A group from the Carolina Forest High School Drama Department never could have rehearsed their thrill from a trip to Scotland that began Tuesday.
The department, led by G. Wayne Canady, department director, will perform “Always ... Patsy Cline” four times this week as part of the American High School Theatre Festival during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the largest fine arts festival in the world, which began Friday and goes through Aug. 25.
The tribute to the colossal country songstress, who perished at age 30 in a plane crash in 1963, will take place Tuesday through Wednesday and Friday through Saturday at a theater in a historic church building.
Students performed “Ragtime” and reprised a fall show, “Always ... Patsy Cline,” this past spring in Carolina Forest to raise funds to offset the cost of the excursion to the Scottish capital, on the northern third of the main British island, a culture that gave the world the game of golf and Sean Connery, the first actor to play James Bond.
Canady, a Tabor City, N.C., native who has performed in eight countries, is into his fourth decade as a schoolteacher and 16th year at Carolina Forest. He again will direct the Cline play. He spoke at the end of June, a week before the group flew overseas.
Once we get there, we’ll perform at the the Church Hill Theatre, which was built in the late 1800s. Then, in later years, ... it became a city-owned theater for Edinburgh. Now it is one of the top 10 venues for theater in Edinburgh. ...
We’re very excited. You put in bids for the theater you would like to perform at.
I went there last summer to see what show process are like, what would be expected of us and what is involved in doing the entire process. ...
Last year, 273 venues were set up across the city. It’s a three-week festival. ... Last year, there were 2,871 shows that were featured out of those ... and 45,464 performances. The ticket sales were 1,943,493 for all of those 273 venues.
When we’re outside, there are lots of people doing the same for their own shows, and while this is going on, the chaperones are talking with guests to get them interested to “come and see our show” — it’s called busking, an old English saying. There’s a sign on one of the trees in “Mary Poppins” that says “No busking.” ... Basically, we’re handing out cards and information about our show. So, we’ll be doing busking, then we’ll do a rehearsal in the Church Hill Theatre. ...
People start buying their tickets for Fringe shows months in advance. I already have been told about our ticket sales. I had this little feeling in my gut, “Oh, my goodness. What would happen if we get there and no one shows up?” So I checked in advance ... and the festival representative said, “Wayne, you have people lined up for all of your shows.”
One of the schools that’s going to the Fringe is the Interlochen Arts Academy from Michigan. Interlochen is considered to be the No. 1 performing arts boarding school in the nation. For us to be chosen in the same ranks as Interlochen is very exciting.
Also, ... I have a former student, Jasmine Johnson, who attends The Juilliard School; she was with us when we did “Cats” in spring 2009. She continued her studies in theater. ... She is one of the students who is doing a joint performance with the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London.