Sheffield stages global drama festival

Drama: Actors perform a production of Our Country's Good at an earlier Student Drama Festival.
Drama: Actors perform a production of Our Country's Good at an earlier Student Drama Festival.
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ACTORS from across the world have journeyed to the stage of Sheffield for the first International Student Drama Festival.

The event began yesterday to celebrate the National Student Drama Festival as it goes global to mark the 2012 Cultural Olympiad – a series of arts events to mark the Olympics in London this summer.

Shows from as far afield as Iran, Zimbabwe and Japan will join the line-up of ground-breaking student productions.

Hundreds of young people are also to attend the nine-day festival, which also includes free workshops, drama schools and theatre skills classes, thanks to the Foundation of Sports and Arts.

National festival director Holly Kendrick said: “It is shaping up to be an extraordinary event.

“Those who buy a ticket can expect to see some exceptional shows chosen from around the UK and all over the world.

“They can also take part in workshops and advice sessions from some of the world’s leading theatre companies and drama schools.”

The festival, which runs until Saturday, June 30, is co-produced by Sheffield Theatres with both city universities.

Professor Steve Nicholson, director of theatre in the University of Sheffield’s school of English, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for students to broaden their theatre experience and maybe even challenge some expectations.

“It’s almost like having the best of the Edinburgh Fringe on our doorstep and shows once again that Sheffield is one of the most exciting cities in the UK if you want to see and study live performance.”

Renowned playwright John Godber is judging the student productions and staging his own play at the festival.

In total 200 workshops, in everything from acting to puppetry choreography, and stage fighting, are planned and a festival newspaper is published daily.

Sheffield Theatres’ chief executive Dan Bates said: “A big part of our work is discovering, nurturing and developing new talent so we are very excited to be hosting the first and only International Student Drama Festival.

“It’s great for the city to be hosting another prestigious event.

“We look forward to welcoming the hundreds of international students, visiting artists and companies through our doors.”