Drama program selected to perform at the 2024 summer Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland

February 13, 2023 — by Anika Kapasi
Photo by Kevin Yang
The school’s drama program is one of 30 high schools across the country who have been selected to take part in the international theatrical festival.

In January, drama teacher Benjamin Brotzman got news he had been hoping to receive: an acceptance email letting him know the program had been accepted into the Festival Fringe for 2024. Held in Edinburgh, Scotland, Fringe is one of the most respected theatrical festivals in the world, with events ranging from high school student-run plays to professional theater company performances.

“It was always a dream that one day I would be able to just go and watch shows at the festival, but being invited to perform was such an amazing opportunity,” Brotzman said. “Theater groups from all over the country and the world participate in the festival so it’s really exciting that we’re able to be part of it.”

The school was accepted by the The American High School Theatre Festival, which runs in conjunction with the Fringe Festival, and will be traveling under WorldStrides, an educational travel abroad company, for the duration of the trip.

The drama program was nominated for the festival by an unknown educator in the theatrical world, and received the application in an email to apply to the internationally renowned festival by Dec. 22 before being finally accepted in January.

“For about two weeks, I worked on almost nothing but the festival application, showcasing our department, our past productions, the type of shows we do and how I, as an educator, try to instill growth and togetherness [in the program],” Brotzman said.

Next year’s drama students will have the chance to attend the two-week festival for two weeks, flying to London on July 27, 2024, and then heading north to Edinburgh, Scotland, to take part in the festival before returning home on Aug. 9.

The group will sightsee and take tours all over London, visiting sites including Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Globe Theatre, as well as attend a West End theater performance. 

On day four of the trip, the group will travel to Edinburgh, tour Edinburgh Castle and walk along the streets of the Royal Mile, the heart of the old town. They will have an excursion to the medieval town of Stirling and attend Fringes’ college fair with representatives from both U.S. and U.K. performing arts institutions. 

Drama students will hold a tech rehearsal of their show at one of the festival’s 332 venues to make sure the costumes, lighting and sound are all in order for their performances the following days. They will have four different performances spread over the second week, participating in the festival’s more than 4,000 shows.

“Being able to perform on an international stage and see theater from all over the world is something that just nobody gets to do,” Brotzman said. “Seeing what people do in smaller venues, rather than broadway or flashing musicals, students will get a grand scale of what theater can be from this trip.”

Brotzman said he has not yet decided what show the program will perform during the festival, as the choice is dependent on the number of actors and technicians that are interested in traveling. He expects around 50 students to take part in the trip.

Current seniors are ineligible to travel with the group, but the Class of ‘24 is encouraged to participate post-graduation. Junior Ashly Henry, who plans to take part in the trip, said she is most excited to be able to perform with her drama family one last time before she heads off to college.

Hoping to minor or potentially double major in acting, Henry believes going to the festival will give her a new perspective on what theater is all about and make her a stronger actress through the performing experience she will gain.

“I love that they make everything a venue,” Henry said. “It could be a literal coffee shop, on the streets or in a huge theater [where actors perform their shows and talents]. Being able to perform our show and show it to all the [attendees] is just an amazing opportunity.”

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