Fringe Box



Drama on Guildford High Street…

Published on: 8 Jul, 2014
Updated on: 11 Jul, 2014

by Victoria Lazarevic –

Did you happen to see the two Eskimos looking for a place to fish in Guildford today (MondayJuly 7)? No? What about two the Second World War refugees looking for a home? Or perhaps some beekeepers who’d lost their bees?

Or, like me, did you double-take when you saw three young men dressed as 1950s mountaineers on their hands and knees, tied together by a rope, scaling Guildford High Street?

It’s ok – we haven’t all gone mad. For the first year ever, the Guildford School of Acting (GSA) at the University of Surrey brought their BA acting programme to the high street  to the interest and delight of passers by.


The mountaineers: With beard: Lukas Lee. With spectacles: Ethan Taylor. On floor: Ned Porteous

Trevor Rawlins, head of acting, explained that the module is a contemporary practice project working with the Natural Theatre Company that is based in Bath. A successful pilot last year with the company meant the GSA students could, this year, bring their performances to our High Street, in front of a real audience.

GSA logoTrevor said: “The naturals do this sort of street theatre and although the pieces we saw today were devised by the students themselves, they were based on the kind of thing ‘The Naturals’ do.”

Lukas Lee, Ethan Taylor and Ned Porteous dressed, spoke and acted like 1950s English gentlemen based on Sir Edmund Hilary and his team climbing Everest. As part of their second year degree module they gave us an entertaining and enjoyable acting display to include the tension and drama of nearly having to cut young Ned loose to fall to his fate.

After averting the crisis they came to rest near the Guildhall where they shared cucumber sandwiches topped off with a surprise birthday cake and sing song for Ned’s actual birthday.

Celebrating at 'the summit'.

Celebrating at ‘the summit’.

Improvisation and tomfoolery prevailed as Joyce Storey from Reading who was watching on, told the lads that it was her birthday too and was thus treated to a rapturous rendition of Happy Birthday from the budding actors and growing crowd of Guildford bystanders. She said: “It’s been the highlight of my day”.

Expect the unexpected again today, Tuesday, July 8, as different GSA acts will be back on the High Street between 11am and 3pm.

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