Tech’s Advanced Drama Department Rocked the Edinburgh Fringe Festival!
“I wanted to say how honored I am and happy that you’re directing HAMLET BLOOD IN THE BRAIN, and that it’s been a good process. I wish I could see it and meet everyone in person to thank and congratulate them. In the meantime, please know that I’m sending good thoughts to you and everyone working on the production.”
- Naomi Iizuka, playwright, Hamlet: Blood in the Brain
It was a life-changing trip, a once-in-a-lifetime experience – and great theater, too. Oakland Tech’s Advanced Drama students pulled off an amazing Cinderella story, coming in as an upstart to win a coveted spot at the American High School Theater Festival, giving them the right to perform at the world-famous Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland. But that was just the beginning of the story: the students then had to raise over $80,000 to fund their travel, room, board, production costs, and all the extras, including theater tickets in London and Edinburgh.
Impossible? Not for the OakTechRep. They did it, and they were the stars of the Festival, performing acclaimed playwright Naomi Iizuka’s “Hamlet: Blood in the Brain,” a powerful and moving retelling of Shakespeare’s drama set in Oakland in the 1980′s. You can read about their successes and their experiences in Edinburgh and London. You can also read students’ blog posts on the California Shakespeare Theater website, thanks to CalShakes’ wonderful collaboration with Tech’s drama department: Go to http://calshakes.blogspot.com/search?q=oaktechrep, or go to http://calshakes.blogspot.com and enter “oaktechrep” in the search box.
How we got there: In 2009, Tech’s Advanced Drama Department was nominated to compete against some 2,000 high school drama departments nationwide in the American High School Theatre Festival (AHSTF). Against all odds, Tech – which didn’t even have an Advanced Drama Department until a few years ago – was selected as one of the 50 best in the United States.
The students and their families rehearsed, performed, and fundraised practically nonstop. Some of the students had never even been on a plane before – let alone performed before international audiences. We are all hugely grateful to everyone who has helped make this happen!
Please explore the links and posts here and on the Advanced Drama and Kudos pages to see more of this extraordinary journey.
See “Oakland: Inside Out”, Tech’s award-winning video submitted to the 2009 American High School Theatre Festival.
Watch KTVU video about Tech and the Fringe Festival.
Read the review of Tech’s performance of “Hamlet: Blood in the Brain” in Oaklandnorth.net.