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The Scottish Drama Training Network to Premiere Mark Thomson's SNOWFLAKE at Edinburgh Fringe

In January this year The Scottish Drama Training Network (SDTN) and Pleasance Theatre Trust announced a new initiative to support Acting, Performance and Technical Theatre graduates from Scotland's Colleges and Higher Education Institutions as they make the transition from training to industry.

SDTN, in partnership with the Pleasance, is establishing a new graduate pathway, a production ensemble called The Network. It is supported by leading theatre professionals, and will produce new work at the Pleasance during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Mark Thomson, the Lyceum Theatre Company's former Artistic Director backed this initiative which now sees the development of Snowflake, a new show written and directed by Thomson.

SDTN held four audition days at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland with over 80 candidates drawn from SDTN's Network of 18 colleges and higher education institutions across Scotland.

22 candidates attended a recall audition in Edinburgh, out of which eight were selected to join The Network. The eight young actors joining Mark Thomson, SDTN and the Pleasance this summer will be:

Harvey Reid, Edinburgh College

Heather Horseman, Dundee and Angus College

Jatinder Randhawa, New College Lanarkshire

Michael Johnson, Fife College

Shyvonne Ahmmad, Edinburgh College

Mirren Wilson, Edinburgh College

Rachel Dunlay, Fife College

Russell Dudley, North East Scotland College

Creative production arts and technical graduates will also be part of The Network's creative team.

Lucy Vaughan, Director of SDTN said: "Following an intensive process of workshops, auditions and re-calls, held over three months and involving more than 100 Acting and Performance students from the colleges and universities in our Network, we are delighted to have identified the eight exceptional actors from across Scotland who will be our first ever Graduate Ensemble performers.

This new initiative created by SDTN and the Pleasance Theatre has been designed to bring together professional expertise to support emerging talent and these young theatre makers will now have the opportunity to develop the skills learnt in training, by working with one of Scotland's leading theatre directors, Mark Thomson and creating new work for the Edinburgh Fringe."

Snowflake has been inspired by the experiences and input from students across the SDTN Network and is a reflection of the struggles that face the generation which has grown up in a digital environment.

Mark Thomson, Writer and Director of Snowflake said: "I am very encouraged after meeting more than 80 young graduates from courses across Scotland to have cast eight talented young actors for The Network's production of Snowflake this summer. There is clearly a rich talent pool of young emerging actors in Scotland that perhaps remain under the radar and I'm looking forward to developing the ideas that have emerged over my time with them thus far."

SDTN's graduate initiative is a new, industry standard, training pathway for drama graduates in 2017. Providing an essential post-training 'bridge' for the performers and theatre technicians between education and beginning a career in the Creative Industries, this graduate initiative forms the very latest programme supported by Pleasance Futures, the development arm of the Pleasance Theatre Trust.

The initiative is for the Network's Colleges and Higher Education Institutions and students from across Scotland who will graduate by July 2017.

IF YOU GO:

Snowflake by Mark Thomson

2nd Aug 2017 - 28th Aug 2017 at 1pm (excluding 15 and 22 August)

Pleasance Above - Pleasance Courtyard

Suitable for ages 12 and above

Tickets available at: www.pleasance.co.uk

Read Lucy Vaughan's blog about The Network here.

Mark Thomson was Artistic Director of the Royal Lyceum Theatre Company from April 2003 - June 2016 during which time he directed over 20 productions including; world premieres of Donna Franceschild's Takin' Over the Asylum and D C Jackson's The Marriage of Figaro; his own plays A Madman Sings to the Moon, Pinocchio; as well as his adaptation of James Hogg's The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner and in 2011, Wondrous Flitting. Mark directed The Caucasian Chalk Circle (2015) which won four CATS awards and earned him a nomination for Best Director at the UK Theatre Awards. His production of Waiting For Godot starring Brian Cox and Bill Paterson was nominated for several categories, including Best Director, and won Best Production at the CATS.

Mark was Artistic Director of the Brunton Theatre Company from 1997 - 2002, directing 21 shows and winning a Herald Angel Award for his play A Madman Sings to the Moon, and a Scotsman Fringe First and a Herald Angel Award for his play Moving Objects. Prior to that he was Assistant Director at the Theatre Royal Stratford East and the Royal Shakespeare Company and Associate Director at Nottingham Playhouse.

The Scottish Drama Training Network (SDTN) is a unique organisation dedicated to developing practice-based drama training in Scotland. A Scottish Funding Council Initiative, SDTN is based at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow and is a network organisation of 17 colleges and higher education institutions who provide practical drama training in Theatre, Film, Television and Radio subjects. SDTN works in partnership with education and industry to support the development of publicly funded, practice-based, drama provision in Scotland.

The SDTN Colleges and Higher Education Institutions are: Ayrshire College, City of Glasgow College, Dundee and Angus College, Edinburgh College, Edinburgh College of Art, Edinburgh Napier University, Fife College, Glasgow Clyde College, Glasgow Kelvin College, Inverness College UHI, New College Lanarkshire, North East Scotland College, Perth College UHI, Queen Margaret University, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, University of the West of Scotland, and West College Scotland.

In 2017 the Pleasance celebrates its 33rd season presenting work on the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Each year the Pleasance presents around 250 shows on the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, selling almost 25% of all tickets on the festival. In 2015 the Trust launched Pleasance Futures. This development strand of the Pleasance directly funds specific opportunities for people both on and off stage. Each year the Pleasance commits around £130,000 into selected Pleasance Futures projects.

The Pleasance is a not for profit organisation with venues in Edinburgh during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and two venues and rehearsal rooms in London that operate all year round. The Pleasance has become world renowned for spotting great talent and has been the launch pad for a great many careers in the entertainment industry, creating a network of people performing and working in the creative industries that now spans the globe.


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