Despite the fact that this academic year’s theatre season is drawing to a close, it is clear from the Byre’s May-to-September catalogue that theatre is still well and truly alive over the summer. Indeed, regardless of the dwindling of students from May onwards, the Byre will continue to produce shows of great significance and theatricality and, therefore, it seems wise to cancel tickets to daddy’s summer home in Cannes and instead book tickets to some of the Byre’s impressive summer productions.
Firstly, it is imperative that we pay homage to the Byre for their continued eagerness and persisted efforts in educating and entertaining students across the town with their varied and extensive theatre—a fact which is perfectly evidenced by their latest catalogue, rich with diversity but also universality. Frankly, this summer season looks set to have something for everyone!
For instance, on 14 May St Andrews will be wowed by the National Theatre Live production of Arthur Miller’s All My Sons, a play which lives and breathes America in the 1940s and encapsulates the brutal reality behind the unattainable American dream. The show promises to be a worthwhile emotional ordeal, as should be expected from one of Miller’s timeless classics. On the other hand, to those interested in more modern stories then Kruckemeyer’s This Girl Laughs, This Girl Cries, This Girl Does Nothing, must be earnestly recommended. As a “contemporary fairy tale about determination, friendship and the ups and downs of growing older”, the show looks set to be especially pertinent to St Andrews’ student body, but with themes for all ages, and a message which is as universal as all classical fairy tales, this performance definitely shouldn’t be missed! Kruckemeyer’s show goes up on 15 May and is one which will not only take you back to your childhood but wishes to dramatically change the audience’s perception of what it means to be young.
Literature students will also be especially pleased to hear that St Andrews’ very own St Leonards’ year nine and ten drama students will be bringing an impressive adaptation of Dickens’ Oliver Twist to the Byre from 21-23 May. Created by the “visionary” playwright Anya Reiss, the show looks set to be a more lucid and stylised retelling of the classic story, but nonetheless, it has promised to retain all the timeless features that make up one of English Literature’s cornerstones. As such, much respect must be awarded to St Leonards for their dedication to the arts.
As ever the Byre will continue to host a range of musical and comical performances as well, and this summer will even experiment with less obvious productions such as the interactive and creative performance of Elisabeth Schilling’s Felt on 6 July. Indeed, it is clear that this summer’s season of art is one which will be a varied mixture of the experimental and the established and, therefore, much praise must again be awarded to the Byre for their bravery and ability in championing the arts. These performances of course will not have the added appeal of watching your theatre friends squirm on stage as you heckle or applaud them but what they do provide is an insight into culture which is less personal and, thus, more abstract and detached—allowing for analysis and appreciation without fear of being critical of our peers’ work. Therefore, all that is left to say is congratulations to the Byre Theatre for being the strong and stable foundation and home of St Andrews culture—long may this continue!