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Guest Stories

Royal Academy of Dramatic Art – Marvellous………

May 26, 2011

We Are Cunard

Posted in: Guest Stories, Queen Mary 2

Hello All

I write this on board Queen Victoria sailing in-between Cobh and Bilbao. That adds up to crossing both the Irish Sea and the top of the Bay of Biscay. Last night we had Force 8-9 with up to 50 knot winds – but happily today things are a lot calmer and the ship is riding very well. So – never let it be said I am a ‘Fair Weather President’ – and I am in good company with our guests and Ship’s Company. I will write a blog shortly as to how my visit went and some of the things I got up to. For now though let me introduce a guest blogger – Helen Longworth. She is with RADA – and we are getting rave reviews from the RADA activities on Queen Mary 2.

Guest Blog 

Helen Longworth 

RADA Company Manager 

Queen Mary 2 


The company of six actors and alumni of London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art are delighted to be working in collaboration with Cunard on board Queen Mary 2. As a part of the ship’s fantastic programme of entertainment, RADA are presenting two specially adapted plays; Shakespeare’s ‘Much Ado about Nothing’ and Chaucer’s ‘Canterbury Tales’. ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ is stylishly set in the 1940s to the background music of Glen Miller and the Andrews Sisters, and the ‘Canterbury Tales’ is a bawdy romp told by actor musicians in the style of medieval travelling players.


RADA are also enjoying performing in other spaces around the ship, with their Jazz and Beat poetry in the Chart Room; Passion and Piano love poetry in the Winter Garden, both musically accompanied; spooky ghost stories in the Illuminations theatre and bedtime stories in the Grand Lobby, where guests can sit comfortably with a nightcap (cloth or alcoholic!). It is a varied programme which offers something for everyone. 

The whole RADA team of actors would like to express how much we are also enjoying being part of the Cunard Enrichment Programme by offering fun and relaxed workshops to guests in the art of storytelling. The workshops have been very well attended and focus on what it is that makes a great storyteller using vocal and physical exercises taken from the acting course at RADA, whose alumni include Alan Rickman, Ralph Fiennes, Juliet Stevenson and Richard Attenborough. 

We have thoroughly enjoyed working with the guests who have thrown themselves wholeheartedly into the exercises and activities. The end result has been their sharing of great stories, not only of their time on board Queen Mary 2 but also from their very varied lives and experiences. Connections have been forged between individuals travelling alone and groups of people finding common ground; two people even realising, through sharing their stories, that they were from the same town. 

“I would just like to express how much you have made the trip so fantastic for me. The workshops were fun and gave me many ideas to take back to my teaching at University. Thanks once again.” 

(Diane Rushton, Sheffield) 

The below photograph is of RADA’s very first ‘graduating class’ of 2011. Guests who attend the full schedule of workshops all receive a certificate from RADA,  and certainly have a lot of fun achieving it. 

We look forward very much to meeting the guests on the voyages and transatlantic crossings to come. 

Thank you Helen for a great guest blog. Before I sign off, I must also thank one of our readers – Daryl Cooper - for highlighting some discrepancies on how each ship’s webcam displays, we have reviewed and improved the hardware and they now all show the same comprehensive information for each ship.

That is all for today – back soon with an update from Queen Victoria and with a full update on the first ‘Songwriters Crossing’ that took place on Queen Mary 2 recently.

Best Regards


  1. David A. Walker says:

    Peter, Peter, Peter,

    Now you are a little mixed on your geography. Cobh is not on the Irish Sea but the Celtic! And the “TOP” of the Bay of Biscay? You sailed all the way down the East side of it, along the exciting west coast of France.

    Please look at you Captain’s chart.


    David W.

  2. tony mac says:

    we dont care which sea it was ,it was ….. rough out there last night, ihad to fore go the late night dog walk and break opeb the best malt. Can any one explain why the Bay of Biscay is allways so rough.

  3. Bill Bradbury says:

    Like to dip into your Blogs Peter to see what you are up to and I can fully agree that the RADA plays we experienced on the QM2 last year were excellent. Quite a few of us who read reports on “Cruise line” have to defend or correct the more outrageous comments, usually on common themes, tipping, service,food, shows and the regular moan the price of wine. I would appreciate some informed comment from you on these topics and wonder if anyone in Cunard monitors these reviews, many, glad to say, have a wonderful experience with Cunard with 5 star compliments. This tends to leave the Cunard regulars with nothing to say but agree. Saving hard for our next cruise in 2012 on Victoria already booked.

  4. jeanette wakefield says:

    Hi Peter,

    Are you aware that since the update on the web cams they have not updated since Thursday 26th. Like most family members of crew we are avid followers of Cunards through the web cams and enjoy looking at the intresting places the ships visit.

    Kind regards

    J Wakefield

  5. judith sayers says:

    What has happened to the bridge cams, are they all stuck on Thursday, or is it my computer?
    We have enjoyed Rada on Qm2 in the past, hopefully they will still be on board next year for our trips. Like Bill we have had wonderful times on Qm2 and Q Victoria. Unfortunately there are always those who will moan, for the sake of it sometimes, with no appreciation of the hard work that goes on behind the scenes to make it so lovely. If more people paused and thought before moaning, they might enjoy it more. I have only had one meal which I did not find to my taste, out of 7 voyages. I told the maitre D when he came round to check all was o.k., and it was immediately replaced,with an alternative, with profuse apologies. They were so attentive and eager to please and reassure. I complained nicely, that is the secret. (It helped that we are members of the clean plate club!! Our waiter knew that I normally enjoyed everything set before me.)Looking forward to our first trip on the Queen Elizabeth soon.

  6. Gill Hedges says:

    Very much enjoying reading your blog Peter.

    I would just like to add that my partner and I thoroughly enjoyed participating in the RADA workshop and attending the RADA company’s Passion and Piano recital in the Winter Garden on a recent voyage. Indeed, it was one of the highlights of our trip. We very much look forward to experiencing more of their work on future crossings and voyages.

  7. The RADA workshops are the greatest fun. I took my first workshops on QM2 in October 2009 and enjoyed them so much, that on our trip over this year on the April 26 2011 crossing I went to the first one, but had to miss the others firstly because there was a very important wedding to watch and so decided to take them on the way back. On the return trip -May 10 2011 I attended all three workshops. I had the most fun. I think everyone has this secret longing to be an actor and these workshops help you live out your fantasy without anyone mocking you.
    Keep up the good work. Wish you had the RADA group on all ships as I shall miss this on our trip on the Queen Elizabeth in October.
    Beryl Clayson -Hunsville, Ontario Canada

  8. Bill Bradbury says:

    Rada workshops look fun. I guess they are not the “Blackadder” version of “the stance”, feet wide apart, chests thrust out and roar? We must try it next time as my wife has a slight advantage of having played Panto especially “Daisy the local cow” as it appeared in the programme. We usually get involved in the dancing workshops which for one who has two left feet, work marvellously.

  9. Kay Fall says:

    I am also disappointed that the web cameras are not working. I really enjoy each morning and sometimes during the day clicking on to see where each ship is and what the view is like. As with all technology as soon as you try to update it something goes wrong. Looking forward to it being corrected.
    Keep up the good work with the blogs. I cannot wait until my next trip with Cunard which is a double transatlantic on QM2

  10. what has happened to bridgcams on victoria stuck on thursday ?

  11. anthony cavill says:

    We took part in the first RADA workshops or 2011 on the QM2 from NYC to Southampton. Thanks to all the RADA guys and and gals who were excellent tutors throughout.
    Much fun was had whilst learning some of the very basics of this honourable and historic art

    Tony and Tom Cavill

  12. Fred Donaldson says:

    I am booked on an anniversary/birthday TA roundtrip to GB on QM2 on Aug. 22 and returning Aug. 29. RADA will have workshops on both legs, and I am wondering if they will do the same performance on both trips, which would be boring, or do they change from one production to another. Same question about Martin Bell. Will he vary his talks on the trip to and from? And will you have any other speakers, etc., especially on the Aug. 29 trip back to the states?

  13. Lisa (Cunard) says:

    Hello Fred

    The RADA programme will be different for the East and Westbound Transatlantic Crossings. Martin Bell’s talks will be the same, he has recently returned from Sudan, which will be covered and he will also have a Q&A session on each journey. The Juilliard School Jazz Series will also be performing on the 22 August crossing.

    Thank you

    Lisa (Cunard)

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