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Broughton Theatre Teams with NC Author to Fund Journey to Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Needham Broughton High School’s Theatre Department is staging a unique collaboration with a North Carolina author to raise money for its journey next year to the world renowned Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Broughton Theatre, under the direction of Julie A. Florin, was selected to participate in the 2015 American High School Theatre Festival (AHSTF), which chooses top school theatre programs from around the country to travel to Scotland and perform at official Fringe Festival venues. Author Gary D. Cole will contribute proceeds from copies of his novel, Black Box, sold through the Broughton Theatre program and will also team with Broughton on other fundraising events.

Broughton was one of some 40 high schools chosen by the AHSTF Board of Advisors from over 2,200 schools in all 50 states and most provinces of Canada nominated to take part in the 2015 Fringe Festival. Broughton Theatre was recognized based on the excellence of its productions, which include a fall play, a spring musical, and student-directed shows, and the overall strength of its program. Julie Florin, a longtime music director for such Triangle theatre companies as Burning Coal, EbZb Productions, Hot Summer Nights!, and Raleigh Little Theatre, took charge of Broughton Theatre in 2011, and is delighted with the selection by AHSTF. “This shows that the hard work and dedication of our students and the Broughton community has really paid off,” she said.

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is the largest performance arts festival in the world. The event features over 3,000 productions, 40,000 performances, and thousands of performers from all around the globe. For three weeks each summer, Edinburgh is transformed into a giant stage, with theatres, museums, and even pubs playing host to a dizzying array of performances.

Broughton theatre students face a major fundraising challenge to make it to Edinburgh. It costs approximately $6,000 per student to participate in AHSTF. While parents will pay some of this expense, Broughton Theatre wants to ease the burden on families by raising as much money as possible.

This is where North Carolina author Gary D. Cole comes in. Cole, a veteran theatre producer who founded the Theater of the American South festival, has written a suspense novel called Black Box which revolves around a brilliant actress, a theatre critic, and a wealthy patron making deals, onstage and off, to save or sell their souls. When Cole found about Broughton’s selection for AHSTF and their need to raise funds to make the journey to Scotland, he wanted to help. “The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is one of the greatest performing arts events the world has to offer. I’m thrilled to see Black Box play a part in allowing local high school students to take advantage of this tremendous opportunity.”

Broughton Theatre students and parents will be selling copies of Black Box at Broughton performances (including the upcoming production of “The Westing Game” October 23-25) and in the community. $10 from every paperback sale and $5 from every eBook sale will go to support the journey to Edinburgh. Anyone interested in purchasing the book and supporting Broughton Theatre should contact Julie Florin at The novel is also available online at ; enter “201” in the “Partners in Performance” box on the checkout page for that sale (or in the “Instructions to Seller” box for an eBook sale) to support Broughton Theatre. Broughton Theatre is also planning a monologue contest based on passages from Black Box to be held in early 2015.

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