The culture of St Andrews

Arts & Culture editor Laszlo Szegedi looks at the cultural side of St Andrews.

Wax Collective

Beyond the thrills of meeting your first friends, the extravaganza of Freshers’ week parties and the relief of completing matriculation, St Andrews offers a colourful palette of opportunities to dive into and get involved in its culture, from music through theatre to fashion. For the release of the Freshers’ Magazine, The Saint has collected a few specific examples for the incoming admirers of art.

For music aficionados, going to the Music Fayre in Younger Hall on Freshers’ Week is an appropriate first step to take towards the town’s music scene. The Music Fayre provides key information on how to get involved, from listening to practising to performing. All music-related groups and societies (including numerous ensembles and choirs) show up to share key information and organise auditions.

Music is Love’s weekly open mic nights have proved to be a particularly pleasant communal experience. Anyone can join and perform on Wednesday nights at the Byre Theatre. The open mic nights provide the opportunity for musicians to test themselves in front of audiences; these gatherings often prove to be memorable.

For dedicated singers, St Andrews choir holds an invitation. Those willing to test themselves may audition by turning up at one of their rehearsals, which in the upcoming season are scheduled for Fridays 7-9:15 pm, with the first set for the 15th of September. If you are interested in a capella, search for the A Capella stall at the Societies’ Fayre on Freshers’ Week. Here, you can audition for 4 groups, these are: The Accidentals (female), The Alleycats (mixed), The Hummingbirds (female), and The Other Guys (male).

Those invested in the seventh art can participate in several competitions throughout the year. It is worth noting the events of the second semester, namely the 60 Hour Film Blitz, Culture Y Film Festival and Green Film Festival.  The Film Blitz gives a weekend for filmmakers to create a 3-minute short film inspired by a piece of artwork (be it poetry, a painting, or music). The finished projects are usually screened in the Byre Theatre in the week after filming. In 2017, Culture Y asked creative minds to make a film about the forces influencing our perception of culture, while the Green Film Festival sponsors projects that encourage viewers for environmental protection.

A permanent possibility to get involved in the film scene of St Andrews is Bubble TV, which mainly revolves around news. On its Youtube channel, you can browse amongst older informative videos. Besides these, the committee organizes script writing competitions, the winners of which get to make a short film for Bubble. Participating in these projects is never boring.

There is of course a thriving theatre scene in St Andrews. The Saint collected all you need to know in a separate article – see Toby Symonds’ “Theatre in St Andrews.”

For those interested in the world of fashion, it is worth taking a glimpse inside the world of the convention-breaking Label. Label takes a spin on the world of catwalks promoting heavily idealized body types, and encourages all students to participate. Their wide array of programs propagate the basic message of being confident with your body. Last year, Label has put several memorable projects ont he table, including a show presenting swimsuits that took the elements of nature as its basic motif, and Label: My Body. The latter resembled a theatrical performance and featured students’ monologues about their experiences with their own bodies. This powerful event often brought to light shockingly honest and courageous confessions and encouraged the audience to expand their viewpoint when trying to answer the question: how does one appropriate to an idealized body type, and more importantly, is it really necessary?

And finally, while in St Andrews, we cannot miss out nightlife. A successful project in the “underground” party scene of the town is Wax Rooms, which organizes its parties on the last Sunday of every month in Aikman’s. Created by students, Wax Rooms follows the model of Berlin nightclubs. It is a series of events where instead of banging tunes you will rather dance to versatile techno until your muscles are sore. Wax Rooms has been expanding, and now besides their monthly parties they often host parties in cooperation with societies to bring your night experience to new highs. It is worth checking out, as every flash of light is unmissable.


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