Across the pond and into the audience on a mini-term

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Spending the night out at the Gielgud Theatre in London. (Courtesy of Avery Novitch)

This winter break was by far the best I have ever experienced.

This is because I had the privilege of participating in the Theater and Dance Department’s mini-term to London.

The program was led by Professor Brittney Belz, a lecturer and the department’s costumer.

The program lasted three weeks, and in that time I saw 11 shows and learned more about theater than I ever thought was possible.

As a native New Yorker, I grew up believing that there was nothing else in the world like Broadway.

When I was ten years old I saw “All Shook Up,” a Broadway musical that featured all Elvis Presley music.

Everything about the experience was magical, and ever since then I have been addicted to the way that theater transports you to a different world.

Over the years I have seen many different theater and dance productions

I was certainly guilty of believing that you had not seen a show until you had seen a Broadway show.

The program in London promised many experiences including the opportunity to see a number of different shows, West End and beyond.

Professor Belz scheduled tickets for us to see eight shows as a group including, “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” “Farinelli and the King,” “War Horse,” “Ben Hurr,” “Cymbeline,” “Forget Me Not,” “Wonder.land” and “Michael Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty,” as well as a show of our choice.

I elected to see “Miss Saigon” as my ‘free choice’ show.

We were given the opportunity to see large productions in the West End as well as smaller productions at fringe theaters in other parts of London.

The theater scene in London is incredible because discount tickets can be extremely affordable.

Because of this, I was able to see two additional productions independently, “The Mousetrap” and “The Woman in Black.”

These productions are two of the longest running plays in London’s West End, running since 1974 and 1989 respectively.

The repetoire of performances that Professor Belz prepared for us included both award-winning and obscure productions.

We were able to see all types of shows, from a centuries old Shakespeare play to a critically acclaimed play that opened in the West End as recently as 2014.

This diverse array of productions included expert puppeteering in “War Horse,” crazy costumes in “Wonder.land,” a complex set in “Curious Incident,” Mark Rylance, one of England’s most renown stage actors in “Farinelli and the King” and television actor Joseph Marcell, known for playing English butler, Geoffrey, on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” in “Cymbeline” and so much more.

Another way we experienced theater in London was through visits to various sites and institutions meaningful to theater.

With Professor Belz, we toured Angels The Costumiers, the oldest costume company in the world.

We had the added priviledge of touring the Royal Opera House and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.

On my journey to London, I became fully immersed in the world of theater.

Because of this trip, my appetite for theater has increased dramatically.

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