On the back of one of its biggest years to date, the Edinburgh Graduate Theatre Group, EGTG, has announced it has an even larger programme in store for 2020. The theatre company is increasing the scope of both its spring and autumn programming to present a total of seven productions throughout the year.
As with previous years the programme includes a mix of classical and contemporary work, with five full-length productions and two one-act plays. The year will begin with the SCDA One-Act Festival and Breakfast for One by David Foxton; before two productions in the spring-summer, Hay Fever by Noel Coward, and Brilliant Adventures by Alistair McDowall. EGTG’s 2020 Festival Fringe will consist of Trifles by Susan Glaspell, and William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, which has received an invitation to potentially participate in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s summer season at The Dell once more. Finally the group will bring 2020 to a close with two very seasonal offerings; Bug by Tracy Letts for Halloween, and A Christmas Carol adapted by Angela Harkness Robertson from the novel by Charles Dickens for the festive season.
The company is also pleased to announce the return of its much loved improvisation workshops in early 2020. If you’re looking to build confidence on stage, learn useful life skills, or if you just want to have a lot of fun in a friendly and hilarious environment, then these sessions are for you. The 10 week course, run by Gordon Craig, will teach all the skills needed for short-form improvisation games, as well as making you laugh (a lot) along the way. For those ready and willing, there will be a performance at the end of the course where participants can show off their new favourite hobby.
The EGTG season proper will start at the Church Hill Theatre and the Scottish Drama Association One Act Festival with David Foxton’s one-act Breakfast for One; a raucous comedy of mistaken identities, confusion and shotguns. Directed by newcomer Grace Gilbert, the play requires three men and two women, auditions will be held on Sunday 24 November.
The spring will see the welcome return of two of EGTG’s regular directors, Martin Foreman (The Rose and Crown, Volpone) and Ross Hope (Six Degrees of Separation, All About My Mother). Foreman will kick off the programme proper in the spring with Noel Coward’s three-act comedy Hay Fever. Without telling the others, each member of a Bohemian family invites an admirer to stay in their country house for a weekend. The guests arrive and find themselves entangled with other members of the family, with various farcical and over the top declarations of love and denial in this comedy of manners. EGTG will host a reading of the script on Thursday 21 November, with auditions taking place Sunday 24 and Wednesday 27 November.
Hope will present an altogether different family relationship in the early summer with an all-male cast in Brilliant Adventures by Alistair McDowall. Luke has built a time machine in his run-down flat in Middlesbrough. After his brother introduces him to an out of town drug dealer they are thrown into a dangerous world that threatens to tear the brothers and the fabric of space and time apart in this fast-paced tale of brotherhood, addiction, and physics.
Angela Harkness Robertson (A Number, The Merry Wives of Windsor) will direct Shakespeare in the Fringe for the second year running, bringing the political intrigue of The Merchant of Venice to The Royal Scots Club the first week of the Festival, in addition to a performance at The Dunbar Battery. Bassanio wants to woo Portia, but having no money asks his dearest friend Antonio for a loan. Antonio’s money is bound up in ships at sea, but he urges Bassanio to get a loan and to use his name as surety. Bassanio approaches Shylock who agrees, though upon hearing that the guarantor is Antonio stipulates there will be no interest, but should he default the payment shall be made in a pound of Antonio’s flesh.
For EGTG’s second Festival Fringe production, Hannah Bradley (The Ram in the Thicket, Catch-22) will direct Susan Glaspell’s feminist murder mystery Trifles. The local sheriff and attorney are called to the Wright household after its owner, John Wright, is found murdered in his bed. While the men bluster around the farmhouse in their search for clues, two neighbouring women uncover their own about the true nature of the crime.
EGTG’s master of the macabre David Grimes (Titus Andronicus, Hand to God) will direct a suitably dark production for Halloween, Bug by Tracy Letts. Set in a seedy Oklahoma City motel room, the play centres on the meeting between Agnes, a divorced waitress with a fondness for cocaine and isolation, and Peter, a soft-spoken Gulf War drifter introduced to her by her lesbian friend, R.C.. They soon discover there’s a hidden bug infestation that has both Agnes and Peter dealing with scathing welts and festering sores—and has Peter believing this is the result of experiments conducted on him during his stay at an army hospital. Their fears soon escalate to paranoia, conspiracy theories and twisted psychological motives – leading to a tragic and explosive conclusion.
And bringing the year to a close, Angela Harkness Robertson returns to the director’s chair with her own adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Miserable old Ebeneezer Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley on Christmas Eve, who warns him to change his miserly ways. He’s visited by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come who give him insight into his terrible impending fate.
The Edinburgh Graduate Theatre Group is one of Edinburgh’s most respected amateur theatre companies, and its 2020 season proves true to the group’s form. With more productions than in previous years there are plenty of opportunities for people to get involved both on stage and behind the scenes. For further information sign up to receive future audition notices and production announcements with our newsletter.