London Calling: RSS students to sample Shakespeare, walk in footsteps of Jack the Ripper

Allyson Kenning
By Allyson Kenning
September 29th, 2010

Spring Break 2011 will be one wicked experience for a group of budding RSS student thespians: they are off to London – the original London, in the UK – for an eight-day trip that promises to be the trip of their young lives so far.

Organized by drama teacher Lisa Henderson, their adventure will include participating in two theatre workshops and two to three theatre performances, including a Shakespeare play at the famous Globe Theatre.  Also planned are a series of visits to major London tourist meccas like Westminster Abbey, The Tower of London, and Whitechapel, where the Jack the Ripper murders happened in 1888.

When asked what they were most excited about, the students I talked to mentioned a variety of unique experiences they are looking forward to. “I’m excited for the day after we get there, [when] we get to go down the Thames River,” said Camille Craig, in reference to a nighttime cruise the group will be embarking upon.

“I’m looking forward to the productions we’re going to see.  We’re going to see “Wicked, my favourite musical!” Brogan Pastro enthused, referring to the production based on the Gregory Maguire novel of the same name.

Laura Davies is “excited to see something other than Canada,” as this is her first trip overseas.  Both Brogan and Laura are drama trip veterans, however, having participated in the 2009 Hollywood trip.


Right now, there are 13 students confirmed for the trip and a few more possibles. Henderson will accompany the group along with at least three other adults.


Lisa Henderson is a veteran mover and shaker behind a whole list of drama department trips that have seen her students visit Hollywood once (as mentioned above, in 2009), New York City three times, and an annual trip to Vancouver for the Vancouver Children’s Festival that she started doing 19 years ago.  More recently, for the trips further afield, she has used the services of STS Group Tours in Surrey, BC, which is a travel company specializing in student tours.  This will be Miss Henderson’s first trip to London with her students.


The trip comes with a bit of a price tag.  Each individual will pay between $2500 to $2700 to go, and that includes air fare, all breakfasts, some dinners, and all tickets to events and tours.  However, in order to offset some of the costs outside of this amount, the drama students are doing a variety of fund-raising events to help with travel necessities like transportation to the airport and a night in a hotel on the day before the flight. Money remaining after those costs are covered go to the students to help with their individual fees.


“We need lots of community support,” says Henderson, who hopes to raise a few thousand dollars between now and March. First up is a bottle drive on October 2, and then there will be the annual Fright Night, just in time for Halloween, on October 27. “Our group will also be hosting the variety show at Winter Carnival,” she continues, “which is on the last Friday of January.  We have all sorts of talent, from young to old – young dancers on the stage, young singers, and other musicians. And we do the concession stand for the Joe Hill Coffee House every third Sunday of the month. In the past we’ve had a drama dessert evening where we sold tickets and provided desserts [for attendees]. One year we did an actual spaghetti feed where we provided a whole meal then we just shifted from the tables to an intimate audience where we perform some plays.”


Henderson believes that these drama trips are very valuable for her students because it exposes them to different cultures and experiences. “I’ve had students who have never seen the ocean, have never ridden on an escalator or elevator…In fact, the first I went on a New York trip, one of my students had never been further than Nelson – and all of a sudden there she was in New York City. Some of our students have never seen professional live theatre, and to watch the looks on their faces when they go “wow…that was so impressive…”


That awe is the reward for all the hard work and planning that goes into a trip like this.

The Drama Club’s bottle drive will be taking place on Saturday October 2nd between 10:00am and 4:00pm at the empty lot across from the Prestige. The group will also be doing curbside pick up so get your empties ready!

Categories: Arts and Culture

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