London Theatre Program (BADA)




Become part of London’s great theatrical tradition as you work and study with leading actors and directors from the world of British theatre.

Sponsored by Sarah Lawrence College and the British American Drama Academy (BADA), the London Theatre Program is designed for dedicated students who are passionate about their work and serious about acting. Students may enroll in the single semester program in either the fall or spring.


Students take acting classes, master classes, and workshops with leading artists from the British stage, complemented by individual tutorials with teachers. A faculty from Britain's foremost drama schools teaches technical classes in voice, movement, and stage fighting.

Classes in theatre history and theatre criticism, tickets to some of the best productions of the season, and the experience of performing in a professional theatre round out the program.

Students can enroll in either the fall or spring for single-semester study.

The British American Drama Academy (BADA)

BADA logoThe British American Drama Academy was formed in 1984 to enable students from the United States and across the world to study with leading actors and directors of the British theatre. BADA organises three intensive programmes in Britain with leading American colleges and universities: the Midsummer in Oxford Program (MIO), since 1984, in association with Yale School of Drama for actors over age 18; the London Theatre Program (LTP), established in 1986 and co-sponsored by Sarah Lawrence College; and the Midsummer Conservatory Program (MCP), established in 2006 for 16-18 year olds.

BADA’s Patron is Sir Derek Jacobi CBE and the Academy is able to boast a range of Britain’s most distinguished actors and directors among its faculty.

Single Semester (Fall or Spring)

Students receive a full semester of Sarah Lawrence College academic credit (15 credits) for each semester of the program. Students who come for either the fall or spring semester take the following courses. The single semester conservatory program runs in the fall and the spring.

The first eight weeks include classes in:

Scene Study: Shakespeare
This practical acting course enables the students to search for, find, and explore the structure of Shakespeare’s texts in a physical and active way. The aim by the end of this course is for the students to have achieved a deeper connection with the drama of the words. This course will give students a greater sense of confidence in Shakespeare’s language and students will find they can speak the text more naturalistically even while honoring the given demands of the structure. This course looks at various plays—comedy, history, and tragedy and gives particular attention to textual analysis and verse speaking. No formal written work. (2 credits)

Scene Study: High Comedy
This is a practical acting course designed to give students a dynamic, sensitive, and physical approach to acting in High Comedy, enabling them to play with increased confidence, openness, precision, understanding, and skill. Students will work as a group on exercises which will lay a foundation for the detailed scene study work of these complex and witty texts. The course will give each individual the opportunity to put into practice the core principles of working on High Comedy from Restoration through to Wilde, Coward, and Orton in a highly supportive, collaborative atmosphere, and gain a strong understanding of what makes this material so rewarding and exhilarating to act. No formal written work. (2 credits)

Scene Study: Modern Physical Theatre
In this course, students study with a member of Complicite (subject to availability) and will study exercises influenced by the teachings of Jaques Lecoq and Philippe Gaulier. These studies will include many improvisations which look at the actor’s presence in the space and their dynamic of play. Students will look at the relationship between the physical body and text and how one informs the other. In the second half of the semester, the group will either examine a 20th-century European text or the half mask. (2 credits)

In this course students will be taught the fundamentals of voice covering the topics of body, breath, voice, articulation, support, and voice to text. There will be a focus on physical awareness and release through developing alignment and centering. Breath control is explored to assist in the opening up and freeing of the voice. The voice is developed in its range, resonance, timbre, and expression. Effective articulation is taught. Students will learn to apply this knowledge by using practice exercises given in every class with which they can develop their speaking voice for the stage, TV, screen, or radio. Coaching within voice classes help the student to explore and develop an authentic connection of voice to text. Text work covers the elements of rhetoric, rhythm, sound, text structures, meaning, and thought. As speaking language is a physical activity, some exercises are interactive. Exercises will be done together with the group as a whole, in smaller groups, pairs, and individually. As students gain in vocal confidence through their practical voice work a deepening connection to and ownership of language in performance will emerge and grow through the regular application of their acquired knowledge. (1 credit)

By using movement work, group games, imaginative, and observational work as tools to build the ensemble, students are encouraged to be free and strengthen their bodies. This provides the student actors with the ability to transform physically into the different characters they play. This class also enables the students to free their voice and unlock physical habits and tensions which may inhibit their bodies and therefore their ability to be free. The period dance element allows the students to transform physically and imaginatively into other eras and to link this to the work in their Shakespeare and High Comedy classes. (1 credit)

Stage Fighting: Hand to Hand Combat
Led by one of the leading fight directors in Europe, this course trains students in realistic stage combat with emphasis on safety, control, period styles, and technical virtuosity. The students will learn and be able to perform a large body of practical fight techniques and will gain a working comprehension of all the relevant safety principles and be able to apply them in practical situations. Students will also gain an understanding of their personal areas of strength and areas requiring further focus with a clearer judgment of their own personal rehearsal arc with regards to the illusion of violence in performance. Students will also have a more acute understanding of how to integrate character into action and action into text by the end of the course. (1 credit)

Theatre History
This course explores the development of comic theatre in England from Ben Jonson to Joe Orton. Students will develop a good knowledge and critical appreciation of seven English plays and acquire the interpretative skills that allow a more informed appreciation of such works. Particular attention will be paid to text and to the theatres for which these works were written. Students will also gain an awareness of the historical, social, and cultural context from which these works emerged. The plays, which will include works by Congreve, Goldsmith, Wilde, Coward, and Orton, are some of the same texts that students will be working on in their High Comedy acting classes. (2 credits)

Dramatic Criticism
This course introduces students to some of the best live theatre available in London—one of the world’s most exciting theatre cities; and it will also visit the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford. Students will discuss the role of theatre criticism in the United Kingdom, and the way it is changing in the digital age. The course is also intended to sharpen a student’s personal critical and observational skills in respect of performance, design, and production choices. Students are encouraged to develop fresh ways of watching, thinking, and writing about theatre. (1 credit)

The final five weeks of the course are devoted to:

Acting in Performance
For this course, students will rehearse and perform productions of major British and European classical works. After eight weeks of classes, students are split into companies and begin the five week rehearsal period. Each company is led by a British theatre director. This culminates in a final performance at a working London theatre. During the rehearsal period, students continue their voice and movement work with a warm-up class each morning. Voice and movement faculty also come into rehearsals and support the student’s process thus helping to further develop the core foundations for the modern actor. (3 credits)

Additionally, the first eight weeks of classes include:

  • Tutorials—An important supplement to the curriculum are regular one-on-one tutorials. In tutorials, students study text and speeches of the students choosing individually with the Dean who is also a professional actor. These sessions are devoted to improving students’ acting abilities and encouraging students to explore and independently lead on making a range of creative choices while building on their portfolio of audition pieces.

  • Weekly theatre visits (including a trip to see the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford)

  • Weekly masterclasses with leading UK theatre practitioners, including actors, directors, and designers from the British and American stage. Recent masterclass instructors include: Jenny Beavan, Brian Cox, Bob Crowley, Brandon Victor Dixon, Julian Glover, Henry Goodman, Greg Hicks, Fiona Shaw, Owen Teale, Deborah Warner, Sam West, and Elliot Barnes-Worrall.


Please visit BADA's website for faculty information.

Living in London

The London theatre is the principal focal point for drama in the English-speaking world. Nowhere else is there such a diversity of plays or such a range of talent. The resources of London are therefore central to students’ experience in The London Theatre Program.


Each semester, students are allocated secure and modern accommodations in the heart of London.

Detailed information on housing is found in the London (BADA) Handbook.

Cultural Activities & Excursions

Attendance at performances is an integral part of the program. Master classes and talks with guest artists from the theatre world are arranged throughout each semester.

Books & Plays

Books are provided for all acting classes. BADA has its own library, from which students may loan out books. The library has computers for writing papers and Internet access during office hours.


The Sarah Lawrence College London Theatre Program is highly selective, and the number of students is limited. It is open to juniors and seniors enrolled at any accredited American college or university.

The Office of Global Education can provide further information about the program, as well as names and numbers of program veterans who will be happy to discuss any aspect of the program.

Audition for the London Theatre Program

All students applying to the London Theatre Program are required to audition by submitting an uploaded video via YouTube to the Office of Global Education.

Please upload your YouTube audition on your application or e-mail the private/unlisted YouTube URL to Cecilia Weisman at All YouTube auditions must be received no later than October 15th for the spring semester.

Please note that we are accepting early YouTube auditions and you will be given notice as to whether you have passed the audition. As soon as your application is complete, you will receive an official decision.


Below are the instructions for sending in a YouTube audition.

The following must be part of your audition:

  1. Some words about yourself. For example: your name, how old you are, what school you attend, when you began studying acting and why, what you know about the London Theatre Program, why you are applying to the program, and how you heard about the program.
  2. A monologue from Shakespeare in verse no longer than 2 minutes.
  3. A monologue of your own choice, no longer than 2 minutes.
  4. A song of your choice, unaccompanied.
  5. Avoid close-ups, please. At least one of your monologues must be filmed with your entire body in frame.

Applications & Deadlines

​Students must submit an audition via YouTube.

Students may apply for the fall semester or spring semester. The completed application for the fall semester is due March 1. The completed application for the spring semester is due October 15.

Tuition & Fees

Students are charged the cost of Sarah Lawrence tuition each semester.

Suggested costs to cover meals, airfare, and personal expenses are available here.

Financial Aid

Sarah Lawrence College students who normally receive financial aid may apply their awards to any College-sponsored program abroad.

Sarah Lawrence College offers limited financial assistance to guest students on this program. Students should consult their home school's financial aid office for guidance on other financial aid resources.

For more information about Sarah Lawrence financial aid options, e-mail the Office of Global Education.

Academic Calendar

Please note that these dates are subject to change.

Spring 2020
Friday, January 10 Students arrive
Sunday, January 12 Orientation day
Monday, January 13 First day of term
March 9–13 Mid-term break
April 14, 15, 16 End-of-year productions
Friday, April 17 End of term
Saturday, April 18 Students must vacate housing
Please note that students must leave the UK by April 19.
Fall 2020
Friday, September 4 Students arrive
Sunday, September 6 Orientation day
Monday, September 7 First day of term
November 2–6 Mid-term break
December 8, 9, 10 End-of-year productions
Friday, December 11 End of term/farewell party
Saturday, December 12 Students must vacate housing
Please note that students must leave the UK by December 13.

Students are expected to arrive in London on the Friday stipulated and cannot depart prior to the end of the term.

Please note that the above dates are may be subject to change.