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Northwestern and Royal Conservatoire will premiere a pair of new musicals at Edinburgh Fringe

‘Legacy’ casts combine students from both institutions in transatlantic collaboration

American Music Theatre Project students departing for Edinburgh
American Music Theatre Project students departing for Edinburgh

EVANSTON - Students from Northwestern University’s American Music Theatre Project (AMTP) will once again perform side by side with students of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS) in thematically linked musicals at Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

This year’s collaborations, “Legacy: A Mother’s Song” and “Legacy: The Book of Names,” will explore how cultural heritage travels and evolves over distance and time.

The productions, which are written and directed by AMTP alumni, will be performed in repertory by students from both institutions Aug. 3 to 26.

“Legacy: A Mother’s Song,” written by Finn Anderson and directed by Tania Azevedo, explores the complexity of family structures and the challenges of parenthood. Set in present day New York, the story spans three generations of women linked by the ballad singing tradition.

Writer and composer Anderson draws on ballads that have travelled from Scotland through Ireland and into the Appalachian Mountains. He hopes the piece, which focuses on the stories of three women from different times and places in history, will resonate with audiences during a time when many women across the world are speaking up about social issues.

“Legacy: The Book of Names,” is written by Jonathan Bauerfeld and Casey Kendall and directed by Ryan Cunningham, AMTP associate artistic director with David H. Bell, AMTP artistic director. Set on Ellis Island, “The Book of Names” focuses on the moment of great crisis and change when individuals pass through the immigration system in which families are reunited, lovers are forever bound and new destinies are discovered.

Referencing current global immigration issues, Cunningham said, “I hope audiences will not only learn about this moment in American and world history, but see reflections of our current situation and the real people that are at the heart of the issue.”

Bell said, “I am as excited by the way these two pieces are in dialogue with each other as I am by the process of collaboration that creates them. Theater is a collaborative art form. There is no better way to understand and appreciate another artist and to grow as an artist yourself than through the process of collaboration.”  

Jeffrey Sharkey, principal of the Royal Conservatoire said, “It’s wonderful to once again collaborate with our friends at Northwestern and build on what was a fantastic Fringe run in 2017.

“A celebration of shared values, this partnership is an enriching experience for all involved, from the students to the creative teams, who are committed to creating compelling new musical theater for international audiences,” Sharkey said.

Last year, the two schools collaborated on “Atlantic: A Scottish Story” and “Atlantic: America and The Great War,” earning a string of five-star reviews from outlets including the Herald Scotland, which wrote, “Although both parts work as stand-alone pieces of theater, it is their connectedness that really resonates and makes the new writing and music soar.”

More information about the ‘Legacy’ productions at Edinburgh Festival Fringe are available on the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s dedicated Fringe website.

American Music Theatre Project is a member of the Northwestern Arts Circle, which brings together film, humanities, literary arts, music, theater, dance and visual arts. 

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