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Belt Valley Shakespeare Players set sights on Scotland - KRTV News in Great Falls, Montana

Belt Valley Shakespeare Players set sights on Scotland

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The Belt Valley Shakespeare Players will be headed to the British Isles The Belt Valley Shakespeare Players will be headed to the British Isles
BELT -

Thirteen students from Belt ranging 7th to 12th grade are on a journey to get to Edinburgh, Scotland, to perform Shakespeare at the world’s largest arts festival: The Fringe Festival. 

The Belt Valley Shakespeare Players are directed by teacher Jeff Ross.

With only 13 students in the troupe, they had to be strategic in picking the right play; Ross and the actors decided on "The Tempest." 

"It's one of the shorter Shakespeare plays and the cast is smaller, so it suits us much better, and we only have an hour and a half for the performance in Scotland so we have to cut it, so having a shorter Shakespeare play helps us out a lot,” explained Ross. 

The Belt Shakespeare Players are 1 out of 50 groups in the U.S. to be invited to the Festival and probably one of the smallest schools to be invited.  

But besides taking his students on the trip of a lifetime, Ross is also being nationally recognized. Next week he will be accepting a "2016 High School Teacher of Excellence Award.” He is one of only 12 teachers in the country to receive the award. 

The troupe still needs to raise around $65,000 by June to make it to the Fringe Festival. They will be performing several more times around the state to raise awareness for their cause. 

To learn more about the Belt Valley Shakespeare Players or to donate online, visit http://bit.ly/2eVR3GF


(AUGUST 21, 2016) The Belt Valley Shakespeare Players will be headed to the British Isles next summer and are hoping to get there one bag of groceries at a time.

The group has been selected as one out of around 50 high school theater groups from the U.S. and Canada to perform at the 2017 Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland. Theater Director Jeff Ross says the Fringe is the largest and most prestigious performing arts festival in the world. He says the students are both honored and ecstatic to have been selected. 

"One day after school he's like, 'we need a theater meeting' and we're like, 'what the heck, Mr. Ross, like what's goin' on?' and he tells us that we've been accepted to go the Fringe and all of us are so excited but then he brings up it's a lot of money," said senior Adrianna Irvine.

"I was jumping up and down, very excited and like screaming like, 'we're gonna do it, we're gonna do it,'" said senior Mo Wall.

The group has raised enough money for the initial deposit but will be looking to earn the rest through various performances and fundraisers over the year. Ross says their fundraising goal is roughly $90,000.

During the two weeks overseas, the cast will perform Shakespeare's 'The Tempest' at the Fringe, along with the chance to see other groups perform and participate in acting workshops. The group will also stop in London, England to experience the Globe Theater.  

While the Shakespeare Players have faced several challenges, including building a new stage as the historic Belt Theater has been closed for major renovations, the troupe of ten says the size of their school and cast have never been a disadvantage. 

"Even though we are small we are mighty, we bring a lot of energy to the stage and we have a different kind of power than other theater programs because we are so small," said senior Emily Langston.  

Students say they will be performing in front of their largest audience filled with talent from around the world. The cast says they are counting on the group's close-knit bonds to make their performance shine next summer. 

"Our chemistry between our group is so strong, that as long as we're just with each other and keep our energy amongst ourselves I think it'll be good, I think it'll be a good experience for us to see what it's like to have so many people," said Langston.

The group will be back bagging groceries at Albertsons off 10th Ave. South next Saturday, August 27 along with a performance at the Belt City Park in September    

To learn more about the Belt Valley Shakespeare Players or to donate online, visit http://bit.ly/2eVR3GF

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