London - England - Fall - English - Off-Campus Study Group Skip Navigation

The London English Study Group

Director Fall 2017:
Associate Professor of

The History of the London English Study Group

In 1966, the English Department joined the Economics and the History Department in a modus vivendi, under the supervision of three Colgate faculty, one from each department. Professor Russell Speirs was the English Study Group first director. Similar to the other groups, the professor would teach three courses and supervise a special “intern” experience representing an independent study designed to take full advantage of the English environment. The English Study Group was required to take two or three courses offered by the department and one or two electives from the other departments. The courses depended on the leadership but every academic year, students (English concentrators: juniors and seniors) were required to take the Independent Project based on contemporary English work, such as contemporary English Theater. The courses would be offered simultaneously from September until November when all students would embark upon their Independent Study Project. Until recent years, housing used to be a challenge, students had to make their own travel and living arrangements, which took a long time to find fairly decent housing. After the January Term was no longer continued, the English Study Group in London was moved to the Spring Term. In the spring of 1979, the English Department expanded their study group so that it began operating on a full-year basis. Today, the English Study Group in London continues to operate in the spring semester opened to all students interested, but priority is given to declared/prospective English and English/Creative Writing concentrators.


This study group offers students the opportunity to live and study for a full semester in one of the world’s great cities and theater capitals. Capitalizing on London as the central site of the study group, students will be immersed in the theater, film, performance, culture, history, and the life of the city. The cornerstone of the study group will be THEA 332, a course on theater and performance investigating the London theater scene and the international stage.  Students will attend weekly performances in London and see work at the internationally acclaimed Paris Autumn Festival, alongside weekly readings on spectatorship, theater history and the performance source texts.  To compliment this through THEA 355, an applied study of British playwrights, students will develop and hone their performance skills and imaginative capabilities while developing a sense of the historical and cultural context of the playwrights’ work. In HIST 249Y a course on the social and cultural history of London, which includes weekly walking tours, students will explore the city and study its development from a Roman settlement into a modern metropolis, a magnet for immigrants and artists who have transformed London into one of the most vibrant and multicultural cities in the world. Finally, students will continue their investigation of British culture through FMST 280 British Cinema that will probe the visual imaginary of British life through weekly screenings and attendance at the BFI International Film Festival. For approved students, by application only, there are a limited number of competitive opportunities to substitute either HIST 249Y or FMST 280 for THEA 350, a practicum course where the student will undertake an approved semester long internship within a British cultural institution.

Course of Study:
All students accepted into the group will take THEA 290, an introduction to study in London, 0.25-credit on-campus course in the spring of 2016, and four (4) courses in London.  Two of those courses will offer credit in the Theater Department: THEA 355 and THEA 332 both taught by the director. The third course will be HIST 249Y, taught by a Dr. K Layton-Jones and the fourth FMST 280 taught by a leading British film scholar.  Approved students my substitute for credit THEA 350: Practicum-Internship for either HIST 249Y or FMST 280.
Students explore ancient building on London English Study Group

Required Courses

THEA 332 London Theater (A. Sweeney) A course designed for students to experience, examine and analyze live theater and performance in London and on the international stage. During the semester students will see between 10-12 productions and while the course will focus primarily on British theatre: its productions, playwrights, theatres, and artists students will have the opportunity to attend performances by international companies in London, as well as performances at Le Festival D’Automne A Paris.

THEA 355 Advanced Acting: Britain’s Madmen (A. Sweeney) an upper level performance course focusing on the works of two of Britain’s most important and influential playwrights and theater makers. Students will engage in a rigorous exploration of the playwrights’ work through a series of exercises, scene study, production history and the playwrights’ theoretical writings.

FMST 320: European Cinemas is designed to introduce students to a wide range of issues concerning the role of cinema in the British cultural context, as distinct from and in connection with the cinemas of Hollywood and Europe. Taught by a leading British film scholar, students will attend a weekly seminar and screening. Class excursions will include attendance at BFI London Film Festival.

History 249Y: History of the City of London (K. Layton-Jones) A lecture course taught by Dr. Katy Layton-Jones, an expert on the social, cultural and architectural history of the city. Weekly walking tours led by Dr. Layton-Jones will enable students to move outside the classroom and explore the city’s varied past. 

AND for approved students THEA 350 Practicum may be substituted for FMST 280 or HIST 249Y.

THEA 350 Practicum: (A. Sweeney) a self-directed and concentrated study through the practical experience of a semester long internship. The course is designed to give students valuable, hands on experience in the creative, administrative, technical, or outreach and education divisions of a British cultural institution. Students must make an application and be approved by the Director of the program, Accent staff and the cultural institution.

Field Trips

Group poses outside small cottage

The group will take a four (4) day excursion to Paris where we will attend various international productions at 2017 Festival D’Automne a Paris. We will also visit and attend a production at Stratford-upon-Avon. In addition there will be several excursions in and around London to cultural institutions, theaters and curated talks of significance to our course of study.

Classrooms, Libraries, and Other Facilities

Classes will be held at Accent London Study Abroad Centre, a complex in the heart of Bloomsbury, just a couple of blocks west of the British Museum and British Library. The complex also houses a modest library and computer facility, which will be available to students. Students will become members of the University College London student union

Living Arrangements

Students will reside in five- to six-person flats in Bloomsbury, about a five-minute walk from the ACCENT Study Centre on Bedford Square. Each flat has shared bathrooms, kitchen and common space.


For details of student expenses on this study group, please see Student Cost Estimate Sheets.

Prerequisites and Selection Criteria

Priority will go to prospective Theater and FMST concentrators and minors. But there are no formal prerequisites for the program and ALL Colgate students may apply, regardless of their concentration. 

Below are suggested pre-requisites and may weigh in the admittance decision, but not mandatory.

*Suggested Prerequisites (2) include: THEA 254 Basic Acting or THEA 353 Theater Play and Improvisation

THEA 266 Intro to Drama or THEA 277 Modern Drama or THEA 349 Global Theater

Calendar and Deadlines

The deadline for applications to the Fall 2017 London Theater Study Group is Friday, November 4, 2016. All applications are on the Off-Campus Study/International Programs website and are submitted online. Interviews of applicants will be arranged by e-mail, and student notification of selection will take place in late December.

Passports and Visas

You must confirm that your passport is valid through May 2018. All students participating on the Fall 2017 London Theater Study Group will be required to obtain a U.K. student visa. With participation on this study group comes the responsibility of understanding and complying with U.K. visa requirements. If you will not be traveling on a U.S. passport it is imperative that you contact an adviser in Off-Campus Study/International Programs, 101 McGregory Hall, to learn as much as you can about the visa requirements. For some students there are significant requirements to be met that take time, advance planning, and incur extra costs. 

Program Dates

Group poses outside of glass-domed buildingLondon English Study Group program dates: August 24 - December 15, 2017

Informational Sessions

  • Tuesday, October 18, 2014 at 11:30 a.m. in 105 Lawrence Hall and 
  • Tuesday, October 25, 2014 at 11:30 a.m.
    in 115 Lawrence Hall

More Information

For more information, contact April Sweeney via e-mail at