Introduction by Aaron Young, Managing Director of the Fulton Theater, Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Theatre is a vibrant art form that asks us regularly to see the world in a different way. Each year, the Fulton Theatre hosts an annual trip to London (the second largest center of live theatre in the world – behind New York City) to see and experience the latest ideas offered by international theatre artists. Along the way, we get to meet actors and directors who give us an insider’s perspective on the creation of art today and how it compares with what we create and how we create it right here in Lancaster.
Every play we saw had moments of brilliance that sparked new ideas in each of us. And every play that we saw had faults that removed us from the euphoric experience of being swept away in a story. Live theatre is never a perfect “product” but is an ever-changing “process” that needs your involvement.
Our group consisted of 33 travelers with varying ages and life experiences, so it is not surprising that the moments of brilliance and faulty moments were different for everyone involved. That is what makes live theatre fascinating. One person can be having an transformative experience while the person next to him is looking at his watch waiting for the lights to come back up. The dialogue that is had by a community of theatre-goers following such experiences are some of the most fascinating memories of my life. And what we see and discuss together impacts what we do and how we do it here at the Fulton Theatre.
I invite you to be part of the conversation. Please visit us at the Fulton often. Discuss what you see and how it impacts you (positively and negatively). Share your reactions with us. Pick a show that you like and come see it several times and discover how it changes and grows over time. We strive for artistic excellence and hope that your engagement with us is well rewarded.
We just returned from a wonderful eight day trip to London planned by Aaron Young, Managing Director of the Fulton Theatre. Aaron enriched our tour with insights of the London theatre scene. The tour included four London theatre productions selected by Aaron who provided us with a synopsis of each show plus a ticket to the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of “The Merry Wives of Windsor” in Stratford-upon-Avon.
We saw a total of six productions which included “War Horse”, an enchanted staging of a children’s book about World War I with magical larger-than-life puppet horses; “Top Hat”, a stage version of the 1935 Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers movie; The British historical drama “Chariots of Fire”; “One Man, Two Guvnors”, a delightful comedy and “A Chorus of Disapproval”, the story of a local amateur opera company attempting to stage a production of “The Begger’s Opera”.
With each production we were treated to fascinating post-theatre conversations which included actors from the show we had seen. We traveled two and one-half hours outside of London to Stratford-upon-Avon to see the Royal Shakespeare Company’s new staging of “The Merry Wives of Windsor”.
This production was wonderfully set in our current time period, the year 2012. The actors wore modern clothing which included leather jackets. Our theatre experience was enhanced by attending a discussion with the director who articulated his goals before the show.
Our interesting group of travelers came from the Lancaster area and included many who had done the annual trip before. The logistics, arranged by AAA of Harrisburg, included a London Visitor Travelcard for seven days of unlimited use of subways and buses in all zones.
We stayed near St. James Park at The Royal Horseguards Hotel which is ideally located just a half block from an underground station. The large rooms were elegantly decorated. We were served a full English breakfast in the morning which was extremely filling and kept us satisfied until our evening meal.
During the days we scurried to our favorite London spots as well as getting to see the Olympic venues from last summer’s games. We saw the British Museum where theRosetta Stone is exhibited; The National gallery of Art which houses the national collection of Western European painting from the 13th to the 19th century and the Victorian and Albert Museum, the world’s largest museum of decorative arts and design, housing a permanent collection of over 4.5 million objects.
Dinners were on our own, so we enjoyed a different ethnic menu each night. We enjoyed Chinese, Indian, Thai, and of course we indulged in authentic English pub fare enjoying traditional fish and chips and beef pie. London is an exciting city and this trip provided all we needed to enjoy a wonderful week. This is an annual trip for the Fulton. Think about joining it next year. For more information on the annual London Theatre Tour please visit the Fulton Theatre website.
by June and Stu Wesbury, Residents of Willow Valley Communities
Aaron A. Young is in his ninth season as Managing Director of the Fulton Theatre, the largest arts organization in central Pennsylvania housed in the Fulton Opera House, a National Historic Landmark. The Fulton employs 24 full-time artists and administrators and provides a living wage to more than 250 actors, directors, designers, choreographers, playwrights, and crew members each season. Aaron is a magna cum laude graduate of Brigham Young University and holds a degree in theatre arts. He has also worked as managing director of the Sundance Theatre Program, marketing manager for the Sundance Film Festival, and general manger for the Missouri (now Kansas City) Repertory Theatre. In a former career, he directed marketing programs for regional shopping centers in Arizona and Utah. He has served as a panelist for the TCG Observership Program and on the strategic planning committees for the Lancaster City Tourism Plan and for the creation of LancasterARTS, a local arts service organization. Once a professional performer, he now enjoys singing with his daughters to the accompaniment of his wife’s claw-hammer banjo