13th June 2012 - Three Schools and Colleges (Chicago-USA, Aberdeen-Scotland, Northampton-UK) win $750 prize to stage new Sherlock Holmes Play – Sherlock Holmes and The Jacobite Rose (MX Publishing, London)

Colleges from Chicago (Lake View High School), Aberdeen (Aberdeen College) and Northampton (Sir Christopher Hatton) have been chosen from dozens of entries from around the world  to be the first to perform Sherlock Holmes and The Jacobite Rose – a new play from Fiona-Jane Brown. The prize which includes copies of the play and performance rights is worth £500/$750 per college and performances will take place in the autumn and early next year.

Tony Young, Curriculum Leader, Music & Performing Arts at Aberdeen College comments “We are delighted that we have been chosen to premier ‘Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Jacobite Rose’.  It means a great deal to us that the play was written by a local playwright and that we will be able to work with her. The students are looking forward to meeting and rehearsing with Fiona as she will be there to help them reach the essence of the play which will bring a new dimension to their performance.” As one of Scotland’s largest colleges and as the largest single local provider of further education in the North-east of Scotland, Aberdeen College has a major role to play in meeting the vocational education and training needs of individuals, firms and communities. 

The College recruits over 6000 full-time students each year across a wide range of vocational areas and a further 24,000 students enrol on part time and distance learning courses.  With its newly established facility for Music and Performing Arts which includes music practice rooms, recording studios, drama and dance workshops and a 96-seater Studio Theatre, it’s no wonder that the 300 full time Music and Drama students are delighted with their fantastic brand new facilities which reflect industry standards in performing arts education. The Basement studio theatre is used for the delivery of movement, voice, production and acting skills and is the perfect location for specialist workshops that include acting, movement and dance, stage combat and voice skills.

Lake View High School (Chicago) was nominated by Holmes author Felicia Carparelli whose debut novel ‘Murder In The Library’ is set in modern day Chicago. Felicia is involved with the School’s book club, whose favourite book is the Holmes classic ‘Hound of The Baskervilles’ and have featured in the Chicago Tribune for their performances. Felicia comments “I am teaching a historical research and fiction writing class next year and The Jacobite Rose will enhance the curriculum.  The students are also going to be attempting to write short stories in the style of Jane Austen  and Conan Doyle.  The students are looking forward to communicating with Ms. Brown."

Sir Christopher Hatton (UK) is a 11-19 Academy situated in Wellingborough, Northampton with around 1000 students and was nominated by Ruth Heatley. Ruth comments “As a trainee teacher here, I feel it would be a brilliant place for the play to be performed given its incredibly strong and supportive English and drama department, but also because it really is the kind of school where students are engaged, happy to get involved and participate with new ideas. At Sir Christopher Hatton older year groups often assist younger students' learning and working on a play such as Fiona-Jane Brown's would be a great opportunity for peer learning.”

The popularity of Sherlock Holmes is rocketing, with TV series running in the USA (Elementary), the UK (BBC Sherlock) and even in Russia – not to mention another Guy Ritchie movie in the making. Sherlock Holmes was recently awarded the Guiness World Record for the most portrayed literary character in history.

Sherlock Holmes has long been popular in education around the world and Fiona-Jane Brown aims to bring it back to the stage in colleges by penning a series of Holmes plays. The competition was inspired by her publisher’s strong support of The Beacon Society (www.beaconsociety.com) – “a not-for-profit scion of the Baker Street Irregulars, providing resources that bring the magic of Sherlock Holmes to life in the classroom”.

Steve Emecz, Managing Director of publishers MX Publishing comments “By supporting new Sherlock Holmes plays that are ideal for education we hope to bring Holmes to the next generation. The films and TV series are great, but only BBC Sherlock seems to be encouraging people to read the original Holmes stories. We need more fiction and in particular plays and playlets that enable teachers to bring Holmes into the classroom”.

Brown adds “I am delighted to know there has been such a positive reception of the play by schools/colleges, and especially for England's greatest detective.  It's actually quite ironic too, that when Sherlock Holmes first appeared on stage, Arthur Conan Doyle was utterly sick of the character!  Yet we can see today that Holmes and Watson are as popular as ever, and writers worldwide are putting their individual spin on the characters.  I have a number of good ideas for original plays and hoping to write more in the autumn.  Any educational group which offers drama courses is often restricted as to the material they can perform due to copyright, performance costs etc., my publisher’s intention to offer my Holmes plays at a reasonable rate to them is excellent news."

Brown explains how she ended up writing new Holmes material. "I have loved the Sherlock Holmes stories since I was young and received a copy of the Strand stories one Christmas.  I adored Jeremy Brett's portrayal of Holmes, and I think he will always be the person I have in mind when I'm writing.  But Conan Doyle's real genius was combining his tutor Dr Joseph Bell's skills of detection with complex plots from his own wonderful imagination.  I hope he would enjoy my Holmes as much as he did William Gillette's all those years ago, despite his annoyance at the character's popularity. This story is entirely new - I have even invented the history of the Foyle family as well as their treasure, the Jacobite Rose!  Using my knowledge of Scottish and Irish history, and my love of Conan Doyle's original style, I have tried to create the type of mundane story which Holmes turns into an exciting adventure.  He can't help himself!  I hope performers will be able to capture that traditional Victorian characterisation, while breathing life into an original tale."

Sherlock Holmes and The Jacobite Rose is available from all good bookstores including Barnes and Noble and Amazon in the USA, Waterstones and Amazon in the UK and performance rights are available from the publisher’s UK website www.mxpublishing.co.uk .


Amazon USA http://www.amazon.com/Sherlock-Holmes-Adventure-Jacobite-Rose/dp/1780921675

Amazon UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sherlock-Holmes-Adventure-Jacobite-Rose/dp/1780921675

Kindle USA http://www.amazon.com/Sherlock-Holmes-Adventure-Jacobite-ebook/dp/B007X5KM0I

Kindle UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sherlock-Holmes-Adventure-Jacobite-ebook/dp/B007X5KM0I    

Waterstones UK http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/products/fiona-jane+brown/sherlock+holmes+and+the+adventure+of+the+jacobite+rose/9121052/


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