Edinburgh Festival Fringe

The Earlham College Theatre Arts Department adapted the script, created costumes, original music, props — including a bird with a 16-foot wingspan — and more for the April production of “The Misadventures of Martin Hathaway.”

Then they carried everything to Scotland in suitcases for four performances during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe as part of an EPIC Advantage program.

Associate Professor of Theatre Arts Lynne Perkins Socey knew that the 17 students would gain confidence and strengthen collaboration skills in a professional environment.

“Learning flexibility, resilience, communication and creative-problem solving skills were an added bonus,” she says. “Also, it was important for students to develop their personal aesthetic and sense of the kind of art they want to create as responsible citizen artists.”

Student Blog: Nicole Hankins ’20 was in charge of the lighting design for “The Misadventures of Martin Hathaway.” In addition, she served as the student marketing lead. Nicole took a lot of photos and ran the student blog about their adventures.

“Throughout the creation of “The Misadventures of Martin Hathaway,” I learned how to speak my mind and take on more of a leadership role in group situations.”

— Brianna Miller ’21

THE TRIP TO SCOTLAND

Lynne Perkins Socey, who wrote and directed the production, says she saw lots of student-growth during the trip.

“They grew in self-care, ensemble care, personal confidence, and clarity and focus about what they want from the rest of their education and the kinds of summer, internship and/or experiential learning opportunities that will help them move toward their post-graduation goals,” she says.

The group spent spring semester developing the production through a faculty-student collaborative research course and did three public performances in Richmond in April. They returned to Richmond three days before the flight to Edinburgh for final adjustments and to pack the show for safe and efficient travel.

The Ruhk, or large bird, was created out of cardboard pieces that could be easily folded into suitcases and then rebuilt in Scotland.

In addition to the four performances, students were required to see at least 15 productions presented by other Edinburgh Festival Fringe participants and share their experiences with the rest of the group.

“My favorite part of the experience was being able to see theatre that excited me and inspired me every single day,” Miller says.

Laurence Ruberl ’20, who acted and served as assistant sound designer, agrees.

“Touring a show was a good experience,” he says. “But the coolest part was seeing a large variety of shows. I saw 15 shows, and nine were musicals. There was a huge variety. There were 4,000-5,000 acts set up in churches, bars, theaters, outdoor spaces, anywhere you can set up a show. It was super cool, and Scotland is dope.”

Ruberl adapted a collection of Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories and poems into a student-led production he directed this semester that was largely inspired by the shows he saw in Edinburgh.

The group also toured Edinburgh and the surrounding countryside, including Loch Lomond and Stirling Castle, attended the Royal Tattoo at Edinburgh Castle, and participated in a Scottish Ceilidh.

Plans are underway to adapt the sequel and produce “The Further Misadventures of Martin Hathaway: Shipwrecked Off Heramathea’s Cove” during spring of 2021, and then as an EPIC Advantage program, take that production to the 2021 Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August.

THE EPIC ADVANTAGE

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe experience is just one of the experiences students will have as part of the EPIC Advantage.

Earlham delivers an extraordinary liberal arts experience through the EPIC initiative. EPIC is a four-year journey that integrates the academic major with transformative learning experiences, including research, study abroad, internships, and leadership development, to prepare students exceptionally well for life beyond Earlham.