Nanakuli High and Intermediate School Performing Arts Center's Journey to Scotland

Follow the adventures of the Nanakuli High and Intermediate School Performing Arts Center's Journey to Scotland and the 2011 Fringe Festival.

We will post updates as we prepare on this once in a lifetime experience for cast and crew.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Questions about AHSTF and Fringe Trip

Recently, we have received some questions regarding our trip to Scotland and our performance at the Fringe Festival.  Specifically, questions about the selection process (as anyone can perform at the Fringe Festival) and about the cost of the whole tour.
The American High School Theatre Festival is the organization that conducts the selection process as well as setting up performances and the tours.  We asked Jennifer Arrington from the American High School Theatre Festival to comment on these questions.  

Now to address the concerns: 
1) Can't just anyone perform at the Fringe? This is true, the 
Fringe is, and always has been, open to any and all performers. AHSTF is 
built with a selective process in order to provide our participants with 
an experience they cannot have unless they are traveling as part of a 
particular festival. This is why we created our nomination and 
application processes. 
As you know, before any school can apply, they must be nominated by a 
theater professional or alumni of AHSTF. Just being nominated means that 
a theater professional feels that the work you and your students are 
doing merits being called "one of the top high school theater programs" 
the professional knows of. However, just being nominated does not mean 
you can travel. As you have experienced, all nominated schools must 
complete an in depth application. This is more than just school name and 
address, it strives to give us and our Board a good understanding of 
your theater program and the students within it. As I'm sure you can 
attest, it also takes a substantial amount of time to complete our 
application. Once received from the school, every application is sent to 
our Board of Advisors (made up of college/university theater 
professionals) for review and ranking. It's from these rankings that 
schools are selected to participate in AHSTF. This second hurdle, that 
of being highly ranked by our Board, should also make the school feel 
very proud of their selection. Not only have you been nominated, but you 
have also been highly ranked (based on your application). This process 
is why, we believe, the school should consider their selection an honor. 
As you have already seen, the nomination for your students was quite 
impressive. You were nominated by: 
Elizabeth Wickman-Wozniak of the Mid-Pacific Institute 
Miguel Bray of the Waimea Community Theatre 
Erich Steinwandt of Manoa Valley Theatre 
Joe Pattie of Leeward Community College 
Additionally, Elizabeth Wickman-Wozniak had this to say about you: 
He's won the Milken award - performs in cafeteria and in low 
socioeconomic area has 95-98% of his students go to college. 
This is a great example of how our nomination process provides us with 
the names of high quality high school programs. The application and 
Board ranking processes that follows allows us to be even more selective 
when inviting schools to perform as part of AHSTF.   
2) Questioning of cost? As mentioned in point 1, anyone can travel 
and perform at the Fringe. If you were to coordinate an experience like 
this on your own, I question whether it would be cheaper than our 
program and I know it definitely would not include everything that we 
provide. Just to point out a few of these differences: 
The difference in traveling on your own to perform at the Fringe vs. 
traveling with AHSTF is that on your own, you will need to book and 
confirm everything on yourself (this includes researching and confirming 
venue space, transportation (both to/from the UK as well as with the 
UK), accommodations, meals, working with the Fringe office, insurance 
and everything else that is included in your trip. Your group would also 
be "on their own" once in the UK. You would not have the interaction 
with other students that you have with AHSTF and would not have the 
support of our staff (or anyone else) if anything went wrong on your 
As you know with AHSTF, all of this is provided. Not only do we research 
and confirm venues, but we also provide the Technical/Theatre Team to 
assist you prior to and during your performance. In addition, the venues 
we select are also outfitted (by us) with standard light and sound plots 
that all of our groups can use at no additional charge. As you know, 
many Fringe "theaters" can be pubs, meeting rooms, etc. that are often 
not outfitted at all. We also coordinate the accommodations, 
transportation (both to/from the UK as well as inside the UK), 2 meals 
per day, sightseeing, the Tattoo and more. While traveling, you have 
access to our staff 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in case any issues 
arise. Hopefully we've planned things in a manner that no issues do 
arise, but it's good to know there is someone there to help if they do - 
even if it's just that a participant must travel home early due to a 
family emergency. 
As you can see, there are some meaningful components that we provide 
that would be difficult (some would actually be impossible to provide - 
for example, your performance times with AHSTF are staggered with some 
early and some late whereas if you booked this on own they would be all 
at the same time with the most desirable times coming at the highest 
cost). However, perhaps the most important difference about traveling as 
a part of AHSTF vs. on your own is the interaction your students have 
with students from throughout the United States and Canada. The 
"festival" atmosphere by having everyone stay together, perform at the 
same venues, support each other's shows and all the other interactions 
they have together is invaluable (at least we think so!). 
Please let us know if you have any questions or need anything else. I 
hope you find this helpful! 

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