UCS pupils take hard-hitting production of Junk to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival
- Credit: Archant
A group of sixth formers at a Hampstead school are taking the sights and sounds of north London to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe for their latest production.
The 16 to 18-year-old students from University College School (UCS), Frognal, will be performing an adaptation of Melvin Burgess’ acclaimed novel Junk at the arts festival this month.
The hard-hitting interpretation tackles the relationship between teenagers and adults in a middle-class small town setting, as well as smoking, alcohol, drugs, theft and prostitution.
Jess Bernberg, UCS pupil and co-producer, said: “It has always been my dream to take a play up to the Edinburgh Festival and for people to see something I’ve helped to create.
“It’s a really emotive adaptation. It conveys how kids can be bored by the often patronising adult word, but it also shows how quickly children can be caught up in dangerous activities.”
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The 12 cast members were required to endure an intense, Shakespearean-style rehearsal schedule in June and July, owing to the late finish to the A-level exam period this academic year.
“It was all ‘very UCS’ really,” said Jess, 17, who lives in Harman Drive, Fortune Green. “We had some 13-hour rehearsals, which were rather intense. There was no air conditioning, but the banter remained excellent.
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“We are really lucky to have the chance to do something as big as the Edinburgh Fringe at such a young age.”
The UCS drama department has an accomplished repertoire of avant-garde and witty productions, including Julius Caesar set to the music of Bruce Springsteen and Dodgeball: The Musical.
The most recent play, which took place at the school’s Great Hall, was a dramatic reading of GCSE set-text An Inspector Calls and was attended by notable critics including BBC presenters Fiona Bruce and Tom Sutcliffe.
Junk lead actor Paddy Echlin, 17, of Camden Town, said: “It’s great to work at a school where drama is taken so seriously and we are given the opportunity to show our ability in a variety of ways.” He added: “Assuming everyone behaves themselves in Edinburgh, we hope to give the school a good name.”
* The stage adaptation of Junk is at Edinburgh Festival Fringe C (+3) venue 34 until Saturday.