It was a big ask, commissioning playwright Siofra Dromgooleto to create If It Didn’t Matter.
Not only because the themes of loss, friendship, rebellion, self-destruction and finally, realisation, had already been work-shopped by the cast.
But also because it is being produced and performed by emerging young company Cup and Dagger (all St Edwards School pupils) to take to Edinburgh Fringe, premiering at The North Wall first, on Friday.
The result is a dynamic, moving and funny new play exploring timeless themes of the teenage experience through a vibrant, moving and often comic modern text.
It depicts Hal, who is 17 and in the middle of a meltdown. Trying to come to terms with the loss of her mother, struggling to relate to her sister and father, becoming angry and frustrated in school.
But she’s still a typical teenager, going through all the typical tribulations of adolescence alongside her odd group of friends, all dealing with their own teenage angst.
Directed by the school’s Head of Academic Drama, David Aldred, it is a true collaboration between St Edward’s School and The North Wall.
The North Wall runs ArtsLab, a residency programme for emerging artists aged 18 -25, of which upcoming playwright Siofra Dromgoole was one, and so the partnership comes full circle.
David explains: “We have been taking plays to The Fringe for years now, but this is a bit different because we have commissioned the work ourselves. We had a vision which has now become a reality thanks to the resources at the North Wall.”
As for the play itself, David says that although it addresses some serious issues, it is looped with humour, and spoken in a young contemporary tongue.
Throw in some unique choreography, composing, and sets and the physical theatre piece develops multiple layers.
So how are the actors/pupils feeling about their debut and Fringe stretch? “They always take it in their stride. They are so talented and If It Didn’t Matter really demonstrates their abilities. They have really taken ownership of the play and its nuances and use it to express themselves, so I think they find it quite liberating.
And David himself? “Every project has the element of risk and danger but the proof is in the pudding, so we can’t wait to hear what the audiences in Oxford and Edinburgh think of it.”
If It Didn’t Matter is at the North Wall on Friday. thenorthwall.com