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  Edinburgh Fringe FestivalApr 21, 2014 10:41 AMSamantha Elkins
  RE:Edinburgh Fringe FestivalApr 22, 2014 8:30 AMRobert Putka
  RE:Edinburgh Fringe FestivalApr 23, 2014 8:25 AMLisa Houston
  RE:Edinburgh Fringe FestivalApr 23, 2014 8:26 AMJill Campbell
  RE:Edinburgh Fringe Festival
Apr 23, 2014 10:01 AMMichael Fisher
  RE:Edinburgh Fringe FestivalApr 24, 2014 11:32 AMRuben Van Kempen
  RE:Edinburgh Fringe Festival
Apr 25, 2014 3:48 PMMichael Fisher
  RE:Edinburgh Fringe FestivalApr 23, 2014 9:55 AMNicole Morgan
  RE:Edinburgh Fringe FestivalApr 23, 2014 10:17 AMMolly Cornwell
  RE:Edinburgh Fringe FestivalApr 23, 2014 11:10 PMPhillip Rayher
  RE:Edinburgh Fringe FestivalApr 22, 2014 11:29 AMAmy Bussey
  Edinburgh Theatre FestivalApr 23, 2014 8:46 AMSusan Cortesi
  RE:Edinburgh Theatre FestivalApr 23, 2014 8:47 AMSusan Cortesi
  RE:Edinburgh Theatre FestivalApr 23, 2014 2:11 PMRob Duval
  RE:Edinburgh Fringe FestivalApr 23, 2014 9:39 PMEd Como
 

1.
Edinburgh Fringe Festival
From: Samantha Elkins
To: Open Forum
Posted: Apr 21, 2014 10:41 AM
Subject: Edinburgh Fringe Festival
Message:

Recently, my students have been chosen to attend the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland August 2015 through the American High School Theatre Festival. Has anyone gone before? How can I get my community to rally behind this achievement to help us raise money? I'm meeting with a lot of resistance and have no clue how to combat it and get the funds we need to go. 
Thanks!
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Samantha Elkins
Columbia SC
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2.
RE:Edinburgh Fringe Festival
From: Robert Putka
To: Open Forum
Posted: Apr 22, 2014 8:30 AM
Subject: RE:Edinburgh Fringe Festival
Message:

We went to the Fringe last August, and it was an awesome experience! Well worth the hard work to raise funds to go. We were able to defray each student's cost to attend by about 1,700.00 each through group fundraising, making it a bit more accessible. I did find some resistance from students, but certainly not my principal. We are now preparing to attend again in 2015. I am finding that some of the students that went are very interested in going again. It appears that once the kids and parents hear what it was all about, it seems that more want to participate.
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Robert Putka
Stow-Munroe Falls H.S.
Stow, Ohio
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3.
RE:Edinburgh Fringe Festival
From: Lisa Houston
To: Open Forum
Posted: Apr 23, 2014 8:25 AM
Subject: RE:Edinburgh Fringe Festival
Message:
We went to the Fringe in 2007 and 2012. We raised approximately $21,000 for the first trip and over $65,000 for the second trip. AHSTF, in my opinion, is a top-notch organization. Could you go to the Fringe for a cheaper price per person? Most definitely. Would you want to do the leg-work on your own? I don't think so. AHSTF takes you through the entire process from scouting the venue the previous summer through the fundraising, marketing, tech requirements, and the actual trip. We are also hoping to return again. There is no better way to train your actors and technicians to be true professionals than the experience of fundraising for and taking this trip. There is a huge difference between the way the students who travelled with us approach every moment of the theatrical process and those who did not. A selling point for your administration is that it is a way to get the name of your school, district, and hometown out into the world. There is also a push for global education in the 21st Century skills and common core. This is global education at its finest.
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Lisa Houston
Pennington NJ
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4.
RE:Edinburgh Fringe Festival
From: Jill Campbell
To: Open Forum
Posted: Apr 23, 2014 8:26 AM
Subject: RE:Edinburgh Fringe Festival
Message:
Agreed! One of the best travel and performance experiences I have ever had with my students and well worth the time and fund raising. We last attended in 2005 and will return this August. Students who worked at some independent fund raising (overseen and organized by us) along with our larger whole Troupe efforts have raised more than 2/3 of their costs. The American High School Theatre Festival is the finest group of organizers I have had the pleasure of working with. I can't wait to attend again with my students. Personal connections are the key to fund raising and parents are key to making those connections. Our parent fund raising committee meets monthly and each parent has chaired an event that they hope will raise at least $1,000. Some have raised more, some less. Students sent letters to get sponsors beginning with a $10 donation and have had much success. The Troupe sold special program ads and established Fringe Festival Sponsor Circles. The American High School Festival supplies a lot of links and ideas as well and some of them worked really well for us.

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Jill Campbell
Pine Grove Mills PA
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5.
RE:Edinburgh Fringe Festival
From: Michael Fisher
To: Open Forum
Posted: Apr 23, 2014 10:01 AM
Subject: RE:Edinburgh Fringe Festival
Attachment(s):
Message:
I've taken groups twice to the Fringe, 2005 and 2010, neither time with AHSTF. It is an INCREDIBLE experience, but you can do a much better experience for less than half of what AHSTF charges. We performed 11 times over 17 days in 2005, 22 times in 2010! Students saw 2 or more festival, not AHSTF, shows a day, we provided them a per diem that covered all meals, and we toured castles and the Scotland country side. We creates our own experience and, best of all for us, our students were treated as peers amongst the other performers. It was incredible to be in the midst of the entire festival, not just camped out with all the rest of the high schools out at Pollack halls.
Email me and I can send you the contact info for how to do it on your own! It is an AMAZING experience!
Michale

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Michael Fisher
School Director
Springfield OR
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6.
RE:Edinburgh Fringe Festival
From: Ruben Van Kempen
To: Open Forum
Posted: Apr 24, 2014 11:32 AM
Subject: RE:Edinburgh Fringe Festival
Message:
I agree with you on all accounts Jill!  I did the first AHSTF in 1996 and loved the experience. The AHSTF staff did an outstanding job on all accounts.   I did it again in 2006, but ON MY OWN!  The price in 1996 was $3,381.00 per student for housing, 1 meal a day, the West End for two days, the day in the Trossachs and performing 4 shows a bus ride away from the city.  My friend, Michael Fisher, EdTA mentor, introduced me to doing it on my own - as he had done.  So, in 2006, I did the same trip sans the Tattoo, for a total of $3,400.00 per student - compared to the $6,000.00 they were charging from the West coast (now up to $8,000.00).  We did our own marketing, performed a grand total of 11 shows in CVenue (the heart of the fringe), spent three days in London, which included 2 shows and a tour of the National Theatre plus did the trip to the Trossachs, Sterling Castle and St. Andrews.  We rented flats in Edinburgh which had kitchens and everyone on our trip had three meals a day included in our cost of $3,400.00 per kid.  Needless to say, we had a richer theatre experience this time around.  Michael and I have done workshops at the EdTA conference on doing Scotland on your own, one we hope to repeat this coming summer.  Thanks for sharing your wonderful trip - brings back fond memories!

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Ruben Van Kempen
Washington
Seattle Public Schools
Seattle WA
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7.
RE:Edinburgh Fringe Festival
From: Michael Fisher
To: Open Forum
Posted: Apr 25, 2014 3:48 PM
Subject: RE:Edinburgh Fringe Festival
Attachment(s):
Message:
If you're interested in doing the Fringe on your own, contact either Ruben or me and we can help you with the contacts and some ideas on how to work with your school.

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Michael Fisher
School Director
Springfield OR
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8.
RE:Edinburgh Fringe Festival
From: Nicole Morgan
To: Open Forum
Posted: Apr 23, 2014 9:55 AM
Subject: RE:Edinburgh Fringe Festival
Message:
I have taken the trip two times and funding it is always difficult.  We did a variety of things including collecting coins to have the kids favorite teachers have to wear a kilt for the day, car wash with bake sale and preview show.  Half of my students that attended the first year went back to do it again.   Our first year we paid for the administrator in full and each student received $2400 toward their trip payment.  Any excess money was used for food we needed on the trip and to purchase extra event tickets.  On the second trip, we only raised the money for the administrator, an extra day in London (which we all said was a must), extra event stuff and $1000 per kid.  All in all, it was expensive but I did not have to worry about anything, figure out scheduling, etc. 

For those that need to know about getting selected, I was not selected the first time I applied and so we viewed it as an honor.  The second time was more...we had been there so we were invited back...but I think times have changed and therefore companies have adapted too keep programming up.  BUT how many times does the music programming go to a festival where they get a trophy for attending and it really isn't a competition?  You can sell it the best way you can.  Know that without a doubt....the kids are going to have a wonderful experience and you will too. The opportunities and traveling a show to the largest arts festival in the world is pretty impressive.

In terms of cost, I have 45 kids that will tell you it is worth it.  If you cannot get enough money for all that want to go, set a goal of what you think you can afford and audition the kids and take those that you can to make it happen.  I made sure that we really made the entire department know that it was an honor to be recognized at this festival and the opportunities we provide the kids is important.  Our entire department worked to make it happen for those selected to perform.  I took 29 kids my first time, 20 my second time (not including adults and chaperones) and there were schools that only brought 4.  WE ALL CELEBRATED SHOWS THAT WERE THERE and IT WAS AWESOME!

Best wishes and I hope you get to have a wonderful time!  I cannot wait to go back with another set of kids very soon.


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Nicole Morgan
Director of Theatre
Spring Branch ISD
Houston TX
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9.
RE:Edinburgh Fringe Festival
From: Molly Cornwell
To: Open Forum
Posted: Apr 23, 2014 10:17 AM
Subject: RE:Edinburgh Fringe Festival
Message:
Robert--
Did you go through AHSTF completely--the tour package they have?  Or did you plan your own trip--where you would stay, where you would dine, where you would travel?

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Molly Cornwell
Shaker Heights OH
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10.
RE:Edinburgh Fringe Festival
From: Phillip Rayher
To: Open Forum
Posted: Apr 23, 2014 11:10 PM
Subject: RE:Edinburgh Fringe Festival
Message:
Although any contest or festival is a great learning experience for the students involved, But if you can't get together the rather substantial fees to attend Edinburgh next year, they will invite you yearly, if you name is on their invitation list. They give blanket invitations to probably 500 to 1000 schools yearly. They run a great business organization.

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Phillip Rayher
Director, Theatre Dept.
Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts
San Francisco CA
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11.
RE:Edinburgh Fringe Festival
From: Amy Bussey
To: Open Forum
Posted: Apr 22, 2014 11:29 AM
Subject: RE:Edinburgh Fringe Festival
Message:
We were selected several years ago (and have been solicited ever since).  I went so far as to go on the familiarization trip--which was wonderful!--but just couldn't make it work for my kids.  We did several different fundraisers, but never got the money we needed to make it happen.  I know that several teachers on the trip I went on were returning, and were very positive about the experience, but they did seem to all be from more affluent areas than we are.  I have no doubt that it is a wonderful experience, but I do question how they go about making you feel like you've "won" some great honor, when what it really comes down to is that this is a travel program.  A good one, but no different than many others out there in lots of ways.  I don't mean to sound like sour grapes, I just feel like it isn't quite up-front.  There are no statistics or numbers available on how many apply vs. how many are selected, so it's hard to know whether it is really a recognition program or just a program for whomever can manage to raise enough money with the recognition aspect as a selling tool.

As far as the real reason behind your question, the company themselves has a fundraising guide with lots of ideas that were useful.  When and if you go on the familiarization trip, talk to other directors about how they have made it work in the past.  They will even have a session to discuss this.  

 For our recent trip to NYC, my kids also hosted a Dessert Theatre that went extremely well.  Skits and short royalty-free shows along with live music during the dessert portion and intermission music as well.  We did this right at Valentine's day, made all our skits and music love-themed and advertised it as a great date option, but it could work any time of year.  We also did a great fundraiser when we were trying to raise money for Edinburg that we called "Bluegrass and BBQ".  We had a BBQ dinner and several local bluegrass bands volunteered their time to come play sets for us.  We are in the south, so I don't know how well that would work in a different area, but if you can find local bands with their own following who would be willing to do this for you, it can be really successful.  

Good luck to you! 

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Amy Bussey
Stuarts Draft VA
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12.
Edinburgh Theatre Festival
From: Susan Cortesi
To: Open Forum
Posted: Apr 23, 2014 8:46 AM
Subject: Edinburgh Theatre Festival
Message:
Hello,

Congratulations on being selected for the festival. My school raised enough funds to take 43 students and 6 adults in 2002. It was a life changing experience. In order to go, we had to fund most of the trip since we have a high number of low in-come students. We did everything we could to raise the money. If the community sees that the students are doing the work and not just asking for money, you will get help. Get shirts with your school and Scotland logo made and get the kids out there working for the funds. We ran parking for events, set tables for banquets, took tickets at a flea market, ran tons of food events, special performances, we wrote letters to companies and local business people, we sold tons of items, ran carnivals-you name it we did it. Because my students had to work so hard to get the funds, they enjoyed and took part in every event at the festival. They were going to get their monies worth! The parents who could afford to send their student were very generous as well. They partnered up with low in-come students to make sure they were working and getting the funds they needed. I had no life for a year outside of this event, but we did it. Good luck and go out there and get asking!

Susan Cortesi


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Susan Cortesi
Director of Theatre
District 87
Bloomington IL
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13.
RE:Edinburgh Theatre Festival
From: Susan Cortesi
To: Open Forum
Posted: Apr 23, 2014 8:47 AM
Subject: RE:Edinburgh Theatre Festival
Message:
Sorry, this was my first post. I thought I was replying to another Edinburgh post...hope it gets to the right person.

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Susan Cortesi
Director of Theatre
District 87
Bloomington IL
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14.
RE:Edinburgh Theatre Festival
From: Rob Duval
To: Open Forum
Posted: Apr 23, 2014 2:11 PM
Subject: RE:Edinburgh Theatre Festival
Message:
I've taken students twice and we're going this summer as well. We don't use AHSTF. It means a lot of work for me, but a $2400 savings per student. Two other Hawaii schools are going this summer through AHSTF - they are paying $6900 per student. Our students are paying $4500. And we do more than AHSTF offers! We also get a venue that is suited to our show (and 2 blocks from the hub). We stay in the same dorms. We go to London for three days and we do the same excursions. And we are not required to see the AHSTF shows (although I do require my students to see other high school productions there).

Fundraising that made money (profit):
Opening Night Gala for A Christmas Carol (over $12,000)
"Slices for Scotland" - selling slices of pizza and slices of cake at our musical ($5600)
Barnes and Noble Bookfair ($3200)
Improv Night, Car Wash, Restaurant Night, Rummage Sale, Concession Sales, Gourmet Chocolate Sales, etc. Each raised between $1000 - $2000.

We raised a little over $1000 per student. We also had donations (parents, alumni, teachers, and friends) that totaled $15,500. I divided this among the students who receive financial aid (we are a private school). I've got 37 students ready to go!

Going through AHSTF has its advantages. It can be done without them if you have good support. If anyone needs convincing about the merits of the festival itself, just go to www.edfringe.com and watch the 3 minute video (then imagine actually being there to experience it firsthand!).

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Rob Duval
Theatre Teacher/Director
'Iolani School
Kaneohe HI
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15.
RE:Edinburgh Fringe Festival
From: Ed Como
To: Open Forum
Posted: Apr 23, 2014 9:39 PM
Subject: RE:Edinburgh Fringe Festival
Message:

Samantha, Congratulations! Our school is slotted to attend AHSTF next fall. We also attended in 2011 and way back in 1998 (before my time). A lot of your questions and lots of advice from people who have gone multiple times will be addressed next fall if you attend the fam trip. You will also find an amazing network of teachers who will be undergoing the same challenges. 

The simple truth is that you must have the support of your parents. For the 2011 trip, we started a booster organization. Once that is in place, fundraising gets a lot easier. 

Good luck!
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Ed Como
Tempe AZ
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