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The St Andrews Theatre Scene You (Might Not) Know

For those overloaded by announcements of auditions and show inaugurations or those who simply were too overwhelmed in the tropical trenches of the Freshers’ Fayres — worry not! This semester headlines a series of exciting projects.

No matter how new you are to the community, and no matter how many times you cried prior to your GCSE Drama production - rest assured, the St Andrews theatre scene will force no devising upon you. Rather, the close-knit community cultivates a rich and diverse range of productions tailoring to almost every imaginable palette.

This article will dive into four creative outlets: Mermaids, People You Know, The St Andrews Revue, and Gilbert and Sullivan, with the hope of triggering any growing interest in broadening your event horizons. However, you are in no way limited to these few — numerous student-led societies and companies epitomise the St Andrean theatre scene.

As a union subcommittee, Mermaids benefits from university funding, allowing them to put on large-scale productions. Their lineup boasts of Witness for the Prosecution at the Byre Theatre, Macbeth and Mrs Warren’s Profession at the Buchanan Lecture Theatre, Waiting for Godot, Through a Glass Darkly and Cyrano the Puppet at The Barron Theatre. Each venue fosters a distinct creative environment and offers different price points. The Barron, in particular, exudes a strong community feel, with seating on the same level as the actors. This allows for a more natural and immersive experience, much like small-town Shakespearean productions. President Marisa Singh’s biggest advice to those wishing to dabble in the dramatic arts is to attend a show in each venue, helping you to find the theatrical ambience suited to your taste.

People You Know is a smaller, student-led theatre company whose production process encourages a collective theatrical experience through complementary relationships between actors, writers, and directors. Collaborators Catherine Barrie and Nicole Sellew explained how budget limitations can fuel creative control. Exploring venue spaces can incite synergic dynamics between writing and producing, ultimately leading to new storytelling approaches. People You Know has two exciting projects in the works for this semester. A Girl Gets Naked in This will portray a compelling selection of intimate experiences, aiming to stimulate “a safe, women-led space”. This is undoubtedly pertinent to a student audience. Yet to be titled, their second play hopes to represent a “searing indictment of masculinity” within a pub setting. Both costing less than a fiver, further information on the dates and venues is to soon be published.

The St Andrews Revue places “student writing, collaboration, and fun, silly comedy centre-stage”. They present a sketch comedy show each semester, the next occurring in mid-November. Both as an audience member or performer, these are designed for you to loosen up and enjoy, typically costing about £5. In addition to their biannual shows, they hope to keep you on your toes by planning new collaborations with other societies this year.

Fancy a fusion of classic and modern? Gilbert and Sullivan reinvented the traditional works of Victorian operetta into contemporary performances. President Julia Lisco describes the society’s aim as “continuing the legacy of these iconic works and the expansion of the St Andrews performing scene”. Their production of The Gondoliers debuts on November 3rd at the Byre Theatre with a pay-what-you-can cost with prices ranging from £8-12. Your love for opera, however, must know no limits — with encouraged participation in stage, production, and tech.

I’m aware that the average student budget is not unlimited, and only a brief time can be spared from all your loyal contributions to academic weaponry. However, the theatre community offers an accessible, promising lineup to spark creative voices and enrich your social calendars.

Illustration: Isabelle Holloway

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