While Davis High School students settle in to the new school year, DHS thespians have their eyes set on next summer already, when they will travel to Edinburgh, Scotland, to participate in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
After an anonymous nomination by a Davis community member and a lengthy application process, the DHS drama department was accepted for the Scottish arts festival last May by the American High School Theater Festival.
“This is the most thrilling, important and educational opportunity for our students that I’ve ever heard of,” DHS drama director Gwyn Bruch said. “And I want the whole community of Davis to be excited for us.”
Twenty-four drama students who will travel with Bruch to the “largest arts festival in the world” will perform Molière’s “Tartuffe” four times in the city, visit local tourist attractions, watch other companies’ productions and witness acting on an international level, according to student event coordinator Christine Alexander.
Through funding provided by the American High School Theater Festival, Bruch and 35 other high school directors were able to visit a part of the 2011 Edinburgh Festival, Aug. 6-13, to preview what DHS drama students will be experiencing in 2012.
Students can look forward to visiting Edinburgh Castle and Sterling Castle, viewing traditional Scottish performances and meeting diverse, friendly people, according to Bruch.
“The people of AHSTF are amazing. They took great care of us and their values are right where I need them to be,” Bruch said. “So theatrically speaking, educationally speaking and safety speaking, for our students these are really good people who have their head in the right place.”
In order to pay for the expenses of travel, lodging, food, student security, rehearsal and venue space and watching festival productions, the department needs to raise more than $100,000 in the next 10 months. Alexander, along with parent volunteers and the student drama board, plan to kick off a school year full of community fundraising to reach their goal.
Bruch stresses that out of the 36 high schools that will be performing in Edinburgh in 2012, DHS is the only school that will not be casting its actors based on students’ ability to pay for the Scotland trip.
“This is for all students, and I will cast the play as I do others,” Bruch said. “Every student that is cast (auditions will be Sept. 7-9) is making the enormous commitment to help with fundraising; we’re all in this together for the next 10 months.”
For its first fundraiser, the department presents “A Fairytale Frenzy, A Children’s Carnival,” from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 25, in Central Park, Fourth and C streets in downtown Davis. The entire park will be converted into a fairytale land while DHS drama students dress as royalty, knights, witches and dragons.
With the advance purchase of a $12 wristband, children can participate in activities such as hair braiding, a scavenger hunt, face painting, races, arts and crafts and photos with the characters. Children also can request performances by DHS’ improvisation acting group Fairie Tales on Request. Food and music will also be available.
Wristbands will be sold at every Farmers Market through Sept. 24, or contact Alexander at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tickets at the door will cost $15.
For an additional $3, children can buy a Quest Card, which allows them to take part in a scavenger hunt and win prizes. Quest Cards will be available with presale tickets or at the entrance.
Future events by the department will include a winter gala where drama students will host a night of edgy comedy at a local restaurant and a beer tasting event for adults in the spring.
Drama students also will be fundraising at Davis’ Saturday morning Farmers Markets, and through the sale of their Scotland merchandise, which includes T-shirts and stuffed animal Scottie dogs. All merchandise can be bought at the department’s community events.
“Already, we’re overwhelmed by the generosity that we’ve encountered and I’m hoping the community will scoop us up in its hands and help us get (to Scotland),” Bruch said.