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English 491/591: Summer Theater Festivals in Ireland, England & Scotland

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English 491 is a three-week off-campus drama course offered during second Summer Session. The course carries three hours of credit at the 400 (undergraduate) level. This year’s 491 will take place from July 20th to August 10thStudents will get to experience Europe’s great summer theater festivals: one in  Galway—a venue for Ireland’s best dramatic companies– and the other in Edinburgh,  Scotland’s Fringe Festival, where the production of over 3,500 music, dance, and dramatic entertainments turns the city into a carnival for the performing arts. In addition, the class studies contemporary  and classic dramatic entertainments in Dublin and London,  from great Irish drama at Dublin’s historic theaters, the Abbey and the Gate, to  William Shakespeare in London’s new Globe theater, to spectacular musicals and contemporary drama in London’s West End.

After arriving at Shannon Airport on Ireland’s west coast, we will travel for five days to Galway, site of a summer International Arts Festival.  You will see three plays at the Galway Festival, at least one by Druid Theater (one of Ireland’s best) and you will have the chance to see at least two more shows (music, dance, or drama) of your own choosing from among the Festival’s rich mix of entertainments. As a side-trip, you will take a tour of Connemara, the ring of Kerry, and Ireland’s gorgeous west coast.  Then, we are off to Dublin for four days to see the summer offerings at The Abbey Theater and The Gate, classic venues for outstanding Irish theater.

We then move to London for nine days to see five plays at venues like the Royal National Theatre, the West End, the Donmar Warehouse and small fringe theaters.  Offerings will include a range of genres, and kinds of entertainment: we’ll see the best of new plays, a big musical, a comedy, and Shakespeare at the new Globe Theatre. There will be ample opportunity for sightseeing and personal excursions, including a free weekend with enough time to travel to Amsterdam or other European destinations. Paris is only a two-hour train trip away!

The third part of the course takes us to the International Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, where we will sample the summer’s single greatest variety of performing arts productions in the English speaking world, with plenty of time to see the sights of the city including its magnificent castles and art museums. The Fringe Festival has become the premiere location for the UK’s performing arts companies to preview their newest work—the shows that move later to London and New York– and the best carnival for the performing arts in Europe, a street-theater event that you see and experience.

English 491 is open to students from all majors and offers 3 hours of credit; the course has no prerequisites. The fee for the trip is $2750.00NOT including UT tuition, airfare, and some meals. Hope scholarships apply in summer. A deposit of $750.00 is required to hold a space in the class for you, and should accompany a formal application made out to the Center for International Education.  For more information, please contact Rob Stillman, Professor of English, 412 McClung Tower, rstillma@utk.edu.  Phone: (865) 974-6971.

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Resources

•          Drama in Stratford and London Facebook page
•          Kenilworth Castle
•          London Theatre Guide
•          Royal Shakespeare Company
•          Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre

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