Following on from The British School of Kuwait's theatre trip to Stratford-upon-Avon and London, England in April 2010, thirty BSK students and staff recently travelled to the only other place in the world where people can see extraordinary theatrical productions: Manhattan, New York.
Students were very excited to see 'The Big Apple' and they had a real New York experience. Opting to see four Broadway shows, Phantom of the Opera, Mamma Mia!, Mary Poppins and War Horse, they enjoyed each one for different reasons. The first show they saw was Phantom of the Opera, the longest running show on Broadway, and it didn't disappoint. With beautiful singing and an impressive set, students were mesmerized. The next show, Mamma Mia! had a personal touch: one of the actors in the show, Ian Paget, came to give the group a talk about working in Broadway theatre and he incorporated some dance moves into the show that very evening which Omar Khalil, a student in Year 9, showed him! BSK students certainly cheered when they saw it. The other two shows were Mary Poppins, a wonderful piece of theatre; finally students were treated to the magnificence of War Horse - a production so engrossing you almost believed the horse was real.
Students were also put through their paces in four drama workshops run by experienced Broadway directors and choreographers. The first was run by Holly Anne Ruggiero who has directed fourteen Broadway shows, her most recent being Jersey Boys which is still running on Broadway. She encouraged students to be creative in ways they had never experienced before and made them perform their own musical.
Another session was taken by Alison Carr who was a backing dancer for Britney Spears and Pink and can be seen on a number of their music videos. She coached the students through a dance and song routine from Mamma Mia! Along with Geoff Shade, a professional choreographer on Broadway who put the students through a rigorous dancing class and Canedy Knowles who taught them how to perform a monologue, the workshops were a great success.
Students also had fabulous weather in which to see the main tourist sites of New York. From the heights of the Empire State Building and The Rockefeller Center, students also went up the Statue of Liberty, Ellis island, walked around Central Park, made a news and weather broadcast in the NBC Studios tour and stared at the thousands of lights and billboards in Times Square as well as sitting in on a live debate at the General Assembly at the United Nations. They also had time to shop at Macy's, the Apple store and one teacher saw an episode of Glee being made on 5th Avenue.
All of the Americans were amazed at how motivated, interested and polite The British School of Kuwait students were during all of the workshops or tours. It was the trip of a lifetime for both BSK staff and students and the return trip is already in the planning stages.
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