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Edinburgh Fringe life-altering for theatre students

With more than 2,000 groups from all over the world performing in one location, The Edinburgh Festival Fringe, held in August in Scotland, is “the real deal,” said Sal Trapani, professor and chair of the Western theatre arts department.

This summer 26 theatre arts students from Western will make the trip, one that Trapani calls both overwhelming and life-changing. They will stage 10 performances of Chekov’s “Three Sisters” in two weeks.

“We are on the same stages and perform in the same venues as world-class artists,” Trapani said. “And we have been able to garner fantastic praise from the international press.”

Since 1995, many Western students have participated in the largest arts festival in world, and they have even gathered on Facebook as the WCSU Edinburgh Alumni. More than a hundred members share memories and photos online about the festival that started in 1947. Today the festival draws in more than a million ticketholders.

Trapani said the experience is vital to the young artists because they are recognized as performers and the enormous support they receive is key to their development and self-esteem. He said the exciting atmosphere is a great learning place and that the students are exposed to a wide-range of performances including dance, music, children’s theatre, comedy, opera and musicals.

 “Any place that can fit people can be a theatre,” Trapani said. “There was a play done in a car, where you rode around the city. Another took place in a public restroom in a train station. They did a play in a castle. There is theatre in the streets. I once saw a one-woman ‘Medea.’ The room only had enough seating for twelve people. It was in the rubbish-filled basement of an old school . . . it was mesmerizing.”

Every year, some students need help to be able to afford this trip, which can cost more than $2,000 per student. To donate toward this invaluable experience, please go to or call Jane von Trapp at 203-837-8419 or email

To purchase tickets and for more information, please follow this link:

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