Royal Conservatoire of Scotland takes top trio of musical theatre to Edinburgh Festival Fringe
As days at the Fringe go, they don’t get off to a more fun, fabulous and feel-good start than with a high-energy and heart-warming musical based on a much-loved Hollywood film, closely followed by two world premieres from some of the most exciting creative voices in Scotland and America.
This August, students from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s Masters Musical Theatre programme return to the capital for a fifteenth Edinburgh Festival Fringe run with a trio of musical theatre productions.
Legally Blonde the Musical, the smart and sassy story of self-discovery, is staged at the Music Hall at the Assembly Rooms from August 2. Two brand new works will also receive their world premieres. Limbo: City of Dreams and Limbo: The Twelve are created in partnership with the American Music Theatre Project at Northwestern University, Illinois.
It is 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. Students from Scotland’s national conservatoire and Northwestern will perform at the Gilded Balloon’s Patter Hoose from August 1 to 24.
Jane Hensey, Head of the MA Musical Theatre programme at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, said: “We are now in the fifteenth year of our Edinburgh Festival Fringe season, which is a unique element of the MA Musical Theatre programme. Students come from all over the globe to study on the course, which offers an exclusive opportunity to be at the centre the world’s largest arts festival, where they are immersed in a diverse programme of work.
“We have a compelling trio of productions at the Fringe this year, including two world premieres in partnership with the American Music Theatre Project at Northwestern University. It’s the third year of this special collaboration which brings original new musical theatre to an international audience in Edinburgh.”
“These pieces have been written for the RCS and Northwestern students, allowing their individual qualities to directly inform character development through the process. Limbo: City of Dreams and Limbo: The Twelve are exciting, engaging and thought-provoking pieces 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 (AMTP) at Northwestern University, said: “The partnership between the Royal Conservatoire and AMTP is an exciting opportunity for both sets of students to be a part of developing new work, where they can dive into and perform two wonderful, one-hour pieces at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
“The creative collaboration between both sets of 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.”
Throughout its critically acclaimed Fringe run, the Royal Conservatoire has earned a string of rave reviews and played to sold-out audiences. Past productions include Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Into the Woods, 9 to 5, Urinetown, Avenue Q, Jerry Springer the Opera and The Addams Family. Graduates of the programme are working around the world in London’s West End, on Broadway and on international tours.
Jane added: “Through the hard work of our students and staff, we have gained a reputation for consistently high quality productions at the Fringe. This year, we’ll once again offer audiences the option to see a full-length commercial musical in the morning, followed by something completely different in the afternoon with our two new musical pieces which are exciting, engaging and thought-provoking premieres … and not to be missed.”
Legally Blonde is directed by Alexandra Spencer-Jones, artistic director of theatre company Action to the Word. Her recent Royal Conservatoire credits include Bat Boy:The Musical and the opera Street Scene in 2018.
“Legally Blonde has one of the most iconic pop/rock scores with a carefully woven story of justice and empowerment, telling the story of a woman working against presumptions and prejudices in order to get what she wants,” said Jane.
“This is as relevant now as when Reese Wetherspoon brought the character to life on film in 2001. We are excited to work with our Masters students on a piece that speaks to these external factors without it having to be too emotionally arduous. It’s an interesting piece for the very reasons that it made a great film; it’s light, bright and funny, which is often how musical theatre is described.
“As a form, musical comedy can disarm an audience when that lightness and humour also has something deeper and more relevant to say. Using humour to address inequality and the unfairness of modern society is something we still really respond to as audiences, especially in Scotland, and Legally Blonde does this brilliantly.”
The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s dedicated Fringe website www.rcsedfest.co.uk is a hub for all things Fringe-related with information on performances ”” including alumni ”” events, reviews, media galleries and ticket details.