When discussing Edinburgh’s reputation as a laboratory for experimental drama, most would think of the Fringe Festival, but it does not stop there. Candlewasters, the Edinburgh University Theatre Society’s vehicle for new writing, was founded with the aim of getting new writing onto the stage in Edinburgh, and with three sell-out shows last year, you could say that they’re doing it with style. The Student talked to Lucy Davidson and Jennifer Jones about their ideas going forward.
What’s the basic idea behind Candlewasters?
The basic idea is that anyone can submit a short script of around 15 pages or less, and if it’s good enough, Candlewasters, a group of ‘Bedlamites’, will direct, produce, and act in it in order to get it onto the stage.
Candlewasters was founded with the aim of getting new writing on stage at Bedlam, giving people the opportunity to try out short scripts, and getting them onto a fully functional professional stage. It’s a way of getting new talent into Bedlam, and getting new people involved with the community.
The Edinburgh University Theatre Society has a responsibility to encourage new people to join, and this can be difficult, especially with new writing. Candlewasters not only helps with this but also encourages a really diverse range of talents at Bedlam. So you could say it’s a win-win situation.
Have you decided to take any new directions this year?
Traditionally, Candlewasters hasn’t been the most popular part of Bedlam, but we’ve been trying to change that and bring it into the mainstream. We’ve also completely restructured the way Candlewasters works: we used to audition for each individual play, but this year we’ve decided to take on a repertoire of actors, producers, and directors, who will work on all three shows. It’s very difficult to cast an actor before we even know what we’re putting on, but it’s all about versatility and being able to work in a team. It makes the whole thing feel much more like a family.
Why should we come and see new writing?
It’s hard to sell new writing because often people want something they know about. But the beauty of new writing is that it’s new, and you never know what you’re going to get. Sometimes people can’t stop laughing, sometimes people are left in tears. One of the best pieces last year was about a romance between Jonah and the Whale that ate him.
But this is really something people should be getting involved in. It’s a great way to get to know people at Bedlam and other theatre societies, and a great way to develop as a creative by working with a talented team.
Submissions are open for their February show. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
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