ENDA Time!

In the 30+ years of FCT’s existence only one actor in Hollywood achieved back-to-back Oscar success. Well, FCT have done the equivalent in their field with consecutive Best Musical ENDAs in 2008 and 2009. An incredible feat given the competition.

Read on….



Yes, a bit difficult to read – here is the full article…

Theatre groups full of cheer after second award in a row


Evening News  29 Aug 2009

TWO amateur theatre companies are celebrating after winning Evening News Drama Awards for the second consecutive year. Edinburgh Theatre Arts received the award for Best Play on this year’s Fringe at a glittering awards ceremony on the roof of The Gilded Balloon, in the Loft VIP Bar last night. The biggest cheer of the night came when Forth Children’s Theatre was named the winner of the Best Musical award for its production of Ragtime. It follows the youth theatre company’s success at the 2008 awards when it won the same accolade for its production of Jekyll and Hyde. Cabaret star Camille O’Sullivan presented Edinburgh Theatre Arts with the Best Play award for A Tale Of Two Cities, which centred on the French Revolution. Cabaret act Frisky and Mannish – also known as Laura Corcoran and Matthew Jones – presented Forth Children’s Theatre with its award. Frisky had the audience in fits of laughter when she said that both her and Matthew started off in the amateur world, which is “a great place to learn a sense of irony”. Chairman of Edinburgh Theatre Arts and director of A Tale Of Two Cities, John McLinden, 62, said: “It is fantastic to win the award because it is great recognition for six months of really hard work putting the show together. “It was quite a complicated show with 34 scenes, which we had to cram into St Ninian’s Church hall.” He laughed: “We also had to build a working guillotine for people to have their heads chopped off!” Director of Ragtime, Andrew Dyer, 23, added: “It is the second year in a row that we have won the award and we are very grateful. It was a very proud moment for everyone and the children are all fair away with themselves!” Around 100 actors, directors and producers from all 12 nominated amateur companies witnessed the presentation of this year’s awards. The awards were introduced by the Evening News two years ago to recognise the work of local companies during the Fringe. Edinburgh Theatre Arts, whose Fringe history dates back to the early seventies, won the Best Play for its production of Dennis Potter’s Blue Remembered Hills at last year’s awards. The drama awards were judged for the second year running by Scottish Community Drama Association adjudicator Ron Cattell, Evening News theatre critic Thom Dibdin, and Fiona Rogan – an arts professional with more than 30 years’ experience working with amateur groups across Scotland. The award for Best Musical was judged by Edinburgh actor Arron Usher, musicals producer Eleanor Brown, and James Haworth, general manager of the Edinburgh Playhouse. Mr Haworth, 39, said: “Many of the shows that the Edinburgh amateur companies have put on have actually been better than the professional productions I have seen this year. “The thing that you get from amateurs is an incredible enthusiasm.” “For amateurs to be able to perform in front of worldwide audiences is just an incredible treat for them.”

FCT wins the best Musical ENDA for second year running

On Friday night we gathered en-mass at the VIP Room at The Gilded Balloon to see how we had fared in the third ENDA Awards.  (Evening News Drama Awards) which are open exclusively for Edinburgh groups.  Liam Rudden has to be commended for bringing recognition to local groups in a Festival which is overwhelmed sometimes by comedy acts.

The Drama ENDA this year went to ETA for A Tale of Two Cities.  Well Done ETA on recording a double.

Next up; the best Musical award and we were facing Tempo and Edinburgh University’s Savoy Company.  We didn’t have to wait long though before the news we were all hoping for broke.  We’d won.  Again!

It was the perfect finish to the Fringe for a cast, band and crew that had truly excelled.

The moment of truth as Andrew Dyer hears the news...

The moment of truth as Andrew Dyer hears the news...

Roll on 2010.

The trophy.

The trophy.

High Praise Indeed!

Received today at FCT HQ…..
Dear FCT,
My sister and I are musical theatre scholars and have worked professionally in the Biz and we agreed that your production was finer in many respects than many professional productions we’ve seen.  After seeing your production of Ragtime last night I felt compelled to write to you to say how utterly impressed my sister and I were and how much we thoroughly enjoyed it.
We know Ragime inside out, having closely followed its progress since it lost the Tony to The Lion King in 1998 and all else since. I made it down to London for the premiere production there, and we also saw it at the Fringe a few years ago when the American High School Theatre performed it. We agreed that yours was as good if not better than all of these. We were particularly impressed  by the first-class direction and staging. It displayed a sensitive understanding of the vision of E L Doctorow, Ahrens & Flaherty, McNally et al. I also loved the allusions to the original Broadway production lighting. You moved us and touched us very deeply and we wanted to thank you for giving us this great joy of seeing one of our absolutely favourite musicals live. Sensational! We look forward to seeing many more of your outstanding productions in the future.
Very best wishes,
Eva and Barbara Spevack

There’s only one Matty Smith. Er, two actually. Sort of…

that was then...

that was then...

We all love Matty Smith and his, well, Matty ways. His command of the FCT float at the Festival Cavalcade was so complete that we were in his slavedom.

But it came at a cost. By Monday night’s penultimate number he was doubled over with what turns out to be a lung infection. He never made the epilogue.

Poor old Matty then was sent to quarantine and is out of action for a bit.

This caused us a problem. 24 hours later someone had to play his part. We had no-one in the cast with the space in their scrtipt to do so.

Now, JP Morgan (his character) may have been the most influential man of the early 20th c entury in America but even he couldn’t ward off lung infections.

So, what next? Cue Keith McLeish who was at Monday night’s performance as a member of the audience. He was called in on Tuesday afternoon and taught the part.

The result? A flawless and word perfect performance on Tuesday night.

That’s class that is.

But Matty. We love you. Get well soon chuck.

First review of Ragtime

This great review appeared in Primary Times today.  Thanks to Lucy Leslie for her kind words.

Ragtime, Forth Children’s Theatre Inverleith Church Hall,

Award-winning FCT proudly presents the Scottish premiere of ‘Ragtime’. Set in America at the turn of the last century, this epic musical is filled with show-stopping songs and inspirational characters.

A must-see this Fringe! www.fct.org.uk

Sitting in the church hall at Inverleith, you could be forgiven for thinking you had been transported to the West End or Broadway, such is the musical talent that is on offer in Forth Children’s Theatre’s production of Ragtime.

It is set against the backdrop of America at the turn of the 20th century, a time of great hope and change. It is a time when racial tensions threaten the fragile co-existence of the black and white Americans, stirred by the growing number of immigrants arriving in search of the American dream.

Tateh and his daughter have just arrived in America from Latvia, convinced that the streets will be paved in the gold, but instead find poverty and destitution. Sarah, a black servant girl, is an unmarried mother. She is shunned by society, but given shelter and compassion by her employer, the wealthy ‘Mother’, acting against the prejudiced views of her class.

Meanwhile racial unrest is growing as the black population attempts to emulate the prosperity of their white neighbours. The African Americans of Harlem are represented by Coalhouse, a ragtime pianist and proud owner of a Model T Ford, who dreams of equality with tragic consequences.

It is an epic story told in an epic production. The cast boasts over 40 immensely talented young people, as well as a live band. The ensemble scenes are spectacular -fabulous musical numbers performed with energy, commitment and passion. The effect is quite spine-tingling. It is also an incredibly moving piece of theatre, in no small part due to the amazing performances from the lead actors, in particular Hannah Scott as Mother and Rebecca Clark as Sarah. They both demonstrate a maturity and presence that belies their youth, and marks them out as potential stars of the future.

Jojo, 7, sat spell-bound throughout the performance, she commented: “It was amazing to see such young people singing and dancing so well. Some of them looked not much older than me and they were brilliant. I really like the little girl who was very poor because she looked so sad, but I was glad that she was happy in the end.”