and attending contemporary performances by the Royal Shakespeare Company.

On this trip we will explore the geography of Stratford, visiting the house in which Shakespeare was born and grew up, a house that has been a place of pilgrimage for Shakespeare scholars for the last two hundred and fifty years. We will also visit the site of New House, a house that Shakespeare purchased in 1597 and lived in until his death, as well as the Holy Trinity Church where Shakespeare and his wife and daughter are buried. Further visits include wife Anne Hathaway’s childhood home and Hall’s Croft, the seventeenth-century home of Shakespeare’s daughter Susannah and her husband, a prominent Stratford doctor whose herb garden was famous throughout England.

The trip will include guided tours of Stratford by the tutor including the historical and literary background of Stratford in relation to Shakespeare and his family. We will also be attending two performances by the Royal Shakespeare Company. While the specific performances change each season, the RSC is world renowned for its modern and sometimes radical productions of works by Shakespeare and his contemporaries. The RSC also regularly commissions and produces original shows and adaptations. We also explore the RSC’s ‘Page to Stage Tour,’ featuring commentary on how the company creates theatre from text to performance.

There will be a background/lecture seminar for each play as part of the trip as well as a chance to discuss the performances after each play. Learn more on our London Activities page. 




 Contemporary British Theater