AHSTF 2016: Walking Tours, Tech Rehearsals, and Ceilidhs

After a good night’s sleep, our first full day of the American High School Theatre Festival in Edinburgh has been one of tech rehearsals, sightseeing, and the first of three Ceilidhs.

Fringe 1

Today, a few groups took part in a walking tour of Edinburgh, led by our Blue Badge Guides. We met outside the National Museum of Scotland and while we’re saving a visit for another day, we did learn about some of its artifacts. Before we set off, our guide, Andy, asked if there were any Harry Potter fans. Several hands shot up, and she promised she had a few surprises for us.

AHSTF 2016 Sightseeing Edinburgh

Andy led us to Greyfriars Kirkyard where, just inside, we happened across the tomb of Greyfriars Bobby, the loyal dog who guarded his master’s grave for 13 years. We then learned about Scotland’s famous “body snatchers” and how families ensured their loved ones’ graves weren’t disturbed by erecting cages or stone tombs around them. Andy’s first Harry Potter surprise came in the form of the grave of a man called Tom Riddle, the inspiration behind J.K. Rowling’s Lord Voldermort. Andy pointed out several other graves in the kirkyard that inspired Harry Potter character names, like poet William McGonagall and the sir name “Kreach.”

AHSTF 2016 Sightseeing Edinburgh

The walking tour then ventured to Grassmarket and along colorful Victoria Street before pausing in a close, one of Edinburgh’s small alleyways, for a brief history lesson on architecture and the sewer system from days gone by that involved the invention of the bucket and the passing of an act appropriately dubbed “The Nastiness.” We then found ourselves on the Royal Mile where groups were able to see where they will be performing during Festival Fringe!

AHSTF 2016 Tech Rehearsal

While some groups took part in sightseeing adventures, others held their technical rehearsal with our incredible tech team. It’s amazing to sit back and watch these kids at work, discussing lights and sound like the pros they are and ensuring their show goes off without a hitch. The AHSTF staff is getting pretty excited to see these shows on stage!

AHSTF 2016 Ceilidh

We also held our first of three Ceilidhs tonight. A Ceilidh is a traditional Gaelic social gathering with dancing and music. We know these kids like to perform, so after a demonstration of traditional Scottish dance, students, directors, and chaperones alike took to the dance floor to learn several Scottish dances. Check out the video on Facebook to see one of the dances in action!

AHSTF 2016 Ceilidh AHSTF 2016 Ceilidh

Tomorrow at 3PM ET, we will broadcast part of the Ceilidh on Facebook Live. Be sure to tune in!

Remember, we’ll be live blogging each day, as well as posting throughout the day on Facebook and our brand new Instagram. Check out our August 3rd photo album for some of today’s action, and be sure to follow us for all the updates and visit AHSTF 2016 Lineup for a schedule of all of our shows.

And if you’re with us at Festival Fringe, don’t forget to tag us (@AHSTFTheatre) in your photos! Use hashtags #EdFringe, #AHSTF2016, and #StudentTheatreDoneRight so we can see your photos – we’ll share our favorites!


Learn more about our American High School Theatre Program.

Article written by Sarah Wyland

Sarah Wyland
Sarah never gets in trouble for being on Facebook and Instagram at work, because its her job. As social media manager, she gets to tell the stories of travelers, teachers, and interesting places. Other titles she enjoys include dog mom to Knox, barre instructor, Crossfit athlete, avid reader, and world traveler.