Booking Information

25th October 2015

2.30 & 4.30 pm

Suitable for children age 3 upwards

Tickets: £5 per person


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Venue Details

Corn Exchange

High Street


ML12 6BJ

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Children’s theatre
challenging gender stereotypes while upholding the beauty of the fairy tale

The Last of the Dragons

Edinburgh Festival Fringe debut for Director/Producer Laura Stevens
co-founder Manhattan Children’s Theatre
with all Edinburgh cast

Whether you believe in Dragons or not, in the kingdom of Middlefield, Dragons are real. For, in this kingdom, it is a tradition, that on a princess’ sixteenth birthday, she is tied to a rock, kidnapped by a dragon, rescued by a prince and they both live happily ever after. But what happens when the prince is too afraid to fight, the princess “wields a mean sword and quick wit” (New York Times) and wants to do the rescuing herself, and what she loves about the prince is his brain and not his muscle. Added to which the dragon is nowhere to be found? Adapted from the story by Edith Nesbit (The Railway Children) The Last of the Dragons tells a tale of bravery, intelligence and unexpected NEW traditions.
“If you’re tired of that ”Once upon a time” same old, same old, you should visit Manhattan Children’s Theatre for ”The Last of the Dragons,’’ New York Times

A Fringe debut for Laura Stevens, Co-founder of Manhattan Children’s Theatre, she has selected a talented all Edinburgh cast. With a mission of providing affordable, high quality theatrical entertainment to children and families in New York City, for over a decade, Laura and MCT served over 250,000 children, schools and families. Having relocated with her family to Edinburgh, she is committed to furthering this mission and is proud and privileged to be performing in Edinburgh at The Pleasance Theatre for the Festival Fringe 2015.

With a brilliant script by Kristin Walter (Playwright) Edith Nesbit’s book is wonderfully transformed for the stage.

“This production was good from start to finish. Walter’s script features cute, funny dialog, yet allows the actors the freedom to add some clever improv into the mix. This is a smart choice as it allows this excellent cast an opportunity to show off their comic talents. Laura Stevens’s direction kept the play moving quickly and allowed the humour to shine through.” Off Off Broadway Review

Bios available at twitter: @NYdragonsinEdin

Press contact Aveline Evans 07946752994
For other information contact Laura Stevens 07722 596 291
Venue 33 The Pleasance (Beneath)
5 – 31 August 12 noon
Suitable for children age 3 upwards
Prices from £6, group discount, 2 for 1 and preview rates available
Press preview 6 & 7 August

Interview with Director Laura Stevens.

New York Director

wants to make quality children’s theatre

available to all

1: You moved to Edinburgh 18 months ago with your British husband and your family, but prior to that you ran Manhattan Children’s Theatre for 8 years which you had co-founded. What shows had you directed during that time?

Since opening its doors in 2002, Manhattan Children’s Theatre produced over 60 shows for young audiences.  We commissioned writers to adapt works of both classical and contemporary literature into theatrical scripts.  We also sought out and licensed work from other brilliant theatre organizations and sources providing us a solid and well-rounded programming schedule that, to the best of our ability, met the needs of the young minds we were serving.

Rikki Tikki Tavi ( By Rudyard Kipling, Adapted by Bruce Merrill, Co-Founder of Manhattan Children’s Theatre)

The Selfish Giant (By Oscar Wilde, Adapted by Kristin Walter)

Rapunzel (By The Brothers Grim, Adapted by Kristin Walter)

Goodnight Moon (By Margaret Wise Brown & Clement Hurd, Licensed through Seattle Children’s Theatre)

Goblin Market (By Christina Rossetti, Adapted by Bruce Merrill)

Go Dog, Go! (P.D. Eastman, Licensed through Seattle Children’s Theatre)
The Last of the Dragons (By E. Nesbit, Adapted by Kristin Walter).

While my passion is, was and always will be directing, I knew I first had to ensure the programming, production elements and quality of the shows, within our financial means, had to come first.  Simply put, I had to make sure we could pay our bills to keep our mission alive.  Thus, I generally only directed one show a season.  I have a special place in my heart for Robin Hood (Adapted by Mark Sarto)  – as I directed this while I was pregnant with my “second” child (the first child being Manhattan Children’s Theatre) as well as for Goodnight Moon (which was my husband’s favorite show and a book I must have read to my son, Oscar, at least 500 times), but the play I love directing most is The Last of the Dragons.  Seriously.  Somehow the words of E. Nesbit’s story and Kristin’s adaptation continue to make me look at life and people differently.

2: Why did you choose Last of the Dragons for your debut at the Edinburgh Fringe?
To be perfectly honest, I felt it was a safe bet.  In the few years I’ve lived here, I learned everyone knew and adored E. Nesbit’s “The Railway Children”.  Thus I believed it was easier to connect this awareness and promote THE LAST OF THE DRAGONS to potential ticket buyers.  I’m just lucky to really LOVE this particular tale and have another opportunity to produce and direct it.
I have seen myself as almost every character throughout the story – from the Princess that is obliged to follow tradition and have a Prince save her, to the Nurse that has to “take care of everyone else” but still has needs of her own, to the King that does whatever is humanly possible to raise his child as best as he can throughout challenging circumstances, to FINALLY the Dragon, who ultimately learns from the past, decides to STOP FIGHTING, and simply wants to be loved.)

3: MCT played a big role in the NY community especially of course for children and families. Tell us a bit about the ethos or mission of MCT:
When a loyal customer told me her son always felt comfortable enough to come into the theatre, take off his shoes, and get ready to watch the show, I knew our mission was in action.  Not that I wanted 100 or so children to remove their shoes just before our shows began, but that we were actually creating a home for young minds to embrace life from a different perspective.
MCT opened its doors in Lower Manhattan just after 9/11 with a mission of producing affordable, high quality theatrical entertainment to children and families of the NYC community – regardless of background or financial status.
We worked closely with local community boards and other youth organizations to cross promote our shared visions as well as building relationships with the schools and teachers that believed in our mission.
Over a decade, we started a theatre.  People came.  We got a loan to make a bigger theatre.  We paid off the loan.  We served over 250,000 audience members.
We are still committed to upholding and most importantly learning from our own mission.

Favorite comments from children:

“You know, that giant wasn’t scary at all.”

“I listened, but I thought the play should be more joyful”

“That wasn’t anything like the book…”

“How long did you have to study to remomorize all those words?”

“Is that gold on stage real?”

“Is Tiny Tim’s leg really made of wood?”

“Are you really a princess?”

“Is that a real sword?”

“I THINK the (Character) should have done…”

“I like your dress”

4 How does working with a Scottish team contrast with working in New York?
Artists are artists – geography doesn’t play a role.
The actors I have the privilege to work with here in Scotland are absolutely brilliant.  I really can’t compare individuals in terms of “acting” – minus the accent, of course.  I just believe that if a story has been thought out and the words have been written and that these words withstand a test of time, THEY MUST BE BROUGHT TO LIFE and I Thank God for the courage of the artists that choose to do it. I do find it fascinating how every time I do a show the cast manage to find something new in the piece and this Scottish team have come up with a wealth of new ideas that reflect the cultural differences. It’s inspiring!


Bios available at twitter: @NYdragonsinEdin

Press contact Aveline Evans 07946752994
For other information contact Laura Stevens 07722 596 291
Venue 33 The Pleasance (Beneath)
5 – 31 August 12 noon
Suitable for children age 3 upwards
Prices from £6, group discount, 2 for 1 and preview rates available
Press preview 6 & 7 August