Student Guide 2014: EUTC and STaG, two of Scotland's leading university theatre groups
The two groups provide a dramatic opportunity for Edinburgh and Glasgow students
University drama groups have always been a great springboard for aspiring actors and writers looking to cut their performance teeth.
Bedlam Theatre, a neo-Gothic church in the heart of Edinburgh, is one of Scoltand's best-loved venues. Its esteemed alumni includes Rev star and stand-up Miles Jupp, plus hit playwrights Lucy Kirkwood and Ella Hickson.
‘Edinburgh University doesn’t have a drama course,’ says Edinburgh University Theatre Company president Ailish George, ‘so EUTC is largely made up of university students who are keen to pursue theatre alongside their degrees. Our members choose to dedicate their own time to work on productions and keep the building open. People are welcome to join up at any time of the year, but our greatest intake is during Fresher’s Week.’
‘For the first eight weeks, all of our shows will be performed in the round, she adds. ‘Whilst shows in the round are not out of the norm in Bedlam, this is the first time we will have an entire season. The next big thing is the Redevelopment Project which we are all incredibly excited for and are currently working towards implementing along with our alumni group, Friends of Bedlam, and the University.’
Meanwhile, over in Glasgow, STaG (Student Theatre at Glasgow) have discovered and nurtured talent such as playwrights Rob Jones and Ann Marie Di Mambro, following in the grand tradition of celebrated Glasgow-based dramatists like Alasdair Gray and Liz Lochhead.
‘It is a student run organisation dedicated to putting on plays and theatre productions and providing ample opportunity in almost any theatrical field’, says Jack Cameron, President of STaG. ‘We put on over 20 shows a year of various sizes and genres and we look for any new or old experience in acting, writing, directing, tech and design. We don't set a programme of events but rather welcome proposals from potential directors or actors. And although we are based in Glasgow University we are open to any student body in Glasgow.’
He actively encourages freshers to take up playwriting through new showcases. ‘New Talent Nights is our first production of the season,’ Cameron explains, ‘and it is aimed mainly at Freshers. The point of it is to act as a welcome introduction to STaG. Anyone who auditions is guaranteed a part: so is anyone who applies for tech, backstage or design. This year, we are putting on two productions of JM Barrie's Peter Pan. Because of the popularity of New Talent Nights, we always put on two productions over two nights of the same piece but with different scripts. Each semester we always put on a festival and a Main Stage production, which this year will be Jez Butterworth's Jerusalem, although we have smaller pieces going on as well. Our festival for the first semester is the ever popular STaG Nights, which takes place in November. STaG Nights is not a competition but a celebration of theatre in its many shapes and forms. The festival takes place over three nights with three 20 minute pieces per night.’
The work speaks for itself – the future of Scottish drama is, it seems, in very safe hands.