Pearl City High Raises Funds For Fringe Fest

The Pearl City High School Drama Department was invited to perform as part of the American High School Theatre Festival at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland in August 2013. The invitation alone is a prestigious honor given only to top programs. But before they can attend the festival, they need to raise travel funds. To do so, the department is hosting ‘Hearts for the Arts: Going to the Fringe,’ which will take place at 7 p.m. July 13, 14, 27 and 28 at Pearl City Cultural Center. Above, the cast of the department’s April show, ‘Once Upon One Kapakahi Time.’ Photo courtesy of Makalapua Pelletier.

Pearl City, meet Edinburgh. Students from the Pearl City High School Drama Department have received the prestigious distinction of being invited to perform as part of the American High School Theatre Festival (AHSTF) segment of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland next year.

However, they need a bit of help to get to the other side of the world. Their solution? Hearts for the Arts: Going to the Fringe, a two-hour variety revue that features 26 students, many of whom also will perform at the Fringe Festival.

Hearts for the Arts was created in 2010 by Pearl City alums Wainani Paikai and Christina Uyeno as a way to raise funds for Pearl City High School’s drama program. It turned into an annual spring show, and has incorporated a summer show as well.

The summer fundraiser happens July 13, 14, 27 and 28 at 7 p.m. at Pearl City Cultural Center (2100 Ho’oki’eki’e St.). Admission is $10 per person, with an additional $10 donation to help finance the trip.

The Scotland journey happens in August 2013, with a group of 16 that includes students, alumni and chaperones. The three-week festival includes 1,800 performances in every cranny of the city, from playgrounds to conference rooms, parks and churches.

Pearl City High drama and literature teacher Steven H.Y. Kam said his students will tentatively be performing Hamlette by Allison Williams.

“It is a 30-minute comedy based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet,” said Kam. “AHSTF performances cannot exceed 90 minutes. The actual application process (to be invited to perform at the Festival) is quite rigorous. First, a school must be nominated by a state, regional, or national theatre entity – we were nominated by Robin Kitsu of Nanakuli Intermediate and High School Performing Arts Center, who attended the 2011 Fringe Festival. Next, the school receives an application form from AHSTF, which requires potential directors to outline their curricular and creative points of view in great detail, as well as the director’s philosophy in terms of education and their program. Eight different board members evaluate the applicants.”

Many of the students heading to the Fringe are in Kam’s English and drama classes, and they’ve been actively involved with the Drama Department’s performances and functions. Like all groups at the festival, Pearl City students will have a chance to put on four performances. But that’s not all they’ll be doing.

“The first two to four days will be spent in London with the normal sightseeing and cultural experiences,” said Kam. “The majority of the time will be spent in Edinburgh, where the group will experience not only performing on an international stage, but also the many sightseeing and cultural experiences the festival and Scotland have to offer. The group will be allowed to attend other performances, as well as experience sightseeing at the Stirling and Edinburgh castles, the world-renowned Military Tattoo performance and a traditional Ceilidh Scottish dance extravaganza.”

To reserve seats for the revue show this month, and to further Pearl City High drama students’ firsthand cultural enrichment in Scotland, call Wainani Paikai at 429-7647, Christina Uyeno at 551-1717, or send an email to