I was first enamored of combining my two passions, theater and travel, when I spent five days in Dublin, Ireland, with a bookclub, in 2008. It wasn’t even “my” bookclub, but I met the leader at a party and she invited me to join the group. Having never been to Dublin, I thought, why not? When my boss, the executive director of the theater where I was currently Director of Development heard about my plans, she said she would like to join me…and by the way, did I know that the Dublin Theater Festival was going on while we would be there? I didn’t – but when I looked it up, I was fascinated by the myriad choices of performances and booked as many as I could possibly fit into a five day jaunt. We never saw the bookclub members, but we did see two performances a day and three shows on one day (which made it really hard to remember which one was which!). We toured Dublin’s historical sites, ate food that surpassed any ideas of “Irish food”, drank numerous pints and Irish coffees and saw fresh new works as well as classics. I was hooked. Travel and theater – that is what I want to do!
And luckily, for the past eight years, I have been doing exactly that! First at Marin Theatre Company and then at American Conservatory Theater and now at Dramarama Theater Tours. Starting with a small group of tourees to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, I added different venues each year. Tours included the Shaw and Stratford Theater Festivals in Canada, the Dublin Theater Festival, New York City and one year I had 36 tourees be my New Year’s date in London. After each tour I always think, how can I top that one? And somehow, each year, each tour, becomes a very special theater/travel/group experience.
Why? Yes, it is the immersion in the world of theater and seeing a show every night. But I think two additional reasons come to mind every time.
1) Each tour meets with guest artists in discussions led by knowledgeable artistic guides, who also lead post-show discussions. This tour season we met with two actors in the cast of Tiny Beautiful Things, director of Exit Strategy, Ike Holter, and a group of four young actors working (or not working) in Chicago. In New York we met with Anne McDonough, one of the “old women” in The Ferryman and the composer/playwright of Octet, Dave Malloy. In Santa Fe we met with the lead actors in 4000 Miles with the artistic director of Santa Fe Actors Lab and two young opera apprentices. In Dublin we were treated to a discussion with actors from each show we saw and playwright, Dermot Bolger. Each discussion brought us more understanding of the thought and creative talent that is behind the scenes in “putting on a show.”
2) And the big one: the patrons on my tours are theater aficionados. They love theater. They attend theater, they enjoy talking about theater and sharing their opinions about theater. Somehow, every. single. time. the group becomes a family of wine drinking, loud laughing, discussion hungry theater critics.
I invite you to join a Dramarama Theater Tour this coming year. I am planning a two city tour to Philadelphia/New York; a new tour to Seattle; a return to Toronto/Shaw/Stratford Festivals and my tried and true forever in love with Ireland – the Dublin Theatre Festival. All tours are singles-friendly (with a low single supplement and optional group meals). Although this website has information about the tours, there are always changes and additions that make the tour you go on super special!
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 510-350-7675 and let’s chat about the possibilities.
Helen Rigby, Director – click here for more about Helen