Glenbrook students invited to attend international Fringe Festival

Gigi Cepeda, co-opinions editor

For eight Glenbrook students attending the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this August, a new adventure awaits in Scotland. The arts festival, which serves as a mecca for performers across the globe, is the largest international festival of its kind, and these eight students have been invited to perform an improv show, Improv Mania, in front of other high school students from around the world. The seven South and one North student form the group Spontaneous Combustion, according to Beth Ann Barber, Drama Club sponsor and chaperone of the trip.

According to junior Lauren Bundy, who will be performing at the Fringe this summer, there is a community of high school students at the festival. The American High School Theater Fest is a subsection of the Fringe Festival that Spontaneous Combustion will be performing within. Sophomore Allie Vogelmeier notes that one of the most exciting aspects of this trip will be meeting people and seeing performances from all around the world.

“Performing here, everyone is American and the majority of the audience understands English so we get good feedback, but I think it’s going to be interesting to see how [our performances are] internationally,” Vogelmeier said. “We are in Scotland and they speak English, but there might be people from all over the world. So just trying to get everybody involved [in the show] and figuring out how we’re going to do that with a language barrier, I’m interested in seeing how that’s going to turn out.”

Barber says the students will be representing not only the district, but Illinois as a whole. Another exciting aspect, in Barber’s opinion, is the concept of adventure for many students. Barber says during her previous experiences at the festival, other performers have told her that attending the Fringe was one of the best experiences of their lives.

“[The students are] going to places they haven’t gone before,” Barber said. “When I was there [on a previous trip], I heard millions of languages, but hearing that Scottish brogue and being in that environment and just being around the atmosphere of all those theater people that love what you love and watching all the amazing performances… it’s exciting.”

For Bundy, traveling to a different country isn’t the only adventurous part of this trip. She will be performing at the world’s largest theater festival with only one year of improv under her belt. Other members of the group are new to improv as well, according to Vogelmeier.

“This year was my first improv show in front of an audience and I think that was very memorable because it’s scary to do at first, but somehow the shows always end up better than anything you’ve ever experienced in rehearsal,” Bundy said. “You have the audience there with you. The audience is always very supportive of you, they want to see you succeed, so I think my first time doing a show was really exciting for me.”

In preparation for the performance at the Fringe, the group has been rehearsing as well as performing at local venues, Vogelmeier says. These performances both serve as practice and as a source of funding, as the trip is not school-sponsored and the students will have to finance the trip themselves, according to Bundy.

“At one performance at the Book Market, we talked a little bit about what we’re doing and we ended up raising a decent amount of money from that,” Bundy said. “We are looking at other venues where we can perform both for practice and potentially for fundraising purposes.”

The students will be spending two days in London together before heading to Scotland to participate in Fringe Fest. Vogelmeier says that despite being from two different schools the students in the group get along well.

“We all know each other pretty well since we’ve all been in shows together so it’s a really fun group of people, who we’re really comfortable with,” Vogelmeier said. “There’s one girl from North, her name is Maelyn, and she’s fit in with us really nicely. [We are] a group of people who take each other for what we are, no judgment, it’s really nice.”