Essential Theatre ready for Scotland


Cast members of The Mississippi Delta running lines a couple hours before opening night.

Before the audience took their seats, Essential Theatre members were busy preparing last Thursday for the opening night of their benefit performance in Tucker Hall.

In addition to opening night jitters, the cast and crew prepared to take their show, “From the Mississippi Delta,” overseas to the 2018 Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland.

Two years ago, Anedra Small, director of “From the Mississippi Delta” and an assistant professor of theatre, decided to voice her interest with Valencia Matthews, the dean of the College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities. She said she wanted to take some of Florida A&M’s students to Scotland for the festival.

“The Edinburgh festival is the largest performing arts festival in the world,” said Small. “I thought it was really important for the students to have the chance to experience it.”

According to Small, the festival occurs in Scotland every summer during the entire month of August. The annual event takes place in order to gather people from all over the world to showcase their shows and celebrate fine arts.

“Last year, the dean, the technical director of the show and I had a chance to fly overseas and check out the festival,” said Small. “It was exactly how I pictured it. The festival was filled with pure art. We got to see plays being performed on streets, in nightclubs, on stages and pretty much everywhere.”

Small explained that over the past year the Essential Theatre has received various donations to help fund the students’ trip to Scotland. The benefit concert was held on campus in order to help the cast and crew raise a few additional funds before heading on their flight on Tuesday.

“We feel really good about this trip and we’ve almost raised all the funds that we need for our trip,” said Kimberly Harding, director of Marketing, Ticket Sales and Services and an associate professor of theatre. “Thankfully, most of our bills are paid and we’ve had a lot of help from people who have donated to us and fundraised for us.”

Tiana Jarrell, 21, a fourth-year technical theatre major and stage manager, explained her excitement for traveling overseas.

“I have stage managed a couple of shows for the Essential Theatre before and when I heard that they were going to Scotland I just knew I had to jump on board,” said Jarrell. “Everyone has been working so hard. However, I feel like a lot of us (students) haven’t let the fact that we’re going to Scotland sink in, but we couldn’t be more excited and I know that Scotland is going to be a wonderful experience.”