A group of talented and fortunate West Hartford students will have an encore appearance at the renowned Edinburgh Fringe Festival this summer thanks to the selection of Hall High Theatre as one of the representives of the United States.
The group was one of only 40 selected out of approximately 2,500 schools considered by the Festival's Board of Advisors. Hall High Theatre was also invited to perform as part of Edinburgh's American High School Theatre Festival in 2010, where they 31-member troupe performed "Arabian Nights" by Mary Zimmerman.
"It's a tremendous honor," program director Sean Harris told the West Hartford Board of Education last week. A group of theater students attended the meeting and showed off their talents performing a scene from William Shakespeare's "As You Like It."
Harris is a professional actor and artistic director at West Hartford's Playhouse on Park, and also teaches and runs Hall's program as one of only three full-time public high school theater teachers in the Connecticut. Hall's theater program includes courses in acting, performance studies, stagecraft, and technical theater.
The theater program has been praised by students who credit it with developing creativity, writing ability, organizing and technical skills, interest in literature, and confidence.
It has also been praised by parents. Harris said that one Hall parent commented, "Without the Theatre Program at Hall, my son would be totally disenfranchised with school. This is where he can feel success and good about himself as an individual."
This summer, a total of 21 Hall students will travel to Europe to participate in the Fringe Festival, which takes place from July 29 through Aug. 12, 2013. They will be performing an original play written by Hall graduate Matthew Macca, who performed in "Arabian Nights" in 2010 and is now a student at Boston University.
As part of the experience, the theater students will also visit London and take a class with actors at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. "Our students will be immersed in theatre, the arts, and cultures from all over the world as they spend two weeks in Europe – two days in London and 10 in Edinburgh," Harris said.
The experience will be shared with others in the Hall community and throughout West Hartford and the region according to a news release issued by the theater department.
A fundraising campaign began Monday to help offset the cost of the trip, which runs nearly $6,000 per student. An online auction will run through Dec. 7, and can be accessed at www.biddingforgood.com/hallhightheater.
There are a total of 86 auction items, including: tickets to see "Mary Poppins" on Broadway with a backstage tour, lunch in New York with a theatre expert, tickets to see the Dropkick Murphy’s with VIP Passes, Red Sox tickets, personal training sessions, gift certificates to restaurants, a day with a computer animation expert, and a entrepreneurship coaching session with the former President of Bose.
Winners of the auction items, which have been donated in support of this effort, will be notified on Dec. 8.