Theater Takes a Trip to Scotland

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Theater Takes a Trip to Scotland

Erika Sykes

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Many high school students stay within a 25 mile radius of our town during summer, only making it to a job or the community pool. Our FHS theatre department set sail on a 5,000 mile voyage to Scotland this summer to show how Friendswood stacks up on an international stage. 

The international theatre organization The Fringe has been recognizing our theatre department for years, but this year the plan was set in motion and they made plans to go.

“This year I believe we were nominated because we won the Top Performing Arts High School in the United States by the American Federation for High Schools last year,” said Theater Teacher Mrs. Powdrell. “That acknowledgment really made our name rise to the top.”

Because the students had already been in summer for several weeks, preparation was scarce and the students had to pull the show together in a limited amount of rehearsals.

“The preparation was about 4 days before we left for the trip. Yes, that was really all the preparation time we had,” cast member Dean Galloway said. “Not a lot of time to learn what we were going to do but it still looked good.”                 

Preparation did not just take place in the theater. Many kids had to plan months in advance to get passports, plane tickets, and funding. 

“The most important thing was making sure that passports were in order and airline tickets were there,” Powdrell said. “We broke it down into 10 months of tasks and then the final thing was to pack and make sure the costumes all fit.”

Mrs. Powdrell originally had the musical Peter and the Starcatcher in mind however the rights to the play were not available internationally. Their secondary option was Peer Gynt and it turned out to be a perfect fit. 

“We were a little disappointed. It was kind of a setback,” Powdrell said. “Peer Gynt is a European story. It takes place in Norway. It seemed like it was a perfect match because the international audience really appreciated it.”

In Scotland the cast performed phenomenally and definitely proved their place in the international festival. Groups gathered around to watch them perform. 

“Just seeing hundreds of people gather around the Friendswood students and to see how well we fared on the real international stage. It was probably a dream come true. It was just thrilling,” Powdrell said. “Our students really distinguished themselves.”

The group also got to sightsee in Scotland and have some fun while in this foreign country. For many of these students, it was a once and a lifetime opportunity. 

“I haven’t gotten to travel out of the country so it’s just something that I’ll never forget,” Galloway said. “We did a Scottish dance on one of the nights and learned how to do that. Probably about half of the guys bought a kilt so that was pretty funny.”

After Scotland the group went to the UK where they got to learn from the theater culture. This was a crucial and important part of the trip where they had impromptu performances and fun adventures. 

“The second day in Edinburgh we did a street performance that wasn’t planned,” Galloway said. “We had a crowd of probably two hundred people gathered around us.” 

These experiences of international travel and performances will live in the minds of these students far past highschool. Traveling, learning, and having fun defined this experience and they will hold onto the memories for the rest of their lives. 

“I hope that as they look back on it they can understand what an extraordinary experience it was,” Powdrell said.