TALENTED drama students from The Manor School are again preparing to tread the boards at the Buxton Fringe Festival and this year are set to wow audiences with their performance of a hard-hitting contemporary play.
The Shadow Syndicate drama group, which is made up of gifted and talented drama students from the Mansfield Woodhouse school, will be staying at the Fringe Festival for five days, doing a run of shows in a professional performance space and being critiqued by professional critics.
The group was nominated for Best Young Drama Production in 2010 and this year the youngsters are performing the play ‘Fugee’, which tells the story of 14-year-old refugee Kojo.
He is an unaccompanied minor who arrives in London and tumbles into the UK “system” with no official papers and no knowledge of the English language.
He is housed in a refuge for under-age asylum seekers with new friends Cheung and Ara and there begins to reconcile his past and find pleasure in the present.
The unique play uses multimedia to help tell the story and flashes forward and back, blending fiction with verified facts, commenting on the downfalls of the UK’s social system regarding child refugees and highlighting the injustices of the characters’ lives and the failings of those supposed to take care of them.
Ian Lund, curriculum development leader for Drama and founder of Shadow Syndicate, said that although the group’s actors may change from performance to performance, the overall aim of the group remains intact - to further students’ experience of Drama and Theatre Studies outside the classroom, providing them with opportunities to perform on professional stages to a variety of audiences.
The Fringe gives them the chance to promote their work and watch other drama performances.
“We take part in a number of initiatives and performances throughout the year including the Shakespeare in Schools Festival and The National Theatre Shell Connections scheme, however, the Buxton Fringe Festival is seen as the ‘jewel in the crown’ by both ourselves and the students,” he said.
Shadow Syndicate has just taken part in Fringe First - an event which saw the official launch of the Fringe Festival programme - offering theatre goers a sneak preview of their work.
Ian added: “The students have worked extremely hard on the piece, and have been reaching new heights with their performances.
“We have been nominated for Best Young Drama at the last two Fringe Festivals and we are hoping to go one better this year.”
Shadow Syndicate will be performing as part of the Buxton Fringe Festival itself, in the Paupers Pit, part of the Underground Venues, on 15th, 17th, 18th July at 3.15pm and on 19th July at 10.30pm.
Tickets can be purchased by visiting www.undergroundvenues.co.uk and searching for Fugee.