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COUNTDOWN TO SPIRIT OF THE SHOW II

Date: 31 August 2000
Our ref: 700

More than 250 graduates from all over the world are set to converge at the University of Aberdeen on tomorrow (1 September 2000) to relive memories of their time as amateur thespians who trod the boards of HM Theatre in the annual Student Show.

Mr Roddy Begg, Director of Alumni Relations, and himself a former actor in and Director of the Student Show, commented:  “We are delighted so many people are coming back for this very special three-day Reunion Weekend.

“The first such Reunion, “Spirit of the Show I” was held in 1995, our Quincentenary year.  It was so popular that we decided to arrange another in the year 2000 and have been nearly overwhelmed with the response.  Apart from the fact that alumni are making the trip from as far afield as Australia, New Zealand, the USA and Canada, as well as several European countries, we are particularly pleased that age as not proved a barrier!

“The oldest participant to register so far is now the grand age of 86 and the oldest participant who will be performing is Duncan Murray, a retired doctor from Kent who appeared in the Show between 1942 and 1945.  He will be singing “Rosemount Rosie”, one of the most popular numbers in his era.”

The title, “Spirit of the Show”, refers to a song written by Reginald Barrett-Ayres, Head of the Music Department and Director of many Shows n the 1950s and 1960s.  For many years, it was the traditional end to every Student Show.  Although the main aim of the Reunion is to renew friendships, some 65 of the alumni will actually be performing in a Cabaret which will take place in the lounge of the Students’ Union in Upperkirkgate on Sunday 3 September.
 
Roddy Begg explained:  “To cope with the numbers interested, the Cabaret will be in three parts.  One will be by those who appeared in the Show between the 1940s and 1960s and this will be directed by Charles Barron, former Head of the Drama Department at the College of Education.  Ronnie Middleton, now a teacher at Cults Academy, will direct those who appeared from the late 1960s to early 1980s and the final part will be in the capable hands of Craig Pike, current Director of the Student Show who graduated in 1998.”

Not only those who appeared front of stage are coming to the Weekend – the group will also have former stagehands, make-up artists, costume designers, script writers and choreographers.  Many people in Aberdeen will remember Eileen Ewen who ran a very successful dance school  in the 1940s and 1950s.    Mrs Howie (as she now is), choreographed the Show between 1947-1957, a role earlier in the hands of the renowned Madam Murray, of another very famous dance school.

In addition to rehearsals for the Cabaret, the alumni and their partners have a very full social programme, including tours of HM Theatre and a Reunion Dinner and Celeidh.   A highlight of the 3-day event will be a 2-hour video programme of edited highlights from the last 10 years of the Show.

Roddy Begg added:  “Generations of people in Aberdeen will have very fond memories of the Student Show which used to be the highlight of the week-long Student Charities Week.  Originally performed only by students of the University of Aberdeen, this changed in the 1970s when students from all the Higher and Further Education institutions in Aberdeen became involved.”

ENDS

Further information from:

Mr Roddy Begg, Director of Alumni Relations, Tel:  01224 273233
Christine Cook, Executive Director of Public Relations, Tel:  01224 272014
 

PHOTOCALL AND INTERVIEW OPPORTUNITY

Directors and some of the members of the cast who will be taking part in the Cabaret will be available for interview and a photo opportunity at 2.00pm on Friday 1 September in the Crombie Lounge, Crombie-Johnstone Halls of Residence, (entry by College Bounds).  You are cordially invited to send a photographer/reporter.
 

University Press Office on telephone +44 (0)1224-273778 or email a.ramsay@admin.abdn.ac.uk.