This year, budding performers from four GDST schools took their shows to the Edinburgh Fringe. Girls from Sydenham High School, Notting Hill and Ealing High School, Croydon High School and Putney High School, hosted shows ranging from a capella to a socio-political comedy. The annual festival is the world’s largest celebration of art and culture. Alongside their performances, many of the girls were interviewed on the radio, including Notting Hill and Ealing High School’s Sophie Mockridge on BBC Scotland and Putney’s Pitch Purple appearing on BBC Radio London.
Putney High School – Pitch Purple
Putney’s a capella group Pitch Purple returned to the Fringe this year with a brand new show of choreography and harmonies. They were the youngest a cappella group at the Fringe and have won the Youth Voice Festival UK three times. Connie Claxon, Head Girl described the Edinburgh Fringe as an “absolute whirlwind of an experience.” The group did five shows and seven busking slots during their five-day run, so “there was never a dull moment!”
Connie said: “Performing at the Fringe has given me confidence, helped me to feel more comfortable on stage and improved my performance skills as we had to be really animated and expressive in our show. I also made some really great friends with girls in different year groups – that’s what I think makes this trip really special.”
Rosie Thorogood, who also took part, said: “The Edinburgh Festival is fantastic, and the overall experience of performing there, even just for five days, was truly unforgettable.”
Maddy Oliver, one of Putney’s performers added, that it was “unlike any other trip I’ve been offered over my time at Putney.” She said: “To be filling my days with getting audiences, performing, watching other acts, and chatting with friends, is the dream really – I wanted it to never end!”
Sydenham High School – And I
Sydenham High School’s group performed a play called “And I”. The show explored the legend of Jack the Ripper, telling the stories of the victims that history forgot. Lexie Webb was one of the girls performing with Sydenham High School and the coordinator of the production. She described it as an “amazing experience.”
“All of the cast would love to thank Sydenham and the GDST for giving us the chance to perform. We had so much fun watching other shows and performing and we even got to meet the cast members of our favourite show ‘Six the Musical’. One of the best things we all took from the experience is the amount of work involved in producing a show from start to finish. It was a lot of hard work but an experience that we all loved.”
Notting Hill and Ealing – Medea
Returning to the fringe after their 2015 sell-out debut, Notting Hill and Ealing High School took their unique adaptation of Medea to the fringe. The classic greek story challenges the assumption of the unconditional bond between mother and child. The girls performed to sellout crowds.
Croydon High School – There’s a Leak
The Croydon High took their comedy production “There’s a Leak” to the Fringe. Their play follows the story of 12 year old Elsa and her cat Igor who spot a small hole in the pavement that is sucking in the air around it. When a little boy gets his finger stuck in it, a chain of events is set in motion as a variety of quirky characters try to help. Meanwhile, the hole gets bigger and bigger with alarming consequences.
Jennifer Cairns was one of the girls who took part from Croydon. She described the play as a “socio-political commentary, hidden behind a seemingly-naïve comedy”. The show features various high profile individuals ignoring the important issue in hand. Jennifer described performing at the Fringe as “the most fun I’ve ever had at a performance” that helped her to become “more confident in doing something I believe in.”
Fellow performer Josie Cunningham described it as a “once in a lifetime opportunity.” Josie said alongside developing her performance skills, the experience helped her to learn valuable life skills, like working in a term and adapting quickly to change and disruption. “You learn so many new things, from time management to commitment – you have to give the show your all for it to be a success.”