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Western Theatre students will perform in Scotland's Fringe Arts Festival

'The American Family' is a collaborative project

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Students from Western and Bucknell are collaborating on a play exploring “The American Family” to perform at the Fringe Festival in Scotland this summer. | Photo by Mark Hutchinson

A small group of Western Theatre students and alumni are collaborating on a play they’ll take to Edinburgh, Scotland, this summer to perform at the Fringe, the world’s largest arts festival.

And, in keeping with the Fringe’s innovative, experimental spirit, the students will continue collaborating, experimenting and developing until the curtain rises.

The eight WWU students and alumni, and Associate Theatre Arts Professor Rich Brown, are joining a group from Bucknell University to create the play, currently titled The American Family.” Last summer, the WWU group traveled to Bucknell in Pennsylvania to learn about theatrical collaboration from Andy Paris, founding member of the Tectonic Theater Project, whose “The Laramie Project” went on to be one of the most-performed plays in the U.S.

The group created about half of the hour-long show at Bucknell. Since then the two groups have been developing more material on their own, sharing their work via Skype and YouTube. They’ll reunite in Edinburgh in summer 2011 to complete the play in time to stage eight performances during the Fringe.

Devising new work from scratch is a lesson in the entrepreneurial side of theatre, Brown says.

“I emphasize to students they need to learn how to make their own work,” he says, “instead of being beholden to a director to cast them or hire them as a designer.”