Bede's Dramatists Take 'The Laramie Project' to Edinburgh Festival Fringe
On 21-25 August, a group of our talented Sixth Form dramatists took The Laramie Project to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, before presenting the production to parents and pupils at the start of term. Meghan Longden, Upper Sixth, writes about the play and what it was like to perform at the largest arts festival in the world.
The Laramie Project is based on the true events involving the killing of Matthew Shepard in 1998. The play was written by the Tectonic Theater Project from New York, who had seen what had happened through the media and went to Laramie, Wyoming, to conduct interviews with people of the town. Through dramatising these interviews, the audience learns what happened to Matthew whilst getting a sense of all the different opinions that surrounded the hate crime.
Performing at the Fringe was a really beneficial and exciting experience for all of us. From
rushing around Edinburgh and promoting our show to watching other productions, we felt we were really immersed in the Fringe culture. We watched a variety performances, ranging from Showstopper: An Improvised Musical to Flight, an immersive sound experience which took place in a shipping container dressed like an airplane. Trump the Musical was completely unexpected whilst The National Theatre of China’s: Life on the Silk Road was breathtaking.
Performing to the audiences in Edinburgh was daunting at first, as there were hundreds of shows that they could have chosen to see but they chose ours. However, as performances went on we gained confidence and really began to believe that we deserved to be there. Our three-minute set up and strike time also became a lot more slick as the days progressed, relieving some of the pressure we felt during the first couple of days. The audiences in Edinburgh were very supportive of our play, with some coming up to us outside of our venue congratulating us on the performance.
One of the main highlights of the trip for me was promoting our show. We performed on the Royal Mile three times during our trip. On the first day, our performance consisted of us singing the same three songs over and over again for 20 minutes. However, during the following days, we improved this by making our performance more eye-catching, motivating a crowd to form around us. When not on the stage, we would promote our show by handing out flyers. By the last day we had really perfected the art of harassing people into taking one by creating a tunnel in which there was no escape from the 12 hands waving flyers in their path.
The trip gave me an insight into what life could be like as a working actor, and really inspired me to pursue the performing arts for fun as well as at Drama College in the future. I definitely will never forget my first time at the Fringe, and I sincerely hope that it won’t be my last.