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Sunday, September 2, 2012

Storytelling Sunday– my first taste of the Fringe

I relish August in Edinburgh because of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival which sees the city filled with thousands of performers for three weeks of live entertainment buzz.  While waiting to see a show I was thinking back to my earliest experience of the Fringe and thought it would be a good story for Sian's Storytelling Sunday where we are all invited to share a story each month.

Come with me back to 1982.  I had finished my second year at University of Edinburgh but this story involves my old school.  During my secondary school years I’d enjoyed being involved in creating the costumes for the annual musical production and had continued to be involved when I left for University.  In 1982 we staged a little known musical called The Apple Tree which comprised three linked stories and so allowed for the 3 female singing stars to all shine.  I even have some photos of the production

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For reasons now lost in the mists of time, the teachers decided that we would take the production to the Fringe. Thinking back is was quite an undertaking to take so many pupils to Edinburgh.  We staged the musical in a school and had good audiences for the week of our run.  The actors also did some singing stints to the crowds on the Royal Mile as part of the normal display to attract audiences.

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So my first experience of the Fringe was as backstage crew to a production – my handwritten note on the back tells me my assistants were Angela, Linda and Dawn. 

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The production went smoothly and I don’t recall any mishaps.

The real excitement came a few weeks later when we learnt that we had won a Fringe First Award.  To be eligible the production has to be the UK premier and although the musical had been written and debuted on Broadway in the 1960s it had never before been produced in the UK.  I was part of the group that went to receive our reward – and very proud and thrilled we all were.  This photo is not great quality but it does show us all celebrating afterwards with the award (and bubbles and cake). I’m on the far left.  Our musical director (and music teacher) Jimmy Reith is on the far right and the woman 2 in from him is the producer (and my English teacher) Celia Strachan. 

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Good times and a fabulous introduction to all the energy of the Fringe Festival.

18 comments:

heart.hearth.home. said...

Such an interesting story and I love that you have all the photographs of that time. How exciting to be so involved in the Fringe Festival. Lovely memories.

Amy said...

What a great experience for you all - I'd love to go to an Edinburgh Fringe festival one day.

Fiona@staring at the sea said...

What exciting times and wonderful memories.

scrappyjacky said...

Sounds like a wonderful experience.

Elizabeth said...

You and your group must have been very happy to receive that award. I love the photos because they really bring the story to life.

Alison said...

What a great experience that must have been Helena!
Alison xx

Jennie Hart said...

Great photos to have and such lovely memories well captured for us. Thank you.

Sian said...

Oh, wow! This is a terrific story ..you have rendered it so perfectly I can see it before me in glorious 1980's technicolour. It must have been so exciting. You are bringing back memories of my school play stage management days - not that we had any glory moments like this. But happy times they were. Thanks Helena, I love this.

Missus Wookie said...

Oh how exciting to have the story AND photos! Thank you for sharing :)

Mel said...

Love the 80's fashion and hairstyles - would make a great scrapbook page!

Cheri said...

Sounds like a lot of fun!

Sandie said...

What a wonderful experience! It is lovely to see your school photos. Happy days :)

Lizzie said...

What a fabulous adventure! I bet everyone remembers it, even the teachers. Great that you have kept some photos - and that you shared your story with us.
Very exciting! I wonder if the School still keeps the award on show?

Melissa said...

What a great story - sounds like it was quite an experience.

ComfyMom~Stacey said...

Sounds like such an interesting experience for you all. It must have been a lot of fun!

Ginger said...

I love the photos you shared with your story here, they show how much fun it surely was to be part of this excitement! Edmonton has a Fringe Festival and it boasts to be the oldest and biggest in North America. I've not been to another so wouldn't even know if that is true. I think Edinburgh Fringe Festival would be quite something to see :)

Maria Ontiveros said...

What a fantastic story for today (sorry I'm getting around to it so late!). How cool to be the first production in the UK! No wonder you still enjoy returning to the Fringe.
rinda

Jennifer Grace said...

How brilliant, it must have been so exciting. I've always wanted to go to the Edinburgh fringe festival, I shouldn't think I'll be going now until the kiddies are grown up! It's so fabulous that you had such a wonderful introduction to it! x