Grads make Stagestruck finals

Sep 8 2011 | By More

Edinburgh Graduate Theatre Group to appear on Sky Arts’ Stagestruck series

Still from the Grads video enty for the Stagestruck competition directed by David Grimes. Act 1 Scene 4 of Christopher Marlowe's Edward II, with Matt Davies as Edward II, Ross Hope as Gaveston, Rhiannon King as Isabella and Jo Butt as Mortimer.

By ThomDibdin

Edinburgh Graduate Theatre Group, the Grads, have made it through to the last eight of Sky Arts’ series Stagestruck, which will give one amateur company the chance to perform a play in a West End theatre.

The Grads went through on the public vote in the initial round of the competition.  Thy are joining two other Scottish amateur companies in the final, Crossmichael Drama Club from the Castle Douglas area of Galloway and the Strathclyde Theatre Group which, until recently, was based at the Ramshorn Theatre in the centre of Glasgow.

David Grimes, who directed the Grads audition video, told the Annals: “We’re absolutely thrilled to have been selected as one of the eight finalists for Stagestruck. Even more so to have been selected by the public vote. After all, these are the people who buy the tickets, not only to our shows but to those of the judges as well.”

A total of 50 companies entered the competition, submitting a five minute video of a scene from a long list of audition pieces. Of these, 20 companies were chosen to be subject to the public vote on the Stagestruck website. The competition judges – actress Miriam Margolyes, critic Quentin Letts and producer Bill Kenwright – picked their favourite seven videos – with the final place going to the group with the largest number of public votes from among the remaining entries.

Grimes added that: “To have that kind of support selecting the group is flattering, humbling and extremely gratifying. We look forward to bringing our best to the competition and hope not to let the public down.”

The remaining rounds will see the eight companies competing against each other by performing scenes from well known plays in front of the judges. The whole series is due for transmission on Sky Arts in the summer of 2012, with the winning company getting to stage a play in London’s West End with “a minimum of eight weeks rehearsal and a realistic budget to prepare for the big night!” according to Sky Arts.

The next stage of the competition sees the final eight divided so that four will perform a scene from a comedy and four a scene from a tragedy.  The groups will have at least five weeks to rehearse their scene and each will have a star mentor, who will spend a day doing a workshop to help prepare them for judging.

Having performed their scene for the judges in a regional theatre, two each from the tragedy and comedy sides will be chosen to go forward to the Shakespeare round. Here, the two winning comedy companies will perform tragedies or history plays – and the tragedy companies perform comedies. Once again there will be five weeks rehearsal and a day’s workshop with the star mentor.

The final round will see the two remaining companies performing a scene from a play of their choice.

The Grads video audition, directed by David Grimes.
Act 1 Scene 4 of Christopher Marlowe’s Edward II, with Matt Davies as Edward II, Ross Hope as Gaveston, Rhiannon King as Isabella and Jo Butt as Mortimer.

The full list of Stagestruck finalists is here

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