Dramahawks participate in annual Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Lauren Miller, Co-Editor-in-Chief

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This past summer, the Hayfield Dramahawks took their much anticipated trip to Edinburgh, Scotland, to perform in the seventieth annual Fringe Festival: the largest arts festival in the world, which housed over 50,000 performances from nearly 3,500 shows in roughly 300 venues over a three week period in Scotland’s bustling capital.

“It was a tremendous opportunity to take 24 performers and technicians overseas to perform on an international stage in front of audiences from all over the world,” theatre teacher Patrick Mitchell said. “Countless hours of preparation and planning went into successfully executing the tour, and once there, gallons of coffee were consumed to ensure our success.”

While working on their county-wide summer production “Footloose,” the Dramahawks were simultaneously prepping their selected Fringe show, “The Addams Family,” to be performed as a limited engagement show at Hayfield.

“Everyone was rightly casted and it was [fun] to take on a leadership role and work through it. A lot of people kept the show going with all tech and costumes, and I feel the whole cast grew as people to [fit the] professional atmosphere,” sophomore Brynn Spradlin said.

The focus of the 2016-17 theatre season was to raise money for the Fringe Festival, and with the great success of the department’s previous shows, they were more than ready to depart on Aug. 8, 2017 for their two-week adventure.

“We spent the first two days of the trip exploring the city of London and learning about its rich theatrical culture, then travelled to Edinburgh, Scotland, where we would spend the next 11 days,” sophomore Shelby Hasson said. “My favorite part of visiting both London and Edinburgh, though they were very different, was being in a place fueled by the arts.”

The Dramahawks performed a total of four times for sold out crowds at their venue at the festival.
“The shows went really well. The average Fringe audience has around six members while ‘The Addams Family’ sold out every show, which was about 125 tickets,” senior Shannon Flack said. “Our reviews were amazing [and] one person even said we were the best musical at the Fringe.”

For the remainder of the two-week trip, following performances, the group had time to explore and enjoy all of what the Fringe had to offer.

“After our shows were over, we explored Scotland and saw a variety of shows, my favorite being a college production of “Edges,” and we even got to play a game of kickball with members of the Scottish police,” junior Logan McLaren said.

For many, the opportunity to participate in one of the world’s largest, established arts festivals was truly enlightening to the massive scale of what theatre has to offer.

“We saw every kind of show a theatre dork could dream of, ranging from musicals and improv to one-man black box shows and original plays,” Hasson said. “My favorite part of seeing such a variety shows was realizing the range of emotions theatre could make me feel. The Fringe taught me there is way more to theatre than what I thought going in.”

Following their return to the states, the Dramahawks jumped right back into their packed 2017-18 season with auditions for “Rent” during the first week of school and preparing for an “Addams Family” reunion performance the night before Halloween.

“The whole Fringe treated us like we were superstars, and I am very excited for the upcoming shows,” Spradlin said. “Because of Scotland I feel ten times more confident in my abilities in all aspects of theatre and couldn’t be happier to be a part of the department this year.”

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Dramahawks participate in annual Edinburgh Fringe Festival