As part of the world-renowned Edinburgh Fringe Festival, a theatre company formed of 14 Benenden Six Ones (Year 12s) have spent eight days in Scotland performing their original production, In the Small Hours.
The company – known as The Wyrd Systers – were rapturously received by Fringe audiences, with one viewer writing: “All of the performances were nuanced and mature, and the whole show was underpinned with imaginative direction.
“I was unsure how “scary” a Fringe show could actually be, but the ending literally sent shivers down my spine!”
Written by the School’s resident professional playwright Owen Thomas, In the Small Hours incorporates creative contributions from each of the participating performers, including material drawn from extensive improvisation.
As company member China says: “Telling ghost stories was where we started, before looking at a first draft of a script which enabled us to bring real-life physical experiences into our piece.” She confidently adds: “this performance will be chilling for the audience, including slick and well-structured physical sequences.”
The resulting play is set on Halloween 1972, in an unnamed private school where a group of students have gathered to exchange ghost stories at night, brought to life with atmospheric storytelling, eerie soundscapes and striking visuals. The students have worked tirelessly to adapt the script into something wholly immersive for their audience through their imagery.
As one spectator notes: “The ensemble becomes a graveyard, the legs through which a young girl runs at a wake. Umbrellas become cawing crows, the choreography reveals sinister hidden figures at crucial moments.
“The cast’s youthful energy captures the playfulness of the occasion, the sense of being naughtily out after dark, which sets up perfect moments of shock and sudden fright.”
The students have shown total commitment to putting on an exceptional show through their rehearsals this year, and it is a testament to their effort, determination, creativity and talent that they have received such a positive reception at the world’s largest arts festival.
We wholeheartedly agree with the audience member who wrote: “Great group of young amateur performers who put a great story on stage with flair and originality. Very well put together show by talented young performers!”