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Playwright Davey Anderson Joins Pepperdine Scotland Project

Internationally recognized Scottish playwright Davey Anderson has traveled to Malibu to join Seaver College theatre students in developing a compelling production that will premiere at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this summer.

Anderson, known for his work with the National Theatre of Scotland, is spending a week with 18 students and key theatre department staff. Their time will be spent developing the script of The Abode, Anderson’s new play focusing on the fate of a young American misfit seduced by members of the alt-right group. The play is an attempt to understand how far-right political groups entice and recruit new members, and how their influence on the global stage has come to the fore so rapidly.

“I have a long-held fascination with American culture, so it’s a real pleasure to be part of Pepperdine’s transatlantic collaboration for 2018,” Anderson said. “I have been very much looking forward to this week, as it is such an opportunity for us to explore and develop the script, with creative input coming from everyone involved. Pepperdine Scotland has earned itself an excellent reputation for tackling important contemporary social issues in a compelling way. The Abode is a hard-hitting story that we hope will build on this tradition.”

The University, through its Pepperdine Scotland exchange program, has an outstanding track record of collaborating with renowned Scottish theatre professionals to create award-winning productions. Students covet the chance to be involved in the projects, which allow them to build exceptional experience that can greatly benefit their future careers. This year members of the University’s media production major will be involved as well, creating a documentary about the project.

Cathy Thomas-Grant, divisional dean of the Fine Arts Division at Seaver College and head of the Pepperdine Scotland exchange program, has served as director of the University’s endeavors in Scotland since 2000. In 2016 Thomas-Grant directed Pepperdine Scotland’s Fringe production, The Interference, which won a Scotsman Fringe First and Broadway Baby Bobby Award, and was later staged at the Hollywood Fringe.

“The Edinburgh Fringe is the world’s biggest arts festival, and being part of it is a remarkable experience for our students,” explained Thomas-Grant. “We are privileged to have Davey Anderson on board—it’s a tremendous opportunity for our students to work with a much-admired Scottish playwright and to help create a cutting-edge production that addresses important themes about society in America and worldwide.”

“I am so excited to be working with Davey Anderson on such a significant piece of theatre,” shared Seaver College freshman Christopher Jerabek. “It is rare for undergraduate students to receive such a great opportunity to tackle a global issue like the alt-right and present it to the demographics that need to hear it. I look forward to seeing where this production goes, not just as a work of theatre but as a part of the justice movement it embodies.”

Students will travel to Scotland in July where they will visit the Highlands and learn about the country’s history, languages, and culture. They will also spend time working on the play in Glasgow and Edinburgh. The play will then be staged at the Fringe during the first half of August.

Anderson is a writer, director, and musician whose plays include Snuff, Wired, Rupture, Liar, Blackout, Clutter Keeps Company, Playback, Scavengers, and The Static. His work with the National Theatre of Scotland includes To Begin, Enquirer, Peter Pan, Architecting, Be Near Me, Mixter Maxter, Black Watch, Home, and most recently (as writer and associate director), Anything That Gives Off Light, coproduced with Brooklyn-based group the TEAM, and premiered at the Edinburgh International Festival 2016.

To learn more about this undergraduate theatre program at Seaver College, visit the Pepperdine Scotland website.

Photo credit: Julia Donlon