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After all these years, what made LUTG, ULMS and LUDans decide to collaborate?
G: LUTG have collaborated with ULMS for smaller musical productions in the recent past and although the idea in its current form emerged at last year’s Activities Conference, it seemed only natural that this should develop into a multi-society collaboration and I am so glad that it did! As one of the original LUTG exec members responsible for organising this project, I knew from the beginning that if we pulled it off it would be a production to make Lancaster University history.
Why was Cabaret a good place to start for the collaboration? What’s so special about this show?
G: Obviously we needed to find a musical that had scope for powerful acting, great music and spectacular dance all at the same time, but Cabaret is a musical that is fairly rarely performed in professional circuits and a stage production that many people have little knowledge of, given the vast differences between it and the film. Additionally, Cabaret was a good fit for The Nuffield Theatre as it houses a professional set construction workshop and the technical infrastructure that we required to make the production more than just an amateur university show.
M: Cabaret is a perfect start to the collaboration scheme – the show has equal challenges and potential for all areas of acting, dancing, singing, music, set, costume and the three societies have brought their respective expertise! What’s fantastic about this musical also is that there is so much scope for originality and interpretation, and there’s a real feeling of fun and energy around the show.
Have you found anything particularly challenging about the musical?
G: Although I have Stage Managed and performed in many LUTG shows before, Cabaret is my first musical and I originally underestimated the sheer amount of work that it has taken to bring this production to the stage. From meetings about all aspects of set construction and technical infrastructure with The Nuffield Theatre to discussions about costumes and make up with my team, it has been a very busy five months!
M: I think the musical has been most challenging where it comes to the organisation of colossal amounts of people and activities. It’s a huge project in all respects, especially as it’s supposed to come as second priority to degrees! I think it’s also quite logistically challenging attempting to fulfil what exactly is going on in my head.
Do you think anything could be improved if there was another show put on?
G: As you know, Cabaret was the first Musical Collaboration of its kind and so we all knew that, however experienced a production team, cast and crew we had, we were going to have a few teething problems this year, one being how to really get the word out about what we were doing and to get audience into the seats! Although we performed at Campus Fest, in Alexandra Square and had regular interviews on Bailrigg and with LA1 TV, it would be great to have even more involvement from them in the future, in addition to that of LUSU and Scan.
M: Firstly, this collaboration concept is an absolute winner, and it MUST become an annual, established event, as there is only room for it to go from strength to strength. However, the auditions could have been better organised, I could have generally done my research on the musical earlier! What I would particularly suggest for next time is the feeling of a single unit in the production rather than a stiff distinction between the three societies.
Any particular stars of the show?
G: Although the cast have all been incredible and have excelled more than I ever could have thought it possible, as the Stage Manager I have to mention my infallible crew, all 30 of them, for their extraordinary hard work over the past five months.
M: It would be unfair to single anyone out…in my opinion the entire cast make one big star! I’ve worked particularly closely with the ‘principal’ cast, and they have all been an absolute delight.
Would you consider putting on another show in the future and if so which ones?
G: Unfortunately I will be graduating at the end of this year and so this is my last production before I head off into the world of professional theatre, however I hope, and am sure, that this will be a project that is supported into the future. I know there have already been a few suggestions about what shape this collaboration will take next year!
Yes! I’m here another year so who knows, I could be involved in the next collaboration. I don’t know too much about it, but I’d like to put on Sweet Charity (another Fosse production) just to attempt the Rich Man’s Frug and Big Spender! I don’t think I’m ready for Les Miserables yet.
What do you think the societies have got out of collaborating and above all, has it been a fun experience?
G: For me this collaboration has presented me with an opportunity to work with new people and therefore people with ways of doing things that may differ to the way we have run productions in LUTG in the past. While this has inevitably been stressful at times, it has also paved the way for a highly exciting and creatively stimulating production that has been more than fun (and provided me with an excuse for not doing my degree!).
M:I think this has finally shown the societies what is achievable when we put our different ‘expertise’ together. LUTG, ULMS and LUDanS go hand in hand, and if nothing else, it will mean the societies will work together more often in the future. The experience has been refreshing and brilliant.