World premieres at Edinburgh Festival Fringe from fresh new voices in transatlantic musical theatre partnership

World premieres at Edinburgh Festival Fringe from fresh new voices in transatlantic musical theatre partnership

Published: 15/07/2019

Two new musicals across two uncertain worlds

Brand new musical theatre from some of the most exciting creative voices in Scotland and America at the world’s largest arts festival. It can only mean one thing … the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and the American Music Theatre Project (AMTP) at Northwestern University return to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Two world premieres will be unveiled in August in the third year of the transatlantic partnership which brings original musical theatre to an international audience devised and performed by some of the brightest new talent in the UK and US.

The collaboration, established in 2017, gives students from Scotland’s national conservatoire and Illinois’ Northwestern University an exclusive opportunity to be at the centre of one of the world’s most famous festivals. They will perform in two one-hour productions at the Gilded Balloon’s Patter Hoose from August 1 to 24.

  • Limbo: City of Dreams. A modern myth for our times, with soaring pop-folk songs. The gift of imagination has been extinct in the Great Stone City for a thousand years. When Imogen discovers a secret community keeping the gift alive, she takes it upon herself to restore imagination to her own people, but her actions come at a cost. From the Off West End Theatre Award-nominated team of Finn Anderson and Tania Azevedo.
  • Limbo: The Twelve. After a lifetime of battling addiction, Tess Butler is dead. Well, almost. Now, her fate lies with a jury of twelve people from her past. During her life Tess lied and broke her promises, but she was also courageous, compassionate and kind. The twelve fight, plead and argue with each other until only one question remains: how many chances do we get? From the critically acclaimed American writing team of Casey Kendall and Jonathan Bauerfeld.

Each year, students from the Royal Conservatoire’s Masters Musical Theatre programme perform three works as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. As well as the two Limbo premieres, they will present a main stage show, Legally Blonde the Musical, at the Music Hall at the Assembly Rooms.

Jane Hensey, Head of the MA Musical Theatre programme at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, said: “This special partnership between the Royal Conservatoire and the American Music Theatre Project at Northwestern University brings brand new musical theatre to an international audience in Edinburgh. Limbo: City of Dreams and Limbo: The Twelve are exciting, engaging and thought-provoking works that showcase the exceptional talents of both sets of students.”

AMTP was founded in 2005 to unite America’s leading artists in music theatre with Northwestern’s faculty, staff and students, bridging the professional and educational worlds to help create new musicals.

Brannon Bowers, Producing Director of the American Music Theatre Project at Northwestern University, said: “The partnership is an exciting opportunity for both sets of students to be a part of developing new work. The collaboration between the students, and the US and UK writing teams, is a rich and beneficial learning experience; we’re looking forward to seeing what year three brings.”

Theatre maker Tania Azevedo, director of Limbo: City of Dreams, said: “I’m so excited to be joining this project for a second year. The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and AMTP partnership is nothing short of visionary, as it allows writers to create a project from scratch that is fully supported through all stages, from research and development to production. From a training point of view, it’s an invaluable experience for actors to have their voices heard in a collaborative rehearsal room and learn a completely new skill set when workshopping new material.”

Ryan Cunningham, Associate Artistic Director of AMTP and director of Limbo: The Twelve, said both productions are about living in a state of flux: “It seems we are, as a global community, in this state of in-between and it’s making everybody very anxious on all sides of the political spectrum. Both of our stories explore how you find your way out of something that seems difficult or unsettling. Our story focuses on the opioid crisis in America, which sounds like it’s going to be a downer of a musical but I promise, it’s not! It’s funny, it’s human, it’s emotional and while it’s rooted in America, it has universal points to make about what it is to be human.”

Finn Anderson, writer and composer of Limbo: City of Dreams, said: “Our piece is about a fictional city in which imagination has become extinct over time, and how it gets restored. It’s mystical, magical and fantastical in its storytelling style but also very much rooted in modern day in terms of the language the characters use and the musical influences we’re exploring within it, including choral harmony and even beatboxing.”

Jonathan Bauerfeld, composer of Limbo: The Twelve, added: “City of Dreams and The Twelve are ensemble stories so everybody gets some time to shine. In each show, audiences will hear a cast of 15 singing big arrangements with a band backing them up. To have all those people sing at moments of cathartic release is going to be an awesome, immersive and moving experience.”

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s dedicated Fringe website is a hub for all things Fringe-related with information on performances ”” including alumni ”” events, reviews, media galleries and ticket details.

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