By Kaila Schwartz
MHS Theatre Director
A wonderful, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity awaits Milpitas High School Theatre students, with a long-awaited performance at the American High School Theatre Festival (AHSTF) in Edinburgh, Scotland.
And I, Theatre Director Kaila Schwartz, would like to make sure any MHS thespians who are interested will be able to experience this world renowned festival in all its glory.
First a little background: In the early spring of 2020, for the second time, our MHS Theatre students were selected by a board of governors – after an intensive application process – to perform as part of the Festival Fringe in Scotland. Unfortunately, due to COVID concerns, our trip was postponed.
But now, it’s time to start gearing up for summer 2023, when we will once again create an original play and take it to the festival! Who’s with me?
I was in Edinburgh this summer right at the beginning of this year’s festival for a meeting of theatre directors who will be bringing students to perform next year, and it is just as awesome as ever!
What is the Festival Fringe?
75 years ago, as an artistic response to the destructive impact of WWII, the Edinburgh International Festival was created as a means to bring the world together through music, theatre, opera, and dance. A group of Scottish locals wanted to perform at this festival, but they weren’t admitted, so they began their own festival… one that would celebrate the performing arts on the fringes of the International Festival. No adjudication required. Hence, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe was born. “Since the dawn of this spontaneous artistic movement, millions have flocked to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe to produce, and to enjoy art of every genre.”
The AHSTF was created 27 years ago as a way for performing arts students and directors to showcase their skills on an international stage. Over the years, the AHSTF has become an integral part of the greater Fringe community.
Experiencing Edinburgh during the Festival!
Street performers up and down the Royal Mile (and its environs), and theatre companies from around the world, perform everywhere – university lecture halls, alleyways, storefronts, and converted church basements or kitchens.
Productions run the gamut: stand-up comedians testing new material, experimental theatre, puppetry, physical theatre, children’s theatre, traditional plays/musicals, and brand new productions. At any given hour of the day, there are 3,000 shows to see. Four years ago, I was lucky enough to see SIX at the Fringe. This summer, I saw a completely sold out brand new musical that I’m sure will be making its rounds called “Kathy and Stella Solve a Murder,” as well as Ian McKellen in a ballet theatre production of “Hamlet.”
This is not your typical European sightseeing trip. Yes, there is sightseeing (first in London and then around Edinburgh including a one-day excursion to Stirling Castle and Loch Lomond), but this two-week long performance trip also includes workshops with theatre professionals, a college planning opportunity, and cultural experiences along with four scheduled performances on an international stage.
Technical skills are honed by working side-by-side with professional theatre technicians, and confidence grows by leaps and bounds through fundraising, marketing, writing, and performing. The students involved leave home as teens but they return as young adult international performing artists.
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING:
The governing board of Milpitas Unified School District will hold a Public Hearing on Tuesday, June 28, 2022.