NACOGDOCHES, Texas – The Stephen F. Austin State University School of Theatre is once again preparing to perform at the prestigious International Collegiate Theatre Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland.
For the third time, SFA theatre students will tour a play that will be seen at the largest performing arts festival in the world during a two-week trip to Edinburgh in August. This year, SFA dance students will be among those performing.
This year’s play is “Tales of Neverland,” a stage adaptation written by School of Theatre professor Angela Bacarisse based on the book “Peter Pan,” J.M. Barrie’s most famous work. The tale of the boy who wouldn’t grow up remains one of the most beloved children’s stories ever written and features the famous characters of Peter Pan, Tinker Bell, Wendy Darling, Captain Hook and more.
Although Bacarisse is a seasoned director and costume designer, this was her first attempt at writing a play. “Feedback has been good so far,” she said.
The play’s choreography is by Heather Samuelson and fights and lifts (to represent flying) will be staged by Haley Jameson. Samuelson and Jameson are dance program directors in the SFA Department of Kinesiology and Heath Science.
Since 2015, the School of Theatre has made a biennial journey to Scotland to perform at the festival. Begun in 1947, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, one of several festivals that will take place in Edinburgh while the SFA students are there, has become the largest international theatre arts festival in the world. During festival season, which is three weeks in August, the International Festival, the Festival Fringe, jazz festival, art festival and book festival all take place in Edinburgh, bringing the city alive with all forms of art, Bacarisse said.
“I want our students to be exposed to the many different performance styles that are prevalent in Europe and other parts of the world,” Bacarisse said. “In the past two trips, the students have been just over the moon about the work they have experienced as audience members and by the feedback they have received on their work.”
In addition to acting in the show, SFA students will house manage, run the light and soundboards and stage manage for their performances. Students will get experience touring a show at an international festival and learn organizational skills while being exposed to art, music, theatre and dance from around the world, Bacarisse said.
“The students will be acting and performing technical roles for the production,” Bacarisse said. “Many other universities as well as American high schools will see the show. We always hope for a good local audience also. This will show the world how well our students are trained.”
The School of Theatre is looking for people who may want to help sponsor students and pay for trip expenses or participate in the trip.
“We’re hoping to raise money to help defray the costs for students,” Bacarisse said.
The cost is approximately $4,500 per student for airfare and two weeks in Scotland. The School of Theatre usually raises about 30 percent of the cost through fundraisers, and the goal is to exceed that this year, Bacarisse said.
A $25 donation can pay for five daily student bus passes; a $35 donation pays for one student to take a musical workshop; a $50 donation pays for about seven breakfasts; a $100 donation pays for rental of standard scenic pieces; a $500 donation pays for tickets for 10 students to attend the Royal Military Tattoo; and a $1,000 donation pays for housing for one student.
“This trip has been described by past students as ‘life changing,’ and I understand that sentiment,” Bacarrise said. “Every minute is valuable.”
For information on supporting the students, contact Bacarisse at firstname.lastname@example.org or (936) 468-1126. Tax-exempt donations can be made at sfasu.edu/giving by clicking on the “give online” tab and writing “Scotland trip” for special instructions.