Birthday in Britain

Francesca Mouery
October 16, 2017
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Late September, all of the Gaiety students got the chance to travel to London for a weekend to see some West End shows and explore the city's passionate artistic culture. When I had found out about this trip, I was absolutely stoked. In fact, this was actually one of the many experiences that had led me to choose to go abroad with IES Abroad in the Fall! Just a little bit of a preface on my overly enthusiastic attitudes... I had:

1) Never been to England and have wanted to pretty much my entire life (at least, ever since I knew who John, Paul, George, and Ringo were... ever since I realized how delicate and welcoming the Queen's royal wave was... The list could go on and on, really).


2)We weren't going on just any weekend... It was my 21st Birthday Weekend (which is quite the landmark birthday in America, as you may know)!

I was ready to celebrate exploring a city I had always admired so vicariously from across the pond and was prepared to see some wonderful pieces of theatre. And, let me say, the weekend did not disappoint.

There was so much that we had done on our visit. From drinking a "cuppa" tea whenever we had the chance to embracing the adventures of hostel life, London was an absolute treat. Every turn featured a bright, shiny red telephone box or a busy, bustling tube station. The energy of the city was pulsing and alive. On the streets, you were sure to always see a rich diversity of humankind; people of every race, gender, and creed walking together as one unit. Everyone happily shares the city with such grace and pride, which was really comforting to see.

I could go on about every single thing we had done and seen on the trip, but I've picked out a few of my favorite experiences to sum up London in a way that was very personal and special to me!

The Theatre Scene

The theatre culture in London is like no other. The West End is it's own beautiful beast, evoking a bit of NYC's Broadway culture and something of it's own Anglo-Saxon roots. There's something very refined and uniquely beautiful about the theatre scene in London that is also very wild and rich with history.

We had seen three shows while in the city:

The Girl from The North Country at The Old Vic (which actually starred Shirley Henderson AKA Moaning Myrtle... That was pretty cool, since we had no idea in the first place she was acting in the production! We also spotted Arthur Darville from Doctor Who at the show). The show was pretty good. A bit disjointed, but the The Old Vic Theatre, itself, is incredibly gorgeous. There's this lightbulb chandelier in the main lobby that illuminates the room as people rush in to get their fill of theatrics and the archiecture is something old, yet familiar, even to strangers like me who only walked in it's door recently. It's also nice to know that so many people I admire have performed or even visited The Old Vic Theatre (Tom Hiddleston). 

Alice's Adventures Underground at the old Waterloo Station (an abandoned tube station). It was an immersive experience in which the actors and actresses took you through various scenes and talked to you as if you were a part of Alice's Wonderland! Shenanigans ensued, tea was generously served at a mad tea party, and it's still one of my favorite shows I've ever seen (and, by the immersive nature, been a part of!)

The Book of Mormon at The Prince of Wales Theatre. In the midst of the West End. I had seen this show while it toured the US and loved it. The songs are irreverent. The comedy is dark, uncouth, and bold. And, not to mention, the tap number in the middle of the song "Turn It Off" is to die for! Would recommend to anyone who loves modern musical theatre or wants a good laugh from the writers who brought you South Park!

We also got the chance as a group to tour The Globe Theatre, made famous by William Shakespeare himself. We got to explore the very theatre where Shakespeare put on his plays and delved into his life and times whilst visiting this beautiful museum nearby. Though the theatre is a replica of the original (which burned down long ago), it was really magical to walk the same grounds as The Bard and all his theatrical literary glory. Later that day, we even got to walk close by the River Thames and ate food at an open air market. I had a curry dish that was to die for and ended the meal with some freshly baked pastries from a nearby food stall that were sweet as can be.

The next day was my birthday and friends had planned a brunch for me at a place called Foxlow. We had delicious, but very avant-garde style dishes (a cream cheese, fruit compote waffle, a hash brown made of God-know-what deliciousness, and some lovely orange-grapefruit juice) and took a quick trip to The National Gallery to take in some of the country's famous artistic sights before hopping on the hour-long tube ride back to the Heathrow Airport. Not only did we get to see some Van Gogh's that day, but some gorgeous works of art from many different influential periods of painting, sculpture, and more.

My time in London was certainly long overdue, but I am so glad I could've had such an amazing weekend with all my new Gaiety friends before starting classes!Pasta DinnerOld Church

Red Phone Booths

Shakespeare Mural

Van Gogh

Picadilly Square


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Francesca Mouery

<p>Hello all! My name is Francesca Mouery, but a lot of people call me 'Franny'. I am a rising Junior at Denison University, which is located in a quaint, historic town called Granville, OH. Though I go to school in a very Midwestern area, known for it's farmland and pleasantly cloudy days, I am originally from sunny Orlando, FL. Now, I am ready to journey on my next adventure to Dublin, Ireland to seek out an amazing education in conservatory-style performance and theatre making.</p>

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