During the summer, the current A Level Drama and Theatre Studies group set off for Edinburgh to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, which celebrated its 70th year. After a thirteen hour journey (bypassing around Newcastle due to the M6 being closed), we just made it in time to collect the keys to our accommodation. We stayed in the University, perfectly located next to The Pleasance – a superb, buzzing area of the festival, which stages most of the larger shows and comedy.
The Space on the Mile, Venue 39, offered us a fantastic set up, with 53 seats, right in the heart of the city. We were given a two hour slot to tech, and were glad of the support of “Andrew Whiting Lighting” in this venture. From this point, we were given our Space passes – free access to all the shows performed within the company’s venues, and about a square foot of space to tightly store our set and props. Given these all came up in the minibus, we had to be creative and keep these to a minimum!
The piece, ‘Cradle to Coffin’ took shape. We had some good audiences and the feedback was very positive. One blogger wrote: “Warminster Drama group present a humorous look at how different our lives can be with just one swipe in devised piece ‘Cradle to Coffin’. In our ‘live-in-the-moment’ age, these budding thespians ask the audience whether grabbing every opportunity is worth it when the consequences include drifting from the people you most love… At times the piece bursts with vibrant humour, a particularly raucous wedding scene fuses slapstick and jibes to create a scene no wedding guest could ever forget!… The ensemble use puppetry excellently, a poignant closing scene with the now aged protagonist echoes a sense of reflection and brings up questions around how this group perceive the world to be when they too reach the final parts of their lives.”
Selling our show was the real challenge, and with so many performing, you have to have something that grabs attention. We were lucky to have our puppets to take to the streets. Some people enjoyed them, others were rather shocked! Watching the reaction of people from afar, was both amusing and poignant. Our old man puppet creates a very moving scene with Ben at the end. Perhaps our audiences were not expecting this, and one performance really touched the older generation who came to see it.
As well as performing, we got to see a huge range of performance, including ‘The Noise Next Door’ comedy group, ‘Grimprov’, children’s theatre, dance – with the acclaimed ‘Tutu’ being a highlight and another Shanghai group’s performance, inspired by Gecko called ‘The Dreamer’. It is easy to become quickly immersed in the Fringe and, it was a super experience for pupils and staff. My thanks to Cat Simons, Austin Hill and Andrew Whiting for accompanying us.
Emily Harris, Head of Drama
Please come and see Year 13 final examination performance of ‘Cradle to Coffin’ in the Thomas Arnold Hall on Monday 25th September at 5.15pm. Entrance £2.