Summer Seminar: British Theatre

To be honest, if you asked me why I signed up for the British Theatre Seminar, I wouldn’t be able to tell you. It was completely unlike me. Everything about it was outside of my comfort zone. I merely looked into it on a whim.

The London Eye on one side of the River Thames with Big Ben on the other.

However, the more I looked, the more captivated I became. The opportunity was incredible: traveling the UK, exploring all the historical and natural beauty, seeing at least 16 productions. When would I ever get another opportunity like this?

So I signed up, got accepted, and then had all summer to worry. My prior travel experience was almost non-existent. I barely knew anyone attending. I’m not a theatre major, so what business did I have going on this trip? The worries went on and on…

Classic London tourist shot!

Clinging to that now distant whim, I pushed myself and I showed up anxiously at Gordon, with absolutely no idea how it would turn out.

The next two weeks would prove to be the adventure of a lifetime. The trip starts out with a week in London, England. After class in the morning (our classroom was the National Theatre with its stunning view of the London Eye), we’d set out to explore the city. The city of London is undeniably charming. From the red telephone booths, to the breath-taking rose gardens of Hyde Park, to the amazing artifacts in the British Library, London

The National Theater became our temporary home.

captured my heart. At night, our class would gather again in the National Theatre to see absolutely impeccable productions. I was moved to tears, brought to laughter, forced to ask myself questions about the world and about my life. And every time, I left the theatre feeling changed, and it seemed to me that the whole audience was experiencing that feeling with me. We had grown together in what we had just shared.

The streets of Edinburgh were perfect for exploring.

Feeling quite bittersweet about leaving London, I was wonderfully surprised when the second leg of the trip unexpectedly was able to match the first. Our second week was spent in Edinburgh, Scotland, a gorgeous city full of today’s culture and yesterday’s architectural marvels.  We were in Edinburgh during the second week of the Fringe Festival, an international arts festival where talented individuals from all over the world put on performances for whoever will
come and see. Our days were packed with exploring the city, eating amazing food, seeing fascinating shows, and engaging with a city full of people from every background. One gorgeous morning, we hiked to the top of Arthur’s Seat, a famous mountain in Edinburgh. To be able to sit in awe of God’s Creation provided the perfect grounding for the entire trip.

Group shot on Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh

The best part of the trip, however, is the part you’ll never see advertised. It was the thoughts sparked by class discussions or readings; it was the late-night conversations as much-needed sleep was neglected, while we contemplated the mysteries of life; it was the connections made and the bonding that occurs as you get lost in a foreign city or desperately try to find some normal food. It was the strangers who started out as fellow travelers and eventually became friends. Relationships formed from travel are unique and ours were strengthened as we shared our lives, our thoughts, our emotions, and one incredible trip – until we couldn’t remember ever being strangers.

At the top of Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh

My four years at Gordon have been full of experiences just like the British Theatre Seminar. Things that terrified me, that stretched me, that I spent hour after hour worrying about – these things ended up changing my life and being the greatest parts of my Gordon adventure. God has used each and every one to teach and mold me. I challenge you to not let your worries control or limit you. Do the thing that scares you and move beyond what you know.

You never know where the journey will take you.

Travel on,
Haley Seward


By: Haley Seward, class of ’17


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