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University Theatre to attend Edinburgh Fringe Festival

March 11, 2011

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Photo of WMU theatre students in Good Death.KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University Theatre's production of "Good Death: A Community Conversation," which premiered in Kalamazoo in fall 2009, will travel to the internationally renowned Edinburgh Fringe Festival this August.

As the world's largest arts festival, the Fringe attracts more than 19,000 artists from around the globe to Edinburgh, Scotland, each year to celebrate and share theatre.

"This is a huge honor, not only for the students and the theatre department, but also for our community, as it will bring international acclaim to Western Michigan University and to Kalamazoo," says Dr. Joan Herrington, WMU professor and chair of theatre. "Students and faculty involved in the production are in the process of raising the dollars required to make this extraordinary trip."

The process of creating "Good Death" was anything but ordinary. University students collaborated with the Tectonic Theatre Project to create a powerful piece that blurs the line separating documentaries and theatre. The actors and writers interviewed a wide range of Kalamazoo locals and used the words of clergy, hospice workers, lawyers, doctors, pro-life and pro-choice activists, and those in our community who are living with terminal illness."Good Death" considers what it means to live life to the fullest or to choose to die. But, it is not limited to Michiganders. The show also explores perceptions of life and death around the globe. It encourages discussion on a topic that is both taboo and sensitive.

The show will be reworked and revised in preparation for the festival. Actor Ethan Hedeen, an original cast member who is traveling to the festival, says he is excited about the opportunity.

"I'm interested to see how the locals of Scotland will respond to it," Hedeen says. "Recent events have brought to light the controversy of the legality of euthanasia in Scotland."

Once they arrive in Edinburgh, it will be up to the "Good Death" actors and production team to attract audience members to the show, which will be one of an estimated 2,400. The group plans to hit the streets of the city, using finely tuned performance skills to act as its own advertising team.

Additional information

Individuals interested in supporting the trip may contact Joan Herrington, chair of the WMU Department of Theatre, at joan.herrington@wmich.edu or (269) 387-3224.

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Media contact: Emily Duguay, (269) 387-3227, emily.duguay@wmich.edu

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