• Grads' Gulf War Titus Andronicus Chosen for 2014-2016 RSC Open Stages
    28th Nov, 2013

    The Grads are excited to announce that they have been chosen as one of seven groups across Scotland, and only one of eighty six across the UK, to take part in the 2014-2016 RSC Open Stages.  They will be partnered and mentored by both the RSC and Dundee Rep, the regoinal partner in the scheme. Director training has already begun, and the first skills exchange workshops will be held in January 2014.  The Grads' production of Titus Andronicus, set in the Gulf War, will be mounted in April 2015 and will be directed by David Grimes.

    Here's what the RSC had to say about the new Open Stages:



    Macbeth performed in a Cardiff Shopping Centre, Much Ado About Nothing performed by serving members of the Royal Air Force, the Tempest in a quarry in Durham and Richard III performed in Leicester Cathedral by Leicester University students where the Kings newly discovered body will be buried, just four of the 90 productions that will be part of the UK’s biggest amateur theatre project – Open Stages.

    Having received nearly 200 applications from across the UK, the RSC along with 6 partner theatres will work with the 86 selected amateur groups to supporting them with mentoring and workshops to create their own RSC Open Stages production in their own venue. The project begins on the weekend of the 28 September 2013 when all 90 directors will come together for the first and only time in Stratford-upon-Avon to participate in two days of skills workshops led by the RSC’s own team of theatre practitioners.

    Just a few examples of the huge range of work being done by over 2,500 participants (the oldest being 80 and the youngest 8 years old), include the Royal Navy performing A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Henry V in a Norman Castle, a Sci-fi Tempest in a village hall in Oxfordshire, a Gulf War set Titus Andronicus in Edinburgh, a female King Lear in London and a Hamlet in the style of a Danish Crime Drama in St Andrews.

    RSC Open Stages producer Ian Wainwright commented; ‘The RSC is once again excited to continue to collaborate with just some of the million amateur theatre makers in the UK. The RSC understands the skill, commitment, energy and passion it takes to make theatre happen. We therefore have a huge respect for those DIY, grassroots theatre-makers who create theatre in their spare time often on very limited resources. Open Stages looks to share some of the processes, techniques and ideas of professional theatre making, while allowing the RSC to learn about, and be inspired by the work of work of people with a real passion for the craft of theatre.’

    The most popular of Shakespeare’s plays to be performed by the participants is Macbeth with 7 productions followed Twelfth Night with 6 productions. Other productions include 6 modern plays inspired by Shakespeare and 16 new plays inspired by Shakespeare and written or devised by the amateur companies involved.

    They will be performed across the UK in a vast number of venues including 35 Theatres, 10 Village Halls, 7 Parks & Gardens, 6 Castles, 6 Town Halls, 6 Pubs, 5 Churches, 4 School Halls, 2 Community Centres, 2 Country Houses, 2 Universities, 2 Arts Centres, 2 Museums, 2 Pavilions, 1 Warehouse, 1 Barn, 1 Library, 1 Cathedral, 1 Island, 1 Coffee Shop, 1 Wood, 1 Campsite, 1 Bookshop, 1 Hotel and 1 Graveyard.

    Open Stages 2013 – 2016 will focus on learning, with each amateur company receiving training, director mentoring, feedback and support from the RSC and partner theatres. The project is part of the RSC’s commitment to transforming the relationship between amateur and professional theatres. Open Stages is the springboard for the recently announced ‘Dream16’, a nationwide tour of A Midsummer Night’s Dream to celebrate the 400th anniversary of his death of Shakespeare on 23 April 2016. The production, which opens in Stratford-upon-Avon, will be co-produced with partner theatres and amateur companies in all twelve nations and regions of the UK. In every location, Bottom and the rude mechanicals will be played by a local amateur group and Titania’s fairy train by local schoolchildren. 

    For more information about the project, please go to
    Project hashtag: #RSCOpenStages

  • Grads shortlisted for Sky Arts programme, Stagestruck
    4th Sep, 2011

    Edinburgh Graduate Theatre Group, known as The Grads, has been named one of twenty UK-wide amateur theatre companies shortlisted for Stagestruck, a new competitive documentary programme being produced for Sky Arts.

    Eight of the twenty shortlisted companies will be selected to take part in the final television programme and compete for the opportunity to mount a full-length show in London’s West End.  Seven of the final eight participating groups will be selected by Sky Arts’ celebrity panel of judges with the final eighth slot being selected by public vote.

    In the next round, which will be part of the televised programme half of the eight companies will stage a scene from a comedy while the other half stage a scene from a tragedy.  All eight will perform for a panel of judges who will select four to progress through to a Shakespeare round.  Four will become two, who will go head-to-head with a scene of their choice.  The victor of the final round will go on to perform a full-length work in the West End.  The participating groups will have five weeks to rehears each round and a professional mentor to help.  The programme will film during the remainder of this year and the beginning of next.  The programme is expected to air in Spring 2012.

    The Grads submitted a five-minute video of an excerpt from Christopher Marlowe’s Edward II (Act 1, Scene 4) with Matt Davies as Edward II, Ross Hope as Gaveston, Rhiannon King as Isabella and Jo Butt as Mortimer, directed by David Grimes.  The company selected the piece from a list of public domain works provided for that purpose by Sky Arts.  The only criteria for the applicant companies was that the filmed performance could not contain any actors or directors who had profited from such work in the previous two years.

    When asked to comment on the shortlist, The Grads secretary and director of the entry video, David Grimes, said, “We’re obviously thrilled to have made the shortlist of 20 companies from through out the UK.  It’s a massive honour but we hope the journey isn’t over.  We want the opportunity to compete for the chance to perform in the West End.  We hope that the Edinburgh community will get behind it’s own company and vote to get us through.”

    Voting is via the Sky Arts Stagestruck web page ( and there is no cost to vote.  To vote for the grads, click on their video – the clip is of two performers holding hands – which will open a pop-up window. Tick to accept the terms and conditions and then on the button to vote for the video. Voting opened to the public on Monday, 22nd of August and will close at 6am Tuesday, 30th of August.


  • New look website is almost up
    3rd Aug, 2011

    After our old, clunky website was hacked into submission it seemed the right time to roll out the new website we have been working on recently. Its still a bit under cooked but if you bare with us, we'll bring it up to spec as soon as we can. Look out for galleries, twitter feeds and content for members in the near future.