By Milan Perera, Arts Columnist
After a bumper year which culminated at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival where the original production of the Changeling Girl received raving reviews and raucous applause from the sold out performances, Bristol DramSoc is back for another adrenaline pumping high-racing year interspersed with yet another set of rollicking theatre productions.
At the Freshers’ Fair at the Downs, Bristol DramSoc was one of the society stalls which was buzzing with a palpable excitement as hundreds of Freshers put their names down for the mailing list. Bristol DramSoc is eagerly anticipating for their first major theatre production for the new academic year which will be staged at the spacious Winston Theatre. As DramSoc members were busily getting into their routines at the Richmond Building, Epigram had a chance to catch up with a few members of the production team for the show.
My first question was directed to the DramSoc President, Cecelia Quant on “what is TRASh?” To which Quant responded, “TRASh is the first major production of DramSoc for the year. Compared to other shows, it has an enormous cast. If I remember correctly, it is about 70. It’s a quick tour of eighty years of theatre which consists of eight theatre performances to capture the essence of each decade.”
The eight segments and their respective directors are as follows.
1950s – I Love Lucy (Lola Annesley and Rosalie Roger-Lacan)
1960s – Monty Python (Brandon Hamilton and Lilly Camyab)
1970s – The Muppets (Stan Abbott-Stacey and Edie Dacosta Jackson)
1980s – The Breakfast Club (Maui Connock and Calum Thorne)
1990s – Derry Girls (Amber Conroy and Cecelia Quant)
2000s – Dick and Dom in Da Bungalow (Ella Hakin and Sadie Mears)
2010s – The Windsors (Benjamin Oliveira and Molly Grogan)
2020s – The Play That Goes Wrong (Emma van Elzakker and Joe Hayward)
It goes without saying that this would be a cornucopia of theatre delights with an explosion of fresh and old talents.
DramSoc was pleasantly surprised with the enthusiastic response for the auditions. It was no mean feat whittling down some 223 participants to 70 over two days. DramSoc currently enjoys the membership of 140 students who take part in various roles from acting, set designing, writing, lighting and marketing. Quant dispels the myth once and for all that the DramSoc is all about stellar thespian outputs but a plethora of roles without which the action on the stage would not come to fruition.
When asked of the significance of TRASh, the co-director Edie Dacosta Jackson responded that “It is a fun-filled theatre production which aims to attract as many students as possible and to provide a rough idea on what we do at the DramSoc.”
It is hard to ignore the pre-conceived notion surrounding theatre that it is somehow an elitist pursuit which is the reserve of a certain strata of the society. DramSoc is determined to challenge this narrative and open it up to as many theatre lovers of the student community. “You can be from any course. It doesn’t have to be drama at all. Some of us study drama but a large portion of the group comes from various degree courses from Economics to Chemistry”, commented the co-director, Lilly Camyab.
Before we parted I put it bluntly to Emma van Elzakker, the Executive Producer as to “why should anyone come and see TRASh?” To which she responded with a glint in her eye, “because it is an enjoyable evening without all the stuffiness surrounding theatre!” There was such a note of gladness in her voice that it was like a dart of sunlight that came lancing in on a chilly autumn evening. I have no reason to doubt that it would be a rollercoaster evening which guarantees to enthral the expectant audience.
TRASh runs from the 13th – 15th October at the Winston Theatre.
Featured Image: courtesy of Milan Perera
Have you got your tickets for TRASh?