Pupils take Billy Liar to the Fringe

James Russell (stripy t-shirt) taking some the cast members through rehearsals.play
James Russell (stripy t-shirt) taking some the cast members through rehearsals.play

A group of St Leonards pupils are getting set to showcase their talents on the biggest artistic stage in the world.

From August 13 to 18, talented young performers from the St Andrews school will be taking their production of ‘Billy Liar’ to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

The school has been putting on regular shows at the Byre Theatre in St Andrews for years, but this is the first time in over a decade that St Leonards has appeared at the world famous festival.


Nickie Ledger, head of drama and director of the show, told the Citizen: “This is the first time that St Leonards boys will be appearing at the Fringe as, last time the school was there, it was before 1999 so it was still all-girls.’’

Featuring 11 pupils from Years 9 (S2) through to IB2 (S6), the production tells the story of 19-year-old Billy who, bored by his life and horrified at the thought of being like his parents, creates a fantasy world for himself. However, the teenager gets into trouble when his real and imaginary worlds merge.

Nickie explained: “To escape, he has created another world for himself where he can do what he wants.

“He spends part of his days in humdrum 1959 and part in the world he has created and that leads to some problems.”


The St Leonards version is co-directed by RADA-trained actor and director James Russell and, uniquely, will see several multi talented members of the acting cast also play a part in the show’s live band.

There is a further twist in store for those familiar with the traditional Billy Liar stage production. Nickie added “We’ve given the ending a bit of a tweak.”

The production will run at the Space@Venue 45, nightly from 8pm. Tickets are available at the Fringe Society - www.edfringe.com, 0131 2260066 - or the Space@Venue 45 - boxoffice.venue45@thespaceuk.com, 0845 508 8387.