by Noreen Young

Six talented students from Almonte and District High School are heading off to Edinburgh, Scotland, this August to perform at the famous Edinburgh Fringe Festival. They leave on August 9 and will return on August 22.

Andrew Paul, Annie Gray, Jenny Sheffield, Sarah Paul, Gillian Bentley, Josh Thompson.  Seated is Molly Gray.  Missing is teacher Paula Jones.
Andrew Paul, Annie Gray, Jenny Sheffield, Sarah Paul, Gillian Bentley, Josh Thompson. Seated is Molly Gray. Missing is teacher Paula Jones.

The kids going are:
Molly Gray (gr. 8)
Josh Thompson (gr. 9)
Sarah Paul (gr. 9)
Gillian Bentley (gr.10)
Andrew Paul (gr. 11)
Annie Gray (gr. 12)

They’ll be accompanied by their teachers, Jenny Sheffield and Paula Jones.

Jenny Sheffield, the “leader of the pack”, is a science teacher at ADHS whose passion for theatre arts has taken the school’s Drama Club into many extra-curricular drama and musical productions. How did she orchestrate this recent project with the Edinburgh Fringe Festival?

“In the fall of 2012,” says Jenny, ”I received a letter telling me that the ADHS Drama Club was nominated to apply for the American High School Theatre Festival by someone at the Great Canadian Theatre Company.  [A school has to be nominated to apply.]  The AHSTF organizes the North American high schools at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  I applied last January and in early May got a phone call with congratulations that we had been accepted.  Only 6 schools in Canada were accepted this year and approximately 35 schools from the USA.  I think there were over 1,000 schools that applied.”

The show that is going to Scotland is the kids’ own version of “Peter Pan”. They’ve decided to present it by using tabletop puppets. Art teacher Bill Treusch will be enlisting the help of his students to build the puppets and props, and the folks at Puppets Up! International Puppet Festival will be supplying their expertise in puppetry along the way. No doubt some parents will become involved as well.

As you can imagine, this is a very expensive adventure and right now the kids are fundraising to get the $50,000 it will cost to take their show to Scotland. If you’d like to help out, you can call ADHS at 256-1470 and/or send them a cheque. Please specify that it’s “for the Fringe project”.

We’ll be following this story as the students move into creating the puppets and start rehearsing so stay tuned.