Sixth Form Ensemble play to Edinburgh Fringe
29th September 2014

Over the summer, a cast of Oundle School pupils rounded off their school drama careers in style with their production of Just at the world’s largest arts festival, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

The pupils returned to Oundle in early August for rehearsals before travelling to Edinburgh for seven nights of further rehearsals and performances at Paradise in St Augustine’s, just off the Royal Mile in the heart of the Fringe.

Just, a play by the Booker nominated writer Ali Smith, originally commissioned for the National Connections Festival, is a dark comedy whose political themes are couched in the absurdist traditions of Kafka, Ionesco and Brecht. At the centre is a corpse impaled with an umbrella, a blind judge, townspeople who speak in a comic chorus, an amnesiac maloprop cop, and a passionate outsider mourning an agrarian age. Their story is one of personal tragedy, the perversion of justice, a community’s sinister undertone, told with Ali Smith’s trademark wit and wordplay.

Play director and Oundle School English teacher, Andrew Martens, commented, “After working so intensely as a group, the cast formed a tight unit and gave consistently stellar performances to appreciative audiences, including many current and old Oundelians in Edinburgh for the festival.”

Emma Kemsley-Pein commented, “Just was certainly a challenging play to work on. It is far from run of the mill and as a result we had to really push ourselves and think outside the box in terms of how we were going to portray our characters and our interaction with others onstage. The political nature of the play is thought-provoking and encouraged us to consider the wider effects of imbalances of justice and power. I’m sure I can speak on behalf of the whole cast, when I say it was an unforgettable week in Edinburgh.”


When not on stage, the pupils enjoyed the Royal Mile and other areas packed with festival-goers, handing out fliers to prospective punters, and soaking up the atmosphere of such a unique cultural experience. Everyone took full advantage of the vast opportunities to enjoy the wealth of theatre on tap, and by the last night each pupil had seen at least 20 different shows over the course of the week.

Directed by Andrew Martens, the cast included pupil leavers Robbie Younger (18), Livvy Sellers (19), and Georgie Anstey (18), with current pupils Emma Kelmsley-Pein (17), Alex Wallitt (17), Monica Dahiya (17), Annabelle Sherwood (17), Dylan Martens (16), and Polly Halstead (17) as stage manager.

Livvy Sellers will be starting a course at Central Drama School later this year.

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