FAMU Becomes First HBCU to Participate in the International Collegiate Theatre Festival Fringe in Scotland

When Jewelisia Fagg learned she was one of nine Florida A&M University theatre students selected to represent its Essential Theatre in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland, she simply could not believe it.

“I’m a small town girl who has never been west of New Orleans or north of Washington, D.C.,” said Fagg, a senior theatre performance major from Gretna, Florida. “Performing during the Festival Fringe will increase my drive to excel in school and in my career, so that I can be afforded more opportunities to travel to other new and exciting places.”

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is the largest performing arts festival in the world. The annually anticipated event, which will be held August 1-12, 2018, draws performing and visual artists from across the globe who gather to celebrate and appreciate a vast selection of world-wide performances.

Valencia E. Matthews, Ph.D., dean of the FAMU College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities, said, “The opportunity for our students to participate in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe provides an extraordinary experience for them, allowing them to engage artistically on the global stage as performers, designers, technicians, and arts administrators. They will use the experience to enrich themselves professionally and the Essential Theatre programmatically.”

For these reasons, the Essential Theatre is partnering with the University and friends to financially support this endeavor. Luther D. Wells, associate director of Theatre and the production coordinator, said “the ticket sales from our Tallahassee production will surely be used, but we are also encouraging friends, family and our patrons to donate to this valiant effort.”

As part of the International Collegiate Theatre Festival Fringe, Essential Theatre will perform “From the Mississippi Delta,” written by critically acclaimed playwright, scholar and civil rights activist— the late, Dr. Endesha Ida Mae Holland. The University’s contingent includes a student cast and crew, as well as program administrative and production personnel.

Students were carefully selected based on their audition, good academic standing, character, work ethic, and contributions to the Essential Theatre, explained Anedra Small, the play’s director.
“We as HBCU students carry the duty of breaking barriers, educating our own, uplifting our people and telling our narrative as it should be told,” said Allen, a graduating senior from Tampa. “If we want to see change in our representation, a shift in our systemic oppression, a growth in our youth’s self-esteem, and improvement in our mental and physical health, then we must not look at opportunities like this as simple overseas vacations.”

FAMU’s participation is also an opportunity for the international community to gain a new perspective about the quality of African-American institutions and their theatre programs.

“It tells the community and the world that we are producing extremely talented artists and cultivating them to not only be able to use their talents in black theatre, but to give them the ability to merge Black Theatre with the larger theatre community as a whole,” Fagg said.

You can see “From the Mississippi Delta” in Tallahassee, March 28 – April 1, at the Charles Winter Wood Theatre before its four performances run at the International Collegiate Theatre Festival at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. For more information and to make a contribution, visit www.famu.edu/essentialtheatre or call 850.561.2425. Originally published on http://www.famunews.com

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From the Mississippi Delta By Endesha Ida Mae Holland, Ph.D.
Directed by Anedra Small

March 28 – April 1, 2018
Charles Winter Wood Theatre | Edmonds Stage

Preview Performances: Wednesday & Thursday | 8 p.m. | $8 General Admission

Weekend Performances
Friday | 8 p.m.
Saturday | 2 p.m. & 8 p.m.
Sunday | 3 p.m.
Admission: $15 Adults;$12 Senior Citizens & FAMU Employees with ID; $8 Students/Children; FAMU Students free with ID

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