Arts Listings

BHS Drama Acts its Way to Edinburgh

Friday September 15, 2006

Students of the Berkeley High School Drama Department have been invited to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland next summer and are staging a set of fundraiser performances this weekend to help get there. 

The benefit performances of the recent Broadway musical I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, will be staged at 8 p.m. tonight (Friday) and Saturday at the Schwimley Little Theater on campus. 

Tickets are $6 for students and seniors Friday, and on Saturday (a gala with food provided) $10 and $20. Information and reservations are available through Jordan Winer, head of the Drama Department, 332-1931.  

The students applied to the American High School Theatre Festival, part of the larger Edinburgh Fringe, last year, sending videos and photographs of productions. They received an invitation in April to participate and decided to produce Mary Zimmerman’s adaptation of The Arabian Nights. 

To defray expenses—about $4,500 per person—for the 24 students and three adults scheduled to go next August, the program has been putting on what Winer referred to as a “fundraising ballet,” with raffles of season tickets donated by local theater companies and the students rehearsing during their summer vacation to put on the musical comedy as a benefit. 

“Depending on family income, some parents are able to come up with all the expenses, some with half, some much less or none at all,” Winer said. “We’re allowed one free chaperone per 15 kids; I’m trying to recruit more adults. But there’s been great participation by the community, especially the local theater companies—Berkeley Rep, Shotgun Players, CalShakes, A.C.T.—in donating season tickets to raffle. And people preparing food for the Saturday night gala. We hope everybody can feed off the excitement.” 

Mark Coplan, Berkeley school district spokesperson, said the drama program deserved a spot in the prestigious international arts festival. 

“The difference between going to A.C.T. and seeing a show at Berkeley High is that these kids are the kids the people in A.C.T. were in high school,” he said. They’ve directed their own productions. They can do it all!”