Monday, 16 May 2022

Young actors make light work of play

THE Edinburgh Fringe Festival is one of the biggest arts festivals in the world — every

THE Edinburgh Fringe Festival is one of the biggest arts festivals in the world — every August thousands of people flock to see plays, gigs, dances, stand-up comedians and more from all over the world.

This year Shiplake College’s very own theatre company Scruffy Penguin had the opportunity to be amongst those performers.

A group of pupils from a range of year groups travelled to the Scottish capital in order to perform an original play at the Fringe Festival.

The original script, Lightless, is based on a true story by author Gulwali Passarlay in a book called The Lightless Sky.

Gulwali was an Afghan refugee who left his home town during a conflict, leaving behind friends and family on a journey to find safety and peace.

Now in the UK, Gulwali is a political activist, seeking to give a voice to the concerns of others silenced by forms of conflict, including children in care and asylum seekers.

Lightless is Shiplake’s own portrayal of the story depicted in Gulwali’s book — the script was written by the drama department with input from the actors themselves.

The hard-hitting and poignant play explores the difficult journey Gulwali undertook as a child.

It is not an easy play to watch — emotions run high throughout and the Shiplake cast did an incredible job of portraying this. Pupil Will Bailey as the central character Gulwali gave a touching and sensitive performance, which considered the extent of the emotional turmoil the main character experienced.

It has been very well received and comedian and TV presenter Russell Howard even attended the show.

The response was outstanding and deservedly so — the boys performed admirably during a trying week of living like an actor, and performing an emotionally draining play several times during the week.

There is now the possibility of taking the play on tour around other schools and colleges.

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