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OnOff Stage

On an overcast Saturday in June, some two dozen drama students performed scenes from a play for an audience of admiring teachers and parents. Nothing unusual in that. Except that this play was specially written for them and the playwright, Adrian Mitchell and composer Andrew Dickson, both of them internationally acclaimed, were there to watch.

The play, Siege, was commissioned from Mitchell by Tamsyn Imison, headteacher at Hampstead School in north London who, together with 19 other schools around the country, raised funds for the project that would give them a play that meant something to their pupils as well as one which could be performed by the school. It contained contributions from the pupils who worked on it with Mitchell in its development phase.

The Royal Shakespeare Company's production of The Comedy of Errors begins a run at The Other Place, Stratford-upon-Avon from now until September. Under the direction of Tim Supple, it then takes off on a five-month regional tour which includes specialist workshops in each venue. For further information ring 0171 382 7127.

If it's summertime, it follows that Nottinghamshire's Summer Festival of the Arts in Education is upon us. Until July 19, the festival will be showing off the best of the county's arts, from nursery schools through to adult education. All details can be found in the festival programme, available from Nottinghamshire libraries, leisure centres, schools and tourist information centres.

The Essential Music Theatre is running pilot Shakespeare summer schools at the Duke of York's Theatre on A Midsummer Night's Dream and Macbeth. Run by members of the company through July and August, the workshops will be open to anyone from the age of eight upwards. The sessions will concentrate on language, text and performance techniques and will include an opportunity to attend a fully-staged performance. For more information, ring Sam Bullock on 01223 563176.

For the first time in 17 years, Leicestershire's youth theatres may be unable to participate in this year's Edinburgh Festival. Unless funding can be found to make up a shortfall to support most of the participants, Youth Arts Leicestershire warns that the whole project will have to be called off this year. Leicestershire youth theatres won a Fringe First award last year and the county has a reputation for excellence, despite having had its local authority funding cut substantially since 1992.

If you know of business sponsors or individuals who could make a contribution to this outstanding group of committed young people, ring Staunton on 01509 213 675.

Graduates at the London Academy of Performing Arts present Caryl Churchill's Top Girls from July 9 to 13 at 7.30. School parties can book by arrangement on 0171 736 0121.

In a moving tribute to the man who made the Globe happen, representatives of Globelink schools attended a special Founder's Day on what would have been Sam Wanamaker's birthday. The schools have been involved in a fundraising project called Raise the Heavens which allowed them to have a time capsule filled with artefacts of their choice for every Pounds 200 raised. Hundreds of schools from around the world have been involved in Globelink and together have raised Pounds 110,000, which was presented to the Globe's patron, Prince Philip, on Founder's Day.

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