Fifteen Samford theatre students, two faculty members and one alumna attended the Festival Fringe in Edinburgh, Scotland this summer. Mary Gurney, instructor of costume design and instructional design and Laura Byland, professor and director of the theatre for youth program hosted the trip. The Fringe is the largest international theatre festival in the world. “It is an incredible opportunity to be a part of something so much bigger than ourselves and to engage with theatre artists from all over the world,” said Byland. It is the fourth time Samford has sent students to participate. The trip Itinerary consisted of rehearsals, tech rehearsal, performances, seeing other Fringe shows, going to Stirling Castle and Loch Lomond and then onto the Samford’s Daniel House in London.
This year, the students performed a work by Samford theatre for youth alumna Kendra Kahl who adapted the play for the group attending the festival. They performed the play four times in Central Hall. The turnaround for each show was challenging but Byland said, “The students saw that they could achieve something by working together and really being part of an ensemble.” Byland enjoys traveling with students and their “creativity and energy.”
This was a great opportunity for students to work together and experience international travel with friends. Senior musical theatre major Sam Riggs was part of the trip and enjoyed many aspects of the experience. “It was my first time out of the country, so I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect, but this trip to Scotland and England completely went beyond my expectations,” said Riggs. She was able to interact with people from all over the world and enjoy the festival that brings everything from stand-up comedy to experimental theatre, to cabarets, to new plays and musicals to its stages.
Her favorite part of the trip was touring the Edinburgh Castle and the Holyrood Palace. “They were so beautiful, and I loved learning more about the history of Scotland and its monarchs. Also, just experiencing everything with my friends was awesome because we now have those shared memories,” said Riggs.
Riggs said that the group was complimented on their friendliness, which she feels is a reflection of the Samford community. “I am always excited to talk about Samford,” said Riggs. Riggs is ready to start her senior year and says, “I want to soak up every minute of every day and truly live in the moment.”