Hannah Shiblaq takes a look at the upcoming series of hall-hosted balls.
Now that we’ve entered the second semester, the season of hall-hosted balls is upon us. Annually, each hall shows out for its own unique celebration of the year, planned by the hall’s dedicated committee.
St Andrews is home to eleven halls, all essential to the community in their own ways. Usually, those attending the annual balls are residents of the hosting hall itself, but tickets are available to non-residents alike, even if that means paying a little extra.
Hall ball season typically stretches from the beginning of semester two in January and can go as late as April. They are usually based around a specific theme, dictating the decorations and attire, much like any other St Andrews event. They take place around town at the many event venues, some of which are even University buildings themselves.
The first hall ball of 2023 was Andrew Melville’s, which took place on 21 January. Advertised as a “seafaring excursion” on their Instagram, event-goers were encouraged to “join us onboard as we ‘Rock the Boat’ and don our finest attire for a night of elegance that will put other balls and The Titanic to shame”. The ball took place at Younger Hall, which, although more commonly associated with lectures and studying, provided an elegant backdrop to the hall’s black tie event.
Coming up next is the Agnes Blackadder Hall (ABH) ball, as well as the combined David Russell Apartments (DRA) and Fife Park ball, both of which will take place on 18 February.
ABH’s ball is themed after the fictional underwater city Atlantis, and is to be hosted a thirteen-minute commute outside of town at Falside Mill. Buses will take event-goers to and from the event. ABH announced headliners including DJ A.K.A. Prince, student-band Verbatim, and popular student jazz collective JazzWorks. 100 percent of ticket revenue goes to charity, and ticket price includes free cocktails and other drinks.
DRA and Fife Park’s ball proves equally creative with its space theme and exciting location (a little closer to the centre of town, for once) of Lower College Lawn. The DRAFP ball hosted a successful launch party on 28 January, providing a little taste of what’s to come. At their launch, they announced three exciting headliners. Jazzworks will make its second appearance of the night, accompanied by student band The Slick, and the incredibly popular Throwbacks collective. Additionally, food vendors will include Jannettas, Blackhorn Burgers, and the Wee Churros Corner.
On 26 February, University Hall and Whitehorn Hall will host its glittering take on the annual ball: Hollywood Glamour. Hosted at the familiar Kinkell Byre, the night promises a line-up of student DJs Rory MacLean and Keyona Fazli. Additionally, event goers were given the opportunity to vote on their favourite Jannetta’s gelato flavours to be served on the night.
10 March marks John Burnett Hall’s ball, the theme of which is to be ‘Wander in the Woods’. The event will take place at local restaurant Forgan’s, where dinner will be provided, as well as wine. Additionally, the afterparty promises a traditional Scottish ceilidh, an added bonus that people can buy tickets for even if they don’t want to attend the ball itself.
Whilst McIntosh Hall’s ball has not yet been publicly announced, Alex Tiantova, the hall’s designated ball planner, said they are planning for 1 April. The planned venue is Younger Hall for a masquerade themed night. This means lace masks, a rumoured red carpet, and maybe even some photo booths as well.
Similarly for St Regulus Hall, no official announcement has been made with a set date or theme. However, rumour has it the ball will take place sometime between mid March and early April. There have been whispers of an enchanted forest theme, but as stated by the Regs Hall Committee ball planner, Annabelle Freeman, “very little is set in stone”.
As for St Salvators and Gannochy House, very little information has circulated concerning the halls’ joint annual ball.
Even if you’ve missed out on some already, there’s still time to check Instagram or Facebook for ticket prices and sales. Each hall clearly has something unique up its sleeve to dazzle students (resident or not) and end the academic year with a bang.
Photos: @abhphball2023 on Instagram; Caroline Vining