Parent Feedback


"You created a situation and environment where all the children were part of a joint project. They all got involved in creating something together, over a sustained period of time, each being encouraged to make their own unique contribution." Kate Tregaskis (Parent)

"Wonderful! What amazing imaginations and enthusiasm. Thank you to the teachers!" Lisa Whitby Parent

"One year more. We are very grateful to be here with you. We are at home. You contribute to us spending better holidays." Sara, Nico,Rodrigo, Rosa - Children and Mum from Spain

"Jane really enjoyed the week and the show was fantastic. Very impressive! " Susan Yelda - Parent

"We came all the way from Brisbane , Australia to see your show! Best show of the festival. Thank you." Mat and Steph

"Loved the energy and love that was shown in the performance, great instructors. Thanks so much, the Dundas family"

"Ula and Alba liked the show and making the puppets. They liked everything"

"The girls have loved the drama camp at Wardie ! They look forward to it all summer"

Drama Studio Awards Ceremony 2015


The 2015 Drama Studio Awards Ceremony was held at The Minto Hotel on the 11th June.

Our special guest was Thom Dibdin, well known Edinburgh Theatre Reviewer and a wonderful night was had by all.

The evening dresscode was a Masquerade Ball.

This year's film theme was based on taking a title (the groups taking part passed on a title to another group) and using it to devise the material for the films.


Most Creative Junior Film

The top three nominees for most Creative Junior Film were  Where’s My Chauffeur ?, I Used To Do Kung Fu and A Thug Life

The winner  "I Used To Do Kung Fu" 

mSC 1013 small    mSC 1015 small



Most Creative Senior Film

The top three nominees for most Creative Senior Film were What’s On The Box ?, The Tribe and The BoKZ Hotel

The winner "The BoKZ Hotel"




Best Junior Film 

The top three nominees for best junior film are, I Used To Do Kung Fu, A Thug Life and Roulette

The winner  “A Thug Life”

mSC 1032 Thug Life    nMG 1970



Best Senior Film

The top three nominees for best senior film are, The Tribe, Rosenberg and What’s On The Box ?

The winner “What’s On The Box ?”

mSC 1033 Whats on BOx



Favourite Junior Moment

 The top three nominees for favourite moment in a junior film were, Jake Bretherton for the gunshot in Roulette, Evelyn Currie for the dead hands in Where’s My Chauffeur ? and Alice Gilmore for the ponytail flick in S.P.I

The winner is  ALL THREE !

nMG 1975 all three



Favourite Senior Moment

The top three nominees for favourite moment in a senior film were,  Joanna Gordon for Mamma Maria in the Tribe, Paul Jeffries and Michael Shaw for the Drug Scene in Rosenberg and Charlie West for The Shovel in The BoKZ Hotel.

The winner “Joanna  Gordon– The Tribe ”

 mSC 1035 behalf


Best Junior Female

 The top 3 nominees for best junior female actor are, Anna Jeffries – Roulette, Alison Simm – I Used To Do Kung Fu and Eve Collen – S.P.I

The winner “Alison Simm”

mSC 1036 Alison Simm



Best Junior Male

The top 3 nominees for best junior male actor are,  Niall Gilchrist – K.E.R.R.I, Jude Liddell – A Thug Life and Finlay Ferrari – Where’s My Chauffeur ?

The winner  “Jude Liddell”.

nMG 1981 jude


Best Senior Female

The nominees for best Senior Female Actor were, Olivia Marshall – The BoKZ Hotel, Emma Murray – The Tribe, Hannah Peace – What’s On The Box?and Jessica Steel The Moron and The Murder.

The winner "Hannah Peace"

nMG 1982



 Best Senior Male

The nominees for best Senior Male Actor were, Evan Craig – Rosenberg, Gregor Weir  -What’s On The Box ? Lewis Williamson - The Tribe and Aran Prince-Tappe  -The BoKZ Hotel

The winner -  “Evan Craig”

nMG 1985evan



Best Edit - The winner was chosen by Film Maker David Jack

The top 3 nominees for best edit were Georgia Traquair & Lauryn Murray – The Tribe , Gregor Weir – What’s On The Box ?  and Michael Shaw – Rosenberg.

The winner - "Gregor Weir”

nMG 1987 gregor



Best Director

The top three nominees for Best Director were –

Evelyn Currie for Where’s My Chauffeur ? Rosie Tofts  for K.E.R.R.I, Michael Shaw for Rosenberg

The winner - "Michael Shaw”

nMG 1988 michael




Drama Studio Awards Ceremony 2017

Drama Studio Awards Ceremony 2013


Awards still image


Our Awards Ceremony at The Minto Hotel on June 13 featured Winners chosen by the students themselves for Best Junior and Senior Film and Best Actors Male and Female in each category.

Also as part of the evening  the groups performed short live pieces for our three judges - Ann Moore, Amanda Craven and David Jack to judge. Each group was given 3 props - an umbrella, a large sheet and a large hoop to use creatively in their piece. Grant Stott presented the winners with their medals and trophies.

The evening also contained a surprise moment for Director Julie who was presented with an Award for the Drama Studio's 20th Year ! Julie was also given the most amazing book of memories and tributes from Drama Studio students past and present -  a treasure to keep for life.

Book Cover



The nominees for the top 3 Junior films were - The Divide - Juniper Green: Janitor's Revenge - Fairmilehead: Hitman - Bruntsfield

Janitors Screenshot  JUNIOR WINNER - Janitor's Revenge (Fairmilehead)



The nominees for the top 3 Senior films were Murder She Ate Bruntsfield: 7/7 Wardie: Guide Camp 2K12 Fairmilehead

Kerr Screenshot    SENIOR WINNER - Murder She Ate (Bruntsfield)




The  top three nominees for the best  Junior Female Actor were Sofia Della Sala (Hitman - Bruntsfield): Louise Piatkowski (The Divide - Juniper Green) and Emma Wilcox The Popular Side - Wardie)

The top three nominees for the best Junior Male Actor were Lewis Williamson (Janitor's Revenge - Fairmilehead): Teo Campbell (Hitman - Bruntsfield) and Matthew Baur (The Island - Bruntsfield)

The  top three nominees for the best Senior Female Actor were Aimee McLaren (Seven Days and Six Nights - Wardie): Olivia Marshall (7/7 - Wardie): and Lucy Reville (Murder She Ate- Bruntsfield)

The  top three nominees for the best Senior Male Actor were Gregor Weir (Guide Camp 2K12- Fairmilehead): Kerr Syme (Murder She Ate - Bruntsfield): Charlie West (7/7 - Wardie)

The  top three nominees for the best  Junior Director were Freddie Henderson(The Basement - Bruntsfield): Katie Brown (The Divide - Juniper Green): Emily Johnstone (Zombie Takeover - Fairmilehead)

The  top three nominees for the best  Senior Director were Jessica Polson (Deadly Sins -Bruntsfield): Charlie West and Heather Davidson (7/7 - Wardie): Sophie Somerville (The Curse - Fairmilehead)



IMG 1741IMG 1742IMG 1746 

Best Junior Female- Louise Piatkowski  Best Junior Male - Lewis Williamson      Best Senior Female - Lucy Reville 

  IMG 1747IMG 1748IMG 1751 

Best Senior Male - Kerr Syme               Best Junior Director - Katie Brown      Best Senior Director - Heather Davidson

                                                                                                                     and Charlie West

Photos From The Evening

IMG 1628  IMG 1691

Coming In                                                                           At The Tables

IMG 2033  IMG 1843    

On The Dancefloor                                                   Live Drama - Bruntsfield Juniors


IMG 6246  IMG 6183

WALT WIZARDRY - Bruntsfield Seniors                    MAD HATTER'S TEA PARTY- Juniper Green


IMG 6236  IMG 6169

THE STORY OF STANLEY - Wardie                            LIFE AND DEATH OF MICHAELANGELO - Fairmilehead


IMG 6197  IMG 1939

Winners Drama - GOODNIGHT LADIES by Bruntsfield Juniors      The Judges Deliberate

Flowres From Kim  IMG 2004

Flowers From The Drama Studio Teachers               Kirsty's Speech - 20 Years of The Drama Studio




Drama Studio Awards Ceremony 2014




The 2014 Drama Studio Film Awards Ceremony 2014 took place at The Minto Hotel on June 12th.

We themed the evening's dresscode to Villains and Heroes from Fairytale land.

This year's topic was Psychological Thriller and once again the students voted for their favourite short films. The standard is just getting better and better as our students really get into film as another way to present creative drama.

This time around we had several groups editing their own work so we had an additional category for the best edit.

We chose students themselves to present the awards.


Most Creative Junior Film

Presented by Captain Hook (Lewis Williamson)

The top three nominees were You’re Not Who You Think You Are (Bruntsfield) Double Take (Wardie)and Together Forever (Bruntsfield).

  The winner  ........ “Double Take”

Cruella and Hook -small

Most Creative Senior Film

Presented by Alice In Wonderland (Jessica Steel)

The top three nominees for most creative senior film were Teddy Bear’s Picnic (Wardie), Amy Made Me Do It (Fairmilehead) and Annabelle(Fairmilehead).

The winner ........“Teddy Bear’s Picnic

Teddy Bears small

3. Best Junior Film Overall

Presented by – The Pied Piper (Georgie Harwell)

The top three nominees for best junior film overall were Scarred (Bruntsfield), The Basement (Bruntsfield) and The Church(Juniper Green).

The winner  ........."The Church"

The Church -small

4. Best Senior Film Overall

Presented by Lewis MacDougall as himself with a special tribute to Lewis who is to play Nibs in a new Warner Bros film "Pan" to be released in July 2015.

The top three nominees for best senior film overall Amy Made Me Do It (Fairmilehead) Guilt (Liberton) and Teddy Bear’s Picnic (Wardie).

The winner ............. “Guilt”.

Liberton Girls- small

5. Scariest Moment In a Junior Film

Presented by The Big Bad Wolf (Paul Jeffries)

The top three nominees for scariest moment in a junior film Katie (Fairmilehead), The Church (Juniper Green) and The Basement (Bruntsfield).


“And the winner is” .......... “Katie – Doll under the sink”.

Katie -small


Scariest Moment In A Senior Film


 Presented by Grumpy/Bashful (Sam Morwood)

The top three nominees for scariest moment in a senior film Teddy Bear’s Picnic (Wardie), One By One (Fairmilehead) and Annabelle (Bruntsfield).

The winner is ............ “One by One – Girl in the mirror”


One by One -small 

Best Junior Female

Presented by Shrek and Donkey (Scott Edwards & Aran Prince Tappe)

 The top 3 nominees for best junior female actor are, Emma Murray for Katie (Fairmilehead), Charlotte Lyon for You’re Not Who You Think You Are and Lori Stott for “Scarred”

The winner - Lori Stott


Best Junior Male

Presented by Aran

The top 3 nominees for best junior male actor  Liam Donaldson for The Church (Juniper Green), Fraser Dunmore for Mind Powers (Wardie) and Jack Grieve for Katie(Fairmilehead).

The winner  .................Liam Donaldson


Best Senior Female

 Presented by Aladdin and Jasmine (Rowan Johnstone and Eilidh West)

The top 3 nominees for best senior female actor Caitlyn McFarlane for Side Effects(Wardie), Charlotte Reid for Amy Made Me Do It (Fairmilehead) and Catriona Hand for The Doll (Bruntsfield).

The winner is ........ Charlotte Reid

Best Senior Male

Presented by Eilidh

The top three nominees for best senior male actor - Joe Quayle for The Doll (Bruntsfield) , Evan Craig for Holy Moly (Bruntsfield) and Rhys Anderson for Abandoned (Juniper Green).

The winner is ...............Rhys Anderson



Best Director



Presented by Julie McDonald , Drama Studio Director


The top three nominees for Best Director - Evelyn Currie for Double Take (Wardie), Joanna Gordon for One By One (Fairmilehead) and Gregor Weir for Annabelle (Bruntsfield).

The winner ............... Gregor Weir


Gregor Website

Special Award – Best Edit

Presented by Niloo-Far Khan, our guest Film Maker who judged the students' edits.

The nominees for best edit -Nerida Bradley for Amy Made Me Do It (Fairmilehead), Sofia Della Sala for Annabelle (Bruntsfield), Fraser Dunmore for Mind Powers (Wardie), Evelyn Currie for Double Take (Wardie), Catriona Hand for The Doll (Bruntsfield), Sophie Costa for Guilt (Liberton), Charlie West for Teddy Bear’s Picnic (Wardie) and Heather Davidson for Side Effects (Wardie).

The winner is............... Evelyn Currie














Drama Studio Student Fringe Reviews

These reviews were written by Drama Studio Senior students during the 2015 Edinburgh Fringe and mentored by professional reviewer Thom Dibdin.

For More reviews go to

Also check out reviews there of Junior student reviewer Cora Dibdin. 



Mancub and The Children


July 23, 2015 | By Thom Dibdin1 Reply

New reviews from All Edinburgh Theatre’s new writers

This August, All Edinburgh Theatre is proud to be taking on four young Edinburgh-based reviewers in a new mentoring initiative.

Working with Julie McDonald, director of The Drama Studio, Æ has recruited four of their young actors who will be taking the understanding of theatre they have learned from performance and applying it to a critical stance from the other side of the footlights.

All Edinburgh Theatre‘s coverage of the fringe this year will, as usual, be focused on theatre made in Edinburgh. But for now, here are the reviews filed by Jon White, Aran Prince-Tappe and Gregor Weir after seeing the LYT’s productions ofMancuband The Children. Annie Bird will join the team when she gets back from holiday.

I’m looking forward to more great reviews from all four in what will, undoubtedly, be a busy fringe. And look out next week, when we will reveal more news of our critics scheme.

Thom Dibdin (Editor)


?????    Great Potential

Review by Jon White

A bright, quirky comedy, Mancub at the Lyceum deals with some serious, and not so serious, issues that young people have to face.

Douglas Maxwell’s adaptation of John Levert’s book Flight of the Cassowary is being performed by young people from their Summer On Stage programme as part of a double bill with The Children.


Mancub Rehearsals. Photos: LYT

The play follows a young boy, Paul (Alexander Levi), and the various trials and tribulations he faces as a young teenager. Animals are central to this piece as Paul describes people and events in animal terms such as calling his dad ant-man and seeing the penalty box as a goalkeeper as his territory.

Paul struggles with teenage life and his identity believing that he can become different animals. This can be taken as either magical or a metaphor where he takes on their characteristics depending on the situation.

Five narrators – Gowan Mackay, Emily Ward, Anna Pidoux, Sophie Morris-Maciocia and Katherine Gardner – are on stage until almost the end with microphones. They provide a calm and clear narrative, filled with humour and at points their voices chorus together melodically.

Another outstanding performance comes from Tom Borley as football coach Susskind. He has a great presence and portrays the stereotypical over-enthusiastic, pushy and even overemotional sports coach with excellent timing and confidence.

Carson Ritchie as Paul’s best friend Jerry puts across his character’s emotions well: the friend trying to help Paul and the abused son who tries to hide his pain behind jokes about his dad. This involves an interesting sequence where Simon Williams (Jerry’s Dad) uses a voice changing microphone.

Where this production falls short is not on acting or energy but on the use of the set. Director Xena Marwick only uses small area of the stage, downstage left, where action consistently takes place and for this reason props and furniture are often being brought to and from this one area which leads to lengthy set changes. During these changes flashing lights and music are used that stop entertaining after the first change.

The stage at times feels full as many of the cast are left sitting at the back which can distract from the main action. However, for Karen (Emma Gribbon) and Paul’s date at the zoo and the big football match the stage is fully utilised and it works so well you feel more could be done with the whole stage.

A thoroughly enjoyable play which contains flashes of brilliant acting and comedy. Issues over staging and overuse of an onstage camera do detract, but not enough to stop it from addressing some of the real issues with which teenagers struggle.

The Children


Review by Aran Pince-Tappe

Lyceum Youth Theatre deliver a bleak and pessimistic production of Edward Bond’s The Children as part of a double bill in their Summer on Stageprogramme.

The play chronicles the experiences of a group of children when one of their number burns down a house upon the demand of her disturbed mother. The children find themselves wandering a desolate, deserted landscape, with no other people in sight.


Confrontation in The Children. Photo Alexander Van Der Byl

The production conveys the bleak and unforgiving tone of the story well, using a grey, stormy background and minimalist set design. The tense and sporadic soundtrack also heightens the effect of scenes, either increasing the tension of several dramatic scenes or conveying the bleakness of the characters’ situation and surroundings.

Director Christie O’Carroll brings out strong performances in the key roles. Of particular note are Caitlin Mitchard as Jo, who opens the play with an engaging, very well-performed dramatic monologue; and Jenny Barron as her mother, who convincingly portrays an utterly broken woman. Her character is memorable for her emotional manipulation of her daughter, which adds additional dramatic weight to their relationship. The large supporting cast also deliver, all giving good, believable performances.

Despite the clear hard work put into the production, however, Edward Bond’s plot feels somewhat unresolved by the conclusion of the play. A great many ideas are introduced in the middle of the story, but many of them remain unaddressed by the end. This leaves too many questions and as a result an experience that is not as satisfying as the hard work and good performances in the production deserve.

A strong, well-acted piece with an effective tone, which stands out despite its incomplete conclusion.



Review by Gregor Weir

The playful innocence created by the Lyceum Youth Theatre in their hilarious rendition of Mancub will surely transport anyone back to their days of playground patter and clammy palms.

Paul is a young boy struggling to keep up with the strange and confusing teenage world. In addition to having to deal with the everyday struggles of being a teenager, Paul also finds complications in that he thinks he can transform into various animals at his own will.


Th Mancub cast in rehearsal. Photo: LYT

The plot is comforting despite its eccentricity, as familiarity can be found in Alexander Levi’s convincing portrayal of Paul’s teenage awkwardness. Levi communicates excellently the roller coaster emotions associated with being young, and handles very well the often fairly steep changes in emotion demanded by the script.

The humour in the show is innocent and youthful, in keeping with the general tone of the production. Yet the play still manages to tickle the funny bones. Freya Groves is an excellent example of this in her sarcastic portrayal of Fideles, the fed up biology teacher.

However Mancub also aims to tackle slightly more serious issues, such as abuse, in the scene where Paul’s friend Jerry (Carson Ritchie) is struck by his father. Although the acting in this scene is very good, it seems to unnecessarily depress an otherwise very light-hearted and playful production, and the plot point never really develops as deeply as expected. However, the use of a shadow screen for this scene must be applauded, as it gave Paul’s father a more ominous and beastly feel.

Mancubis a wonderful combination of wit and youthfulness that is packed full of nostalgia. The actors communicate this well, and show the Youth Theatre in a very positive light. Overall, Mancub will leave you clapping your paws together in praise.


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$11.    Marion says:

July 24, 2015 at 10:43 am

Fantastic work from these young critics. Good, constructive reviews, making well observed comments, and not just telling the plot, as many critics seem to do. They have a great mentor in Thom and I am looking forward to reading more reviews from these talented young people.


Top of Form




Back in the Woods

August 3, 2015 | By Thom Dibdin1 Reply

Æ’s young critics go Into the Woods

Edinburgh Playhouse: Fri 31 July/Sat 1 Aug 2015

Four young Edinburgh-based theatre critics will be reviewing for All Edinburgh Theatre this fringe, in a new mentoring scheme.

Before they hit the fringe this week, three of them were available to accompany Æ’s editor Thom Dibdin to the Playhouse production of Into the Woods.

Here are their reviews.

Into the Woodsreviewed by Annie Bird

????? Impressive

Intricate, magical and comical, the Edinburgh Playhouse Stage Experience’sInto The Woods thoroughly impresses with a professional feel achieved with such little time and so many cast members.

With 94 eleven-to-fourteen year-olds performing on stage, and a mere two weeks to complete their version of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s popular musical, director Peter Corry has quite a challenge, one which he overcomes wonderfully.


Kieran Wynne and Olivia Hemmati. Photo Stephen Clinton

The musical follows multiple fairytale characters, including a baker and the baker’s wife (the extremely talented Kieran Wynne and Ellie Campbell), Cinderella played by incredible singer Heather McFarlane and Little Red Riding Hood excellently portrayed by Olivia Hemmati, on their journey into a large wood where their paths cross and their tasks become intertwined.

When it seems all their wishes have been granted, the characters have to work together to solve a huge threat to their land in the form of a giant, leading to equal measures of tragedy and comedy, as the characters try to reach their ‘happily ever after’.

Fans of the recent film adaptation of the musical might have had concerns about the creation of the giant who forms that huge threat. But the large ensemble cleverly create her character by appearing among the audience, shouting her lines in unison with a voice recording.

They also create much of the set by forming shapes of trees and flowers to create the effect of a woodland. However the constant movement of the ensemble can sometimes distract from the main action of the characters on the overcrowded stage.

All the 39 named roles are worthy of praise, but Zoe Moore steals the show as the Witch with a mature and absorbing performance worthy of one you might expect to see in the West End. The Baker’s Wife is also played with incredible talent by Ellie Campbell who will undoubtedly go far in the world of musical theatre.

The voice of Freya Hoppe, who takes on the role of Rapunzel, thoroughly impresses. However due to unfortunate staging she is hidden by the curtain to many audience members. Providing most of the comedy in the show is the Mysterious Man played by Scott Coltman, whose comic timing and use of voice are simply hilarious.

Some characters could be taken further. The Wolf is portrayed excellently by Gordon Horne with the perfect amount of creepiness, but the director could have more fun with the movement of the character. Horne goes on to deliver a delightfully funny and professional performance as Cinderella’s Prince later on, which is one of the best in the show.

Corry excels at creating a show which appears as if it has months of work put into it, and the choreography (Louise Ferrier) and staging, particularly in the finale is executed particularly well. Despite the occasional confusion of accents, the acting on the whole is very impressive. As is the whole production of The Playhouse Stage Experience’s Into The Woods.


Into the Woodsreviewed by Gregor Weir

????? Magical

Edinburgh Playhouse’s Stage Experience impresses with its talented cast in their performance of Into The Woods. The spellbinding vocals, combined with enchanting acting, does the great script the justice it deserves.

“Once upon a time”, the time-honoured opening line to all fairytales, serves equally well in this plot-merging fairytale extravaganza. The plot combinesCinderella, Snow White, Jack and The Beanstalk and Rapunzel (plus a few more) and puts a fresh spin on stories we all know well.

The Witch (Zoe Moore). Photo Stephen Clinton

The script and plot works well overall, although the second half drags somewhat, as the characters are having to work together to solve one problem, relieving some of the tension present in the first act that helped to keep the plot moving.

A stand-out performance is delivered by Ellie Campbell as the Baker’s Wife. Campbell perfectly balances wit and sorrow to create a woman desperate to lift the curse that had made her infertile. This strong performance, and the added layer of grief, lifts the show to a level that is difficult to achieve from a fairytale plot that screams pantomime.

Another excellent performance is given by Zoe Moore as the Witch. She attacks the role with energy that makes her stand out and gives the character an extra layer of life. It’s particularly interesting how Moore distinguishes between the “ugly old” Witch, and the “beautiful young” Witch, adjusting the character to be more gentle and slightly more kind after the transformation.

Furthermore, the heavenly singing voice of Freya Hoppé, as Rapunzel, hits every note with delicacy and lightness, just as would be expected of a princess role. Although, quite frustratingly, director Peter Corry sticks her on a tower right up at the top of the back of the stage, so that for many it is impossible to see where that golden voice is coming from.

It is difficult working with a cast of over 100. However, it would have been nice to see more movement sequences and use of the ensemble as more than just human props. However, the ensemble as the giant is creditable.

Into The Woodsis made great by the hard work of the young people who have made it, displaying excellent vocals, great acting and lots of fairytale fantasy. It is a production to delight.


Into the Woodsreviewed by Jon White


Funny, slick and thought-provoking, Edinburgh Playhouse Stage Experience’s production of James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods strikes a balance between the idyllic happily ever after and what really happens when the fairytale ends.

The boundaries between classic Grimm fairytales are blurred when Little Red Riding Hood (Olivia Hemmati), Jack (Ross Tucker) and Cinderella (Heather McFarlane) go into the woods following their well-known goals.

Some of the ensemble. Photo Stephen Clinton

However, they are pursued by a seemingly ordinary Baker (Kieran Wynne) who under the instructions of the hideous Witch (Zoe Moore) must retrieve four objects in order to lift the curse she has cast upon him.

Director Peter Corry’s use of the ensemble is outstanding. He uses it to create the furniture and bring the set to life – even fulfilling the age old drama cliché of being trees. Corry chooses to have the ensemble in the auditorium to be the Giant, but with all the voices shouting at different times – and a distorted voice coming over the speakers – it is a strain to hear the lines. Nevertheless, the ensemble provides a slick, well-rehearsed base for the production.

Zoe Moore as the Witch has a great presence onstage in both the first act as the haggard, powerful old Witch and in the second after her transformation back to youth. Moore’s forceful manner is complemented well by the subtle brilliance of Ellie Campbell as the Baker’s wife. She performs with great timing and emotion to create a quietly pushy character similar to Lady Macbeth.

At the beginning of Act 1 the voices of both Jack and Cinderella feel strained but they quickly find their feet and produce excellent performances – especially Jack’s solo Giants in the Sky. Heather McFarlane makes Cinderella’s story one of the most interesting and real as in Act 2 she and her husband (Gordon Horne) become tired of royal married life. The airhead Jack grows on you as Ross Tucker’s performance progresses: his dopiness, general vacant expression and good heartedness make him a very endearing character.

A gem hidden in this production is Scott Coltman, who gives one of the most hilarious and generally enjoyable performances as Mysterious Man. From the moment the first strange rhyme comes out of his mouth he brings great energy and grabs your attention. Towards the end of the play the Mysterious Man and the Baker (Kieran Wynne) perform a duet of No More where Coltman’s excellent voice shines through.

Act 1 contains many humorous moments such as the appearance of the Three Little Pigs jumping out of the belly of the wolf which gives the whole thing a very light, happy atmosphere. Act 2 turns dark and, with the number of deaths involved, verges on a tragedy but the Act feels slightly off. Despite slick scene changes and a well-rehearsed company, Act 2 does drag.

An amateur company producing such a professionally performed production really is a showcase of the great community work being done at the Edinburgh Playhouse.


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$11.    Susan Wales says:

August 3, 2015 at 1:52 pm

What interesting, insightful and mature pieces. Well done all three young reviewers.


Top of Form




August 10, 2015 | By Jon White5 Replies

?????      Smashing

Young critics scheme review
Broughton High School (Venue 207):
Sat 8 – Sat 15 Aug 2015

Fun and entertaining, Honk!, Anthony Drewe’s modern adaptation of The Ugly Duckling performed as part of Captivate Theatre’s three week Fringe Experience, adds depth to a timeless classic.

The play follows Ugly (Alex Gavin)’s journey from when he hatches as an outcast and then finds himself lost. He is hunted every step of the way by the not so cunning Cat (Jamie Duffy) and his diligent mother Ida (Molly Constanti). Full of heart-warming moments and humour, this is a truly emotional story of an ugly duckling’s transformative journey.


Ida (Molly Constanti) and ducklings. Photo Tony Cook

Scenes with the whole cast are a testament to director Sally Lyall’s hard work. They are well-organised and clever – especially the sequence to create the blizzard and aid Ugly’s transformation. Musical Director Ian Sutherland excels at conducting his band and, despite the large numbers, each member of the cast gives their all during songs which helps create a well-rounded choral sound.

Molly Constanti as Ida is a wonderfully strong female lead as she creates a very mumsy character and displays her emotions beautifully. Her outstanding voice is complemented by Henriette (Holly Foxwell) and Maureen (Iona Meier) inThe Joy of Motherhood. Alex Gavin, as Ugly, really shines when singing – especially in his duetHold Your Head Up Highwith Ida.

On his journey Ugly meets a whole host of different characters: the goose squadron leader Greylag (James Stark) and his wife/air hostess Dot (Frankie Blair) who promise to help him find his farm. He has an interesting encounter with domesticated pets Queenie (Lily Constanti) and Lowbutt (Orla Faith Ryan) which highlights the divide between the welcoming wild animals and the snooty domesticated ones.


Ugly (Alex Gavin) and the Bullfrogs (Callum and Joshua Grant). Photo Tony Cook

He then goes on to meet the Bullfrogs (Callum and Joshua Grant) who, through their humour and song, help him to come to terms with his looks and to not feel so downhearted. Ugly comes close to realising his swan heritage when he frees Penny (Robin McGillvray), a young swan, from a fishing line.

Drake (Aidan Cross), Ugly’s father, pulls focus well at the start of the play as he stands out amidst the farmyard chaos. His singing is excellent and he delivers some of the more humorous lines with egg-cellent poultry puns. The other ducklings (Rosy Constanti, Sophie Gee, Maddie Gee, Matthew Gavin and Lily Ewing) are adorable and perform their role of outcasting Ugly well.

A production full of outstanding performances, Captivate Theatre does this little known musical great justice. Full of jokes, enthusiasm and great songs you can’t help but leave with a smile on your face.

Running time 2 hours 15 minutes
Broughton High School (Venue 207) 29 East Fettes Avenue, EH4 1EG
Saturday 8 – Saturday 15 August 2015
Odd dates: 2pm; even dates: 6.30pm.
Book tickets on the EdFringe website:
Captivate Theatre website:




May I Have The Bill Please?

August 11, 2015 | By Jon WhiteReply

?????   A comical faff


Young critics scheme review
The Boards (Venue 59a):
Wed 5 – Sat 29 Aug 2015

Witty middleclass middle-aged comedy, May I Have The Bill Please? by Robin Mitchell overanalyses what happens when a group of adults are given the bill for a meal.

The play looks at how two couples attempt to split a bill after a meal out in a restaurant. While being served by an almost helpful waiter (Blair Grandison) every possible time-consuming scenario happens: forgotten wallets, wrong bill and much more.


Emma (Lindsey Lee Wilson) and Samuel (Blair Grandison). Photo: Playhouse

Director Liam Rudden’s decision to set this in The Boards, a bar attached to the Edinburgh Playhouse, is effective as it creates a relaxing restaurant-esque atmosphere with audience seating consisting of chairs and bar stools arranged around tables.

There are interesting dynamics between the couples. Emma (Lindsay Lee Wilson) and Michael (Edward Cory) are a sweet couple who seem to agree on most points. On the other hand Chris (John McColl) and Sandra (Donna Hazelton) have a love-hate relationship – with most of the hate directed towards Chris.

Hazelton portrays a very strong character with a hilariously scolding nature who seems to have something to say about everything. McColl as her husband gives a generally good performance but his character feels much more two dimensional and lacks emotional depth. However, his boorish interaction with the waiter is very entertaining.


Michael as a quiet, awkwardly funny man is a good pacifier for Chris’ boorish nature as the two men joke around in a classically childish way. Cory is definitely the funniest of the five as he has the best lines but they aren’t always excellently delivered.

Blair Grandison as the waiter Samuel displays a characteristically polite nature but given the clever staging it can be seen as just a façade. This adds a subtlety to some of the humour.

Although it is not quite a joke-a-minute this is still a thoroughly enjoyable, very relatable, and well-written piece.

Running time: 45 minutes
The Boards (Venue 59a), Edinburgh Playhouse, Greenside Place, EH1 3AA
Wednesday 5 – Saturday 29 Aug 2015 (not Sundays)
Daily, not Sunday, 2pm.
Book tickets on the EdFringe website:




Skins and Hoods

August 10, 2015 | By Gregor WeirReply

?????   Intense

Young critics scheme review
Institut français d’Ecosse (Venue 134):
Fri 7 – Mon 31 Aug 2015

There is an interesting perspective on discrimination and identity in Skins and Hoods at the French Institute.

Although sometimes tricky to interpret, the plot is well constructed and nicely communicated by the actors who are present both on-screen and onstage.


Moyo Akande. Photo: Albie Clark

George (Moyo Akande) is an eight year old girl who is lacking a sense of self fuelled by her mother’s lack of compassion. Her friend Mamadou (Thierry Mabonga) relates to her, which makes her wonder why they physically and culturally differ, in ways including skin colour.

As the plot develops, George is seen by others in different lights as she physically changes herself, and the main message of the play becomes apparent: nobody can change their skin colour and nobody should judge anyone based on skin colour.

The highlight of the performance comes from the blend of technology with on stage action. By having George’s mother as an on-screen projection and George being present onstage, there is a struggle to relate to her mother, creating empathy for George and communicating the idea that their relationship is far from close.

Director Matthieu Roy perfectly conducts the scenes where real actors and projected actors mix – ensuring everything is timed correctly and making for a seamless feel to the performance.


Some parts of the show can seem somewhat confusing, however. Although the basic skeleton of the plot is very apparent, the line between metaphors and key plot points can become blurry, which can be a little distracting.

The show works well with the small cast of onstage actors. Thierry Mabonga as Mamadou stands out, conveying a sense of longing and despair whilst also retaining the childhood innocence that serves us as a reminder that the story is seen through a child’s eyes. His performance seems natural and, although he features relatively briefly, he shines in a simplistic way.

Overall, the show works well as a new way of narrating familiar themes, however falls short, by being slightly confusing. The quirky, tech-heavy direction helps tie together some of the main issues faced by the characters, and makes for impressive visuals.

Skins and Hoodsis a fast-paced, surreal, but inventive, production that is sure to surprise. You will have never seen anything similar.

Running time: 45 minutes
Institut français d’Ecosse (Venue 134), 13 Randolph Crescent, EH3 7TT
Friday 7 – Monday 31 August 2015
Daily (not Mons 10, 17, 24): 2pm.
Book tickets on the EdFringe website:


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Bottom of Form

Bottom of Form






August 16, 2015 | By Jon WhiteReply

?????  Obtrusive Masterpiece

Young critics scheme review
Assembly George Square Studios (Venue 17):
Wed 5 – Mon 31 Aug 2015

Visceral images, bombarding music and the classically sorrowful plot, In Your Face Theatre immerses you in Irvine Welsh’s drug-fuelledTrainspotting.

The play deals with Mark Renton’s (Gavin Ross) relationship with heroin. In the closed-off space of Assembly George Square’s Underground the audience is close to the action as the effects of substance abuse and poverty are spewed out.


The Trainspotting cast get in your face. Photo: Christopher Tribble

True to their name the company gets in your face. They draw the audience in through whispered conversations, shoving you off your seat and screaming in your face –challenging you, the boundaries of actor-audience relationships and society. The audience stops watching and starts living the performance.

Gavin Ross as Renton is outstanding. He lays bare the character and through every deliberate stare, step and breath you see the stark detail of this lost man. His commitment and confidence are unflinching.

Phil Ryan as Simon Sick Boy, an addict friend of Renton’s, starts less strongly as he portrays a hard-nosed yet reserved character. However, he quickly gains momentum as he delivers a fixating, desperately emotional performance.

Directors Adam Spreadbury-Maher and Greg Esplin make excellent choices. The set is both grotesque and realistic which disgusts and adds to the discomfort. Throughout there is narration from Renton and the whole cast – this builds pace and tension.

claustrophobic atmosphere

In-the-round staging and the unconventional seating arrangement create a tense, claustrophobic atmosphere as characters can be surrounded by both the cast and the audience.

Alison (Erin Marshall) shows the two-faced nature of substance abuse. Marshall is completely believable as she portrays a care-free and happy woman who becomes a devastated, emotional wreck.

Swanney (Calum Douglas-Barbour) lacks believability. The Mother Superior drug-supplying character comes off as too posh and the physicality of the character suggests someone in good health.

The tension is palpable as this production bombards your emotions. Beautifully acted, well-directed and slick, this is a must-see.

Running time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Assembly George Square Studios (Venue 17) George Square, EH8 9LH

Wednedsday 5 – Monday 31 August 2015
Daily (not Tues): 6pm and 8.30pm.
Book tickets on the EdFringe website:




The Outsider

August 11, 2015 | By Gregor WeirReply

?????   Eccentric

Young critics scheme review
New Town Theatre (Venue 7):
Thurs 6 – Sat 30 Aug 2015

A humorous combination of clowning and multimedia magic makes The Outsider appeal to children and adults alike and produces a show unlike any other. This one man show is certainly a spectacle.

An alien has just landed on earth, with no concept of how humans operate. The show follows the alien as it discovers various aspects of human life, such as love, violence and work. As the show progresses the alien clones itself and we discover more about its nature.


Janne Raudaskoski and Janne Raudaskoski. Photo: Heikki Toivanen

On paper, the plot seems largely silly, but when you are witnessing a green man in neon leggings blowing bubbles at you from Planet Bubbles, it’s relatively easy to just go with the flow. The plot could, however, be a metaphor for feelings of alienation or distance that Finnish performer Janne Raudaskoski may be feeling.

Raudaskoski does a sterling job at managing 40 characters, and portraying a high level of both comedy and emotion, all through mime. However, he is merely the prop to the magical theatrics that accompany him on the two screens at either side of the stage, which he uses to make it appear as though there are many actors. The illusion works well, although can sometimes be repetitive and after the first half of the show the novelty begins to wear off.

impressive technological trickery.

One down side that comes from the performance is the pace. Although plays from continental Europe generally tend to be slower,The Outsiderdoes seem to drag a bit. At times, it feels as though the plot has to take a back-step to show off the impressive technological trickery. It would have been nice to see the two married together slightly more seamlessly.

Nevertheless, the play is filled with jokes and is very impressive in terms of the technology on display and the performer working with it in perfect harmony.The Outsideris truly funny, but it is no joke.

Running time 1 hour 10 minutes
New Town Theatre (Venue 7) Freemasons’ Hall, 96 George Street, EH2 3DH
Thursday 6 – Saturday 30 August 2015 (not Tuesday 18)
Daily, not Tuesday 18, 5.30pm.
Book tickets on the EdFringe website:
The Outsider website:




Zanna, Don’t

August 16, 2015 | By Annie BirdReply

?????  True Excellence

Young critics scheme review
C venues – C (Venue 34): Wed 5 – Mon 31 Aug 2015

Colourful, comical, and unashamedly camp, MGA’s production of Zanna, Don’t is a credit to the work of the original writer of the musical, Tim Acito.

Director Drew Gowland has also added a huge amount of hilarity with excellent casting and a vibrant overall design for the show.


Jack Nixon and the cast ofZanna Don’tPhoto: AJG Photography

The musical addresses issues of labelling, homophobia and prejudice, in a light-hearted and corny manner. It leaves you with sore ribs from laughing so hard, but also considering issues in today’s society.

It is set in the parallel world where gay is the new straight, heterophobia is the new homophobia, and everyone wears bright colours and falls in love instantly. Zanna, played by Jack Nixon, is the cupid of Heartsville High, bringing gay couples everywhere together. But when a forbidden straight couple emerges, Zanna has to face his biggest challenge yet.

Admittedly, this show may not be for everyone, but for anyone with an open mind – who doesn’t cringe at the ridiculous cheesiness of it all – it is stupendous. The scene in which the students of Heartsville High are performing a musical about straight people in the military is particularly side-splitting, and it showcases the talented ensemble which make the dance routines and songs so tight.

The acting is perhaps what makes the musical such a roaring success. Nixon, although not the strongest singer, more than makes up for it with extreme dancing talent and an acting ability worthy of the West End. Another central character is football team captain Steve, who Thomas Doherty portrays as the only male in the school who isn’t camp. This provides a great deal of comedy, and with Doherty’s acting skills the character becomes all the more memorable.

untiring energy

Elly Jay, who plays the bubbly Roberta, stands out as one of the best actors in the whole show. Her untiring energy throughout attracts the eye from the minute she first appears onstage.

The actor who makes the production the hilarious spectacle it is, is Scott Colman. He plays Arvin, the campest member of Heartsville. A boy who, despite being walked all over most of the time, still has his fair share of sassy outbursts. Colman’s use of voice and comic timing is impeccable. Kirsty Allen plays Candi alongside Colman, and her excellent, unique portrayal of this bossy school try-hard provides the perfect double act with Arvin.

It is hard to fault the production However, Gowland strays from the sweet romantic aspect at times, making it more sexual than it needs to be. For example, when the straight couple are beginning to fall in love, they both remove their tops during a song which feels unnecessary and slightly uncomfortable. However this is a small imperfection on an otherwise fantastic spectacle.

This is a vibrant must-see for anyone who loves all-singing, all-dancing explosions of camp hilarity – with a few touching moments along the way.

Running time: 1 hour 25 minutes
C venues – C (Venue 34), Chambers Street, EH1 1HR
Wednesday 5 – Sunday 30 August 2015
Daily 7.30pm
Book tickets on the EdFringe website:


Shakespeare in the Garden: Brave Macbeth

August 14, 2015 | By Jon WhiteReply

?????     Childish Brilliance

Young critics scheme review

The Famous Spiegeltent (Venue 87):
 Fri 7 – Mon 31 Aug 2015

Funny, fast and exciting, Shakespeare in the Garden: Brave Macbeth is an excellent example of children’s educational theatre done right.

Full of references to the original text and other Shakespeare plays, this simple adaptation ofMacbethis great fun for all the family. All the songs by musical director Tommie Travers and director Sarah Lyall are relevant and have a very reassuring children’s TV programme feel to them.

Macbeth (Malcolm Cumming) is portrayed as a stereotypical, cocky hero – full of himself in every way. Cumming does well at showing the dual-personality of Macbeth, in this production a strong, hot-headed warrior and a snivelling, stroppy child. His solo at the end of the play is one of the highlights of the show where he displays his versatility.

The Witches (Meg Laird-Drummond, Stacey Mitchell and Ellen McBride) are appropriate for children as they aren’t too creepy and their song and its lyrics are reassuringly stereotypical. Max Reid as Malcolm is adorable playing a young boy with his bear – Reid and Laird-Drummond’s voices stand out during songs featuring the whole cast.

Lyall’s choice of a sheet and board for various scenes is very effective. They are used by the witches to show their prophecies to Macbeth and as a table for the Banquo ghost scene. Most ingeniously they create a stage for puppets that represent MacDuff’s children and while playing they reference lines and scenes from the otherShakespeare in the Gardenproductions.

modern references

The production tries to make death funny so as not to upset children. Despite infantilizing Shakespeare, the catchy songs, modern references and even the classic Monty Python coconut horse gag make it enjoyable for adults. The pace is kept fast by humorously cutting out Macbeth’s soliloquys and omitting blackouts.

As Lady Macbeth, Sylvia Cowie does well at being persuasive and goading the men – causing them to run away crying like children – but she lacks power and hides behind good lines. Ali Robertson as MacDuff gives the most emotional performance and creates a deep and entertaining character.

Old-fashioned with modern references, the production is slick and entertaining. Most importantly it engages the audience well teaching young children about Shakespeare in an enjoyable show suitable for anyone over the age of four.

Running time: 1 hour

The Famous Spiegeltent (Venue 87), St Andrew Square, EH2 1AF
Fri 7 – Mon 31 Aug 2015
Performances: 7, 9, 11, 12, 14, 15, 18, 19, 21, 22, 25, 26, 29, 31 August
The three 
Shakespeare in the Gardens shows play two a day, daily (not Mons 10, 17 & 24) at 10.30am and 11.45am.
Book tickets on the EdFringe website:

Top of Form

Release Your Inner Cartoonist

August 14, 2015 | By Annie BirdReply

?????    Creative fun

Young critics scheme review
Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33), 
Sat 8 – Thurs 20 Aug 2015

Imaginative, amusing and jam packed with helpful tips, Harry Venning’s workshop Release Your Inner Cartoonist is great for any kids with an interest in comics and cartoons.

Or for anyone, for that matter, who simply wants to learn how to take their doodles to the next level and have a laugh while doing so.

Although the workshop is primarily for kids, every audience member is encouraged by the warm and witty Venning – an extremely successful cartoonist and comedy writer – to get scribbling and then share their work. And with the experience of drawing cartoon strips Clare in the Community for The Guardian and Hamlet in The Stage every week, he has a fair few tips to share with any aspiring cartoonists.

As Venning points out from the very beginning, no drawing skills are required, just an imagination and a sense of humour. Even parents end up sketching out a cartoon character or two, and receive positive words of encouragement as they go.

An audience member can expect to carry some cartoon drawing exercises on the clipboard and paper provided, and gradually build up skills demonstrated by Venning until, at the end, you have your very own cartoon strip, which he encourages you to share with him and the rest of the audience at the end of the workshop.

The presentation is simple, it consists of a man, a large pad of paper and some pens – but somehow it is very informative and entertaining. Perhaps not for very young children as the humour can be crude, but for ages 8 and up the workshop is engaging, helpful and a lot of fun.

Running time 1 hour
Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33), 60 Pleasance, EH8 9TJ
Saturday 8 – Thursday 20 August 2015
Daily: 11am
Book tickets on the EdFringe website:
Show website: 

Harry Venning’s exhibition of Hamlet cartoons is in the Pleasance Courtyard for the whole fringe.



Our House

August 14, 2015 | By Aran Prince-TappeReply

?????      House of Fun

Young critics scheme review
Broughton High School (Venue 207): 
Sat 8 – Sat 15 Aug 2015

Captivate Theatre deliver a smart, energetic young amateur productionOur House, performed in Broughton High School.

InOur House, a jukebox musical based on the songs of Madness and adapted by Tim Firth, two concurrent stories are told. Both are possible futures for Joe Casey who grows up in London, watching as old residential homes are torn up to make way for new developments.

In one future he makes nothing but good choices, in the other only bad ones. In one version, Joe becomes a miscreant and young offender, in the other a young entrepreneur with a thriving business. But is it possible that there’s more to life than a binary choice between the right and wrong paths?

Our Househas a very successful story, able to organically incorporate the songs into the plot without them feeling forced. Not only that, but the story manages the far from insignificant feat of running two plots simultaneously, with the same cast of actors and characters.

The two are used effectively to contrast one another, and hammer home the central message of the musical – the choices we make define us, but it’s still possible to do the wrong things for the right reasons, and vice versa.

great chemistry

Director Sally Lyall delivers a slick and effective production as part of Captivate Theatre’s summer schools programme, with smooth transitions between scenes and between the play’s two stories. However it must be said that the transitions, while smooth, are a little confusing – it is largely left to the viewer to ascertain exactly which story one is watching, which is initially a little disorientating. Although the stories become clearly distinct as the play progresses, to begin with only very minor set changes used to signify the transition.

Strong performances are delivered by the show’s eleven-strong cast. Sandy Bain is empathetic and charismatic as Joe, and has great chemistry with the show’s other lead, Stephanie Cremona, who plays Sarah, the female lead and love interest of Joe with compassion and wisdom.

The supporting cast are also excellent; Les Fulton as Joe’s regret-filled absentee father who ties the story together is a particular standout, as is the sleazy Reecey (Max Reid). The musical numbers are delivered with skill and enthusiasm by both the small cast of main characters, and the large ensemble.

Our Houseis a well-crafted exploration of morality, delivered with energy and humor by a strong cast – thoroughly entertaining.

Running time 2 hours 15 minutes
Broughton High School (Venue 207) 29 East Fettes Avenue, EH4 1EG
Saturday 8 – Saturday 15 August 2015
Even dates: 2pm; odd dates: 6.30pm.
Book tickets on the EdFringe website:
Captivate Theatre website:





Shakespeare in the

Garden: Romantic Romeo

August 13, 2015 | By Jon WhiteReply

?????   Family Fun

Young critics scheme review
The Famous Spiegeltent (Venue 87):
Fri 7 – Mon 31 Aug 2015

A cheesy, child-friendly adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, Captivate Theatre’sShakespeare in the Garden: Romantic Romeo is a fast-paced musical will appeal to all the family.

Abridged with lots of original songs by musical director Tommie Travers, this production retells Romeo and Juliet’s famous love story in a simplified way. The production lightens this tragedy by poking fun at some of the play’s more serious scenes.

Scripted by director Sarah Lyall the production strays far from the original piece but is peppered with original lines. Tom Mullins is a sarcastic Mercutio, present during the balcony scene questioning all of Romeo’s supposedly romantic lines.

James Leggat overacts entertainingly to create a loveable, airheaded Romeo. This display of melodrama is well-balanced by Stacey Mitchell’s performance as Juliet especially her wonderful voice. Their relationship in this piece is less romantic and feels more like a cute playground affair.

In this small, well-rehearsed cast there is great conviction for their joker roles but this does not distract from their singing and the wonderful choral sound they create – Meg Laird-Drummond’s voice as Lady Capulet is outstanding. The cast engages well with the audience; Ellen McBride as Rosaline and Hag acts well and catches the eye in all of her minor roles.


The most hilarious and impressive performance of this production comes from Ross Hunter as Juliet’s Nursey. Hunter provides an outstanding female voice – both speaking and singing – and seems extremely comfortable and confident in the dress. As Nursey he becomes the source of much of the humour and the Nurse’s song is incredibly catchy. Some of the other songs, though catchy, are slightly too fast-paced, meaning that many of the lyrics are missed through poor enunciation.

The production is childish but the way that it pokes fun at Shakespeare and the constant foreshadowing of Romeo and Juliet’s deaths will appeal to an older audience – even if the song justifying their deaths is patronising. A great, gentle introduction of Shakespeare for any child over the age of four.

Running time: 1 hour
The Famous Spiegeltent (Venue 87), St Andrew Square, EH2 1AF
Fri 7 – Mon 31 Aug 2015
Performances: 7, 8, 11, 13, 14, 16, 18, 20, 21, 23, 25, 27, 30, 31 August
The three
Shakespeare in the Gardensshows play two a day, daily (not Mons 10, 17 & 24) at 10.30am and 11.45am.
Book tickets on the EdFringe website:
Or the ARfringe website:
Company website:


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Drama Studio Information

(And Terms and Conditions) 

Class Climate

We aim to treat all students as individuals working and learning together in a supportive and relaxed environment which at the same time challenges creativity so that everyone can achieve his/her potential.  

Child Protection

All Drama Studio Associate Teachers and Administration Associates must have an Enhanced Disclosure or be PVG Scheme members.


The Drama Studio holds personal information in the strictest confidence. Click on the link here to see our updated Privacy Policy in line with new GDPR regulations. 


All students and teachers will treat each other with respect. While Drama is an excellent vehicle for channelling challenging behaviour, we will not tolerate bullying. Disrespect or abuse towards others will result in exclusion from our classes.

Parental Concerns

Should parents have any concerns about their child within the class environment these should be raised with the Teacher or Director without delay. Most issues are best dealt with as soon as possible.

Should parents have a more serious issue it should be brought directly to the attention of the Directors Louise and Julie.

These issues should be dealt with respectfully and professionally by both parties.



Fees are due before the start of the term and early payment of fees is an indicator of commitment and may affect allocation of drama roles.

Any alteration to fee arrangements must be agreed in advance.

Weekly Class Fee Refunds

The Drama Studio is committed to pay Hall fees and Class Teacher fees and can only do so based on class bookings and student commitment to the term.

Refunds will be given if parents cancel the class prior to the start of term and a £5 fee will be charged for refunds.


For new students we offer a FREE TRIAL one-off class to try it before paying for a term fee.

This trial class is not available at school based clubs.

We regret we cannot give term refunds of any kind after the term has started.

Holiday School Refunds

A £5 fee will be charged for refunds requested before the two week period prior to the start of the Holiday School.

After that period we cannot give Holiday School refunds. 

We cannot give refunds should students become ill or injured either at the Drama class or outwith it during term-time or holiday clubs.

Class Cancellation

Should we have to cancel a class due to teacher illness or unavailability that class will be credited or refunded to the students.

Classes may also be cancelled due to venue closures (and at times such as bad weather conditions, in schools with staff issues etc).

The Drama Studio has no control over venue closures and has a commitment to pay all Tutors and Admin Staff who are available and able to work. We cannot therefore instantly give credits for these types of cancellations. However after 2 consecutive sessions of disruption we will apply the refund/credit policy from then.

Door Policy

Each of our venues has it’s own unique door policy and parents and children will be made aware of the procedure for the start, changeover and finish of classes. We insist that parents of young children (under 7) bring them into the venues and come in to collect them.

Health and Safety

Children will be made aware of fire procedures and safety issues where appropriate to each venue. We are fully insured under NODA by Groupama Insurances

Other Drama Studio Policies

The Drama Studio has in place policies on Child Protection. Health and Safety, Discipline, Complaints, Security at Venues, Risk Assessments, Equality and Equal Opportunities, Client Privacy, Professional conduct.



At the end of three terms students will have the opportunity to present their plays and show to an audience of family and friends usually within the drama class time. We do have theatre opportunities for teenage students and also for selected junior groups from time to time. Performing is not compulsory and for children who do not wish to do so we will arrange for them to be involved in another aspect of the show such as lighting, costumes and props etc


Most children love to perform their plays and it is a highlight and an important part of their development. We feel very strongly that the children are supported fully in their performances and ask that our audiences kindly respect this. For this reason we offer crèche facilities where possible in many of our venues for toddler siblings who do become understandably restless during the show. We ask that show day is seen as that special moment for older siblings.

Filming and Photographs

The Drama Studio on occasion films shows and workshops. We do this for the following reasons:

1. For Drama Teacher Training and Resources both online and in Teacher In- Service Courses.

2. For our young students to watch their Drama in progress and to learn from it.

3. For specific student filming projects.

4. For promotional reasons - our Drama Studio website and Social Media pages.

We have an opt-out policy whereby we will assume that parents agree to the above unless they tell us otherwise.

We also believe that the very nature of Drama lends itself to film and photography and by capturing these magical moments we have an invaluable record of childhood for parents and children to cherish forever.

If parents wish to film shows we ask that they do not use flash photography and that photographs and films are strictly for private viewing and will not be posted on any online platform.

Should parents not wish for their children to be filmed during a show they must advise us and we will offer an alternative activity on show day for their child.

Please note that we do not allow the students in our classes to film or take photographs of each other doing Drama. We make a special emphasis on this point with our Senior and Teenage classes and while it is very difficult with mobile phone culture as it is, to guarantee, we will do our best to ensure that it does not happen.


The Drama Studio has a Casting Agency and our students are welcome to join. Producers of film, TV and radio often contact us looking for young people for acting roles or even in pilot workshops to trial ideas. These castings and workshops are usually great fun and even if students do not get selected for the final piece, the experience is usually character forming. Again if parents do not wish their children to be considered for these types of projects please let us know.

This is a free service and parents will be asked to complete a Casting Agreement Form for us. Should a teacher put a student forward who has not yet completed a form the same Terms and Conditions will apply.

Talented Children

Some of our younger talented children may be invited to join one of our Senior/teenage Theatre groups to take part in one of their productions. This opportunity is only open to those who attend a weekly class with us already and is not a replacement for that class but an extension to it at a much reduced cost.


Online Classes

During the Lockdown we have been successfully running Drama Classes Online. Most parents are familiar with the format and we have been able to adapt our normal content to it.

The students need access to a computer and can be logged in via email. Your privacy regarding these details is the same as in our Privacy Policy.

We will follow the guidance on protecting children during the Zoom classes. Students will initially be held in the Waiting Room and only admitted if we recognise their emails. We will limit chat and screen share controls.

We will be teaching the students about the Zoom controls and monitoring what they can and cannot do during a class. Some of the time will be spent altogether in what is called the Main Room where everyone can see everyone else. 

We will ensure that the activities themselves are safe and will be giving safety briefings where appropriate.

For older students (age 10+) we will do the class groupwork in Breakout Rooms which the teachers will visit to ensure that everyone is on task.

For students aged 7-9 years the Breakout rooms will be supervised by a teacher at all times.

As the students are not within a normal class setting we ask that parents check that the room in which the students will be doing the class is safe for them as The Drama Studio cannot provide overall supervision of each child in each home. 

For younger children (age 5-7) we ask that children are within sight of a parent and again please ensure a safe area as younger students are more likely to be moving around in a space. Tables and chairs for example should be moved to the side and children briefed in advance as to where they can safely do the drama activities.

We ask also that children are not eating during the classes as we recognise this to be a potential choking factor when they are talking excitedly or moving around and for these reasons we do not allow it in our regular classes.

We will be producing fims/footage from the sessions for parents to download at the end of a full block (10 sessions). This is strictly for your own private use and should not be shared on social media.

We would like to use some of the footage from the online classes to accompany our Teacher Training Online Lessons. This is invaluable for other Drama teachers to see how to adapt class Drama online and is only available to qualified teachers via private links accompanying their Teaching Lesson Plans. 

If you do not wish your child to be shown do let us know and we can blank out their video screens from the Zoom room windows.

If you have any questions regarding these classes please get in touch.

We value constructive feedback from you on any of our services.



Drama Studio News

OutreachEdinburghLeicesterCardiff October 2018 


JUNE 6th 2018

Our Senior Film Awards Ceremony takes place at the Hilton Hotel.


Click here to see  Drama Studio student achievements originating from opportunities offered through The Drama Studio Casting Agency.  

The Drama Studio has recently become the latest quality assured partner on the Creativity Portal.

Creativity Portal page


Katie McWilliams Comes Third In National Burns Competition

Katie McWilliams Burns

Congratulations to Drama Studio student Katie McWilliams who came 3rd out of 25 competitors in her poetry recital category at the National Burns Competition! Well done Katie.



David Carnie In Copycats TV 

David Carnie and his family team have made it on to the CBBC programme Copycats. We look forward to seeing the show!


 Drama Studio Film Awards 2016

This year's Drama Film Awards for our Senior Students is to be held at The Grosvenor Hilton Hotel on 8th June. Our Senior Students topic this year is Crime Fiction and we all all very excited to be judging all the films and then presenting the winners at this red-carpet Oscars style event complete with film footage, mocktails, buffet and disco ! Our special guest and Awards Presenter will be Crime Writer Ian Rankin.


 Eilidh Achieves Outstanding School Drama Success

Eilidh Grubb

Eilidh Grubb from Juniper Green has been awarded The John Black Memorial Prize for Drama at her school - Currie High School.

This is a major school achievement and we wish her huge congratulations!


 Lewis MacDougall In Feature Films

Fantastic achievement for  Drama Studio student Lewis MacDougall who stars as Lost Boy Nibs in a Warner Brothers film called Pan. 


Lewis takes a lead role in A Monster Calls alongside Sigourney Weaver and Liam Neeson to be released in October 2016



Lewis MacDougall small



Drama Studio's 12 year old Lois Ambrose is Finalist in Class Clowns, Gilded Balloon at The Fringe 2015!

Read here about Lois's experience.        


New York Theatre Success For Former Drama Studio Students

Former Drama Studio students Cristian Ortega and Rebecca Benson (Smith) have just completed a very successful run of Let The Right

One In in New York.

Cris from Currie attended our classes in Juniper Green and then Viewforth from age 6-17 years before going on to the Royal

Conservatoire of Scotland where he graduated.

Rebecca came to our Colinton group and then to Viewforth and it was here that they first met.

Read about their New York Show here :

Edinburgh stage stars win glittering reviews in New York with performance as vampire lovers

Cris and Rebecca

Alex and Lawrie Tice- Young In Homecoming Scotland

Lawrie and Alex Crop

Congratulations to Drama Studio students Lawrie and Alexandra Tice- Young in the Visit Scotland and Homecoming Scotland 2014 Hogmanay Campaign.

Here they are in the Thursday 7th Nov Evening News.





 4 stars rating "Standing, whooping ovation. Barely a dry headlamp in the house" Daily Mail



Davidson's Mains Drama Students Performing At Alzheimer Scotland

Event On Saturday 28th September

"Just a wee message to say thank you for your help with yesterday's event. The drama show was very good, I've had a lot of

positive feed back from people.  The event was well supported and a good success.  The money has been counted we covered all event

expenses and also made £1,000 profit for Alzheimer Scotland, thank you again" Jennifer Grant, Organiser

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Some Of Our Davidson's Mains Drama Students Involved In Australian TV

                                                                            Film Wacky World Beaters


"It's the coolest thing I have EVER done!" Rosie (student)

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Luke Gordon In Our Glass House, Edinburgh Fringe

Luke - Glass House

Congratulations !!! To Drama Studio student Luke Gordon who appeared in Our Glass House in the Fringe this year, given 4 stars from The Metro.

Read about it here


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 Keith Ramsay In Billy Liar





Keith attended drama classes with us from the age of 6 coming to our Colinton classes and then to our Theatre

Group at Viewforth. We remember his fantastic performances back then !

BILLY LIAR -  INDEPENDENT Review - 5 stars




Title of Show:

Love is in the Heir


The Drama Studio



Date of visit:

16th March 2012

Type of Production:


Reviewed by:

Dorothy Johnstone


Louise Arbuckle & Scott Cruickshank

Musical Director:




It's always such fun visiting productions by the youngsters in the Drama Studio. In this instance, this talented group of teenagers had obviously spent a great deal of time and effort creating the storyline for this "romantic" piece set in medieval times. The end result was a very cleverly put together script which was fresh and humorous. The dialogue was delivered in true medieval style with costumes, music and well selected back projected images all adding to the style of the production. Improvisation requires a great deal of skill and these youngsters had no difficulty conveying the mood and action of the plot using very few props but rather effectively using mime.
The different characters were all very well portrayed. Good King Caractacus (Kerr Syme) amused us with his dry humour while Tom White was a nimble, acrobatic Cecil the Jester. Prince Leofrick , who was in search of a wife, was very ably played by Ihsan Kerr who not only acted well but sang and accompanied himself on his guitar to a love song which he wrote himself. The Commoners were a very good contrast to the aristocracy with their "country bumpkin" style accents while the princesses all looked good and convinced us of their individual characters.
All in all this was a most refreshing production full of fun and I suspect a few "ad libs" which all worked adding to the enjoyment of the evening. Good work!


Title of Show:



Drama Studio



Date of visit:

3rd December 2011

Type of Production:


Reviewed by:

Dorothy Johnstone


Louise Arbuckle & Lindsay Spear

Musical Director:




It is so refreshing to watch a production which is non-scripted and allows its players to be creative and interpret a story in their own way. The youngsters from the Drama Studio did this most successfully. Sticking to the traditional story of Aladdin with all it's well known characters, they had developed their own script using dialogue which was meaningful to them enabling the performers to give a relaxed and natural interpretation of the plot and it's characters. Ellie Simpson as narrator projected well and kept the storyline moving along. Charlie West, a natural comedian was a most amusing Sultana while Olivia Marshall ( Abanazar) and Elle Smart ( Iago) were a good double act. Alexander Cowan was a charming Aladdin and Ciatlyn Mc Farlane's characterisation of Wishy Washy was very funny indeed. All of the cast members put heart and soul into their portrayal of the various characters and it was such a joy to see every youngster on stage obviously having such fun. The singers and dancers too were in fine form performing a variety of dance styles including jazz, belly dancing, cha cha and modern dance. They were especially dynamic in the routine " Don't Stop Believing " with it's amusing topical lyrics written by the youngsters and "Lean on Me" which made a rousing finale. I was impressed with the careful choice of music and the colourful back projected Arabian pictures which effectively changed the scenes throughout . It's amazing too how different setting can be created but simply moving a few chairs. With very few props, the clever use of mime and improvisation conveyed exactly what was happening. This hour  long production was such great fun to watch and was enjoyed by both cast and audience. Well done.

Case Histories BBC - 2011

Congratulations to Rory Barraclough who had just landed the part of the young character part played by Actor Jason Isaacs in this forthcoming BBC1 series.

Rory narrowly missed selection for Single Father which is currently screening and Emma Murray was also recalled for the main young female part. Never mind, you both did really well to get so far.

Edinburgh Fringe 2010

Drama Studio students Kirsten Hunter, Heather Philp and Anna Harris have starred in The Lady Garden this year. Well done girls!

Great News For Cris !

Ex - Drama Studio student Cris Ortega has been accepted to do a BA Hons in Acting at The Royal Scottish Academy. Cris was a Drama Studio student for 10 years.

Copy Cats - Congratulations !


Connor Quinn at his team are to take part in this games show for CBBC to be filmed during July 2010. They had great fun at the auditions so the real thing should be a fantastic experience for the adults and children. We will post programme details when they come in!

News has just reached us that Connor Quinn and his Team have won the Copycats gameshow. His mum Janis  has kindly sent us a review of the experience.

"Connor has been attending The Drama Studio for over 5 years now and has been to
many auditions/castings and was lucky enough to be accepted along with myself, 2 other adults and 2 friends to take part in the 'Copycats' TV show. The experience was absolutely fantastic for all concerned.
Without The Drama Studios input throughout the years from all the Staff this would never have been achievable.
So many thanks to Julie and all at The Drama Studio for what has been a wonderful and memorable experience." (Janis McCusker)


As part of the pre-school series Mighty Mites, Wish Films were at our Fairmilehead venue last week filming a Creative workshop led by teacher Louise Arbuckle for CBeebies. The programme encourages children to Get up !Get out ! and do it ! Children taking part were Jessica Miles, Calum Rennie, Lois Ambrose, Tait Sutherland, Lucas Grubb, Nathan O'Donnell,Libby Simpson,Isabella Della Sala,Tamzyn Craig, Luke Gordon and Miles Barraclough. Watch this space for programme details.

BBC Children's Game Show - Relic

Following a Casting workshop at The Drama Studio, students Anthony Buchanan, Rory Barraclough and Sophie Williams have attended the first shoot in London for the launch of this exciting new game show. Rory Barraclough said "It was really good . The sets were amazing and when the three of us did the first game and all of us got it right, they had to shoot it again ! The hotel wasn't exactly five star however."


Primary Park Film

Drama Studio student Luke Watson successfully gained a part in this film after the auditons on Friday. Well done Luke and thanks to all who went along !


Honk - Well done everyone !

We would like to say a big thank you and well done to everyone who took part in the Honk Casting. Congratulations to Susannah Law, Millie Polson, Charlie West, Megan Cash, Gregor Weir, Aidan Vernel, Susannah Smith, Anna Harris and Beth Anderson who were chosen for the show.



Fringe Show Experience For Two Drama Studio Students

Sophie Williams and Emma Murray were recently selected to take part in Tempo Musical Productions The Rink which was part of the Edinburgh Fringe.

Both girls had a terrific time on stage and off stage and we thank the company for their kindness to them making the experience truly unforgettable.

""Emma and Sophie were a much admired and talented addition to the cast of The Rink.  From their auditions to their final performances, they showed a dedication towards the rehearsals that would have put many a professional actor to shame.  It was a privelege to work with them and watch them develop.  Their confidence, characterisation, charm and witty delivery stole the show on a nightly basis and I believe that much of this ability is thanks to their training and the support from staff at The Drama Studio." Susie Dumbreck, Director

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See All Our Recent Casting Successes Here 


Drama Studio Teacher Louise In Children's Book Promotion

Louise Arbuckle, Associate teacher with The Drama Studio, featured as Fairy Godmother Whimbrel at an interactive storytelling promotion at The Book Festival.


'The Drama Studio really helped me out when I needed a fairy for the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Louise was brilliant she had the character of Fairy Godmother Whimbrel down to a tee and was fantastic at interacting with all the kids.' Sally Oliphant, Usborne Books.


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