Sixteen Mount Vernon students in Grades 9 – 12 and alumni traveled to Edinburgh, Scotland and performed at the world’s largest theatre festival, Edinburgh Festival Fringe August 5 – 10. The award winning theatre group, The MV Allstars, performed “A Hipsummer Night’s Dream”, a hip hop rendition of Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, as part of the American High School Theatre Festival.
For three weeks in August, the city of Edinburgh welcomes an explosion of creative energy from around the globe. Artists and performers take to hundreds of stages all over the city to present shows in every genre. From big names in the world of entertainment to unknown artists looking to build their careers, the festival caters to everyone and includes theatre, comedy, dance, physical theatre, circus, cabaret, children’s shows, musicals, opera, music, spoken word, exhibitions, and events.
“It was a true honor to be invited to perform at the 2022 Fringe Festival. Our program has grown tremendously in size and scope since I came to Mount Vernon over 10 years ago – it’s exciting to see the students shine so brightly on the global stage.” said Clark Taylor, Upper School Theatre Director.
The invitation came due to the group’s innovative production of The Tempest in 2021. At the height of the pandemic, Taylor produced a fully-masked, outdoor performance on Mount Vernon’s Upper Campus. The masks were created in the style of Commedia Dell’arte covering the students’ entire faces, allowing actors to focus on the importance of physicality in storytelling. Students pre-recorded their vocal performances in Mount Vernon’s state of the art recording studio. The outdoor amphitheater space offered a natural setting enhanced with additional lighting, sound, and set.
This successful persistence of artistic creation in spite of any obstacle was noted by The American High School Festival at the Edinburgh Fringe, which live-streamed the performance in Scotland in 2020. There was no in-person attendance at the festival in 2021, however the long-awaited in-person experience became a reality at the beginning of August.
The Mount Vernon theatre troupe known as “MV All-Stars” performed an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” “A Hipsummer Night’s Dream”, adapted, composed and produced by Clark Taylor in 2017, sets the entire play to music of nearly every genre, demanding non-stop energy and inviting engagement for a broader audience. This required a heightened level of dedication from staff and students to utilize the final weeks of summer as they prepared a full-length performance in a way it could be packed, transported, and rebuilt on the international stage.
Save the dates for these upcoming fall mainstage theater productions:
- Upper School: Sense and Sensibility on October 20.
- Middle School: The Great Middle School Poe-A-Thon & Peter And The Starcatcher on November 9.