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A Rare Nicht Oot: 100 Years of Aberdeen's Student Show

Casting Call

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"I have had the unique opportunity of wearing various hats throughout my time with the Show: performer (2012-2015), assistant producer (2015) and President of Charites and Communities (2015-2016). It was an honour to help the Student Show 'Michty Mia' achieve a record-breaking fundraising total of over £102,000, by helping the students find rehearsal space, putting them in touch with sponsors, and backing their corner whenever they needed it!"

Holly Bruce, Performer and Producer, 2012-15

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In addition ti writers, there are a hale jing-bang o’ different roles that need ti be filled ti ensure each Student Show is a success, including those o’ producer, director, administrator, costume designer, choreographer, musical director an’ props manager (an’ mair).

Although maist o’ the team are students, aften 'i shows are producit by former Show writers an’ performers fa hivna been able tae leave their luv o’ Show ahin them!

Students fae 'i University o’ Aiberdeen, Robert Gordon University an' North East Scotland College aa tak part the day.

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In addition to writers, there are a whole host of different roles that need to be filled to ensure the Student Show is a success, including those of producer, director, administrator, costume designer, choreographer, musical director, props manager, and many more. 

Although most of the Student Show team are students, often the shows are produced by former writers and performers who have never managed to leave their love of Show behind.

Students from the University of Aberdeen, Robert Gordon University and North East Scotland College all take part today.

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Keep scrolling to see a few (but by no means all) of the most vital roles in Show! Which one would you be right for?

The Producer

Job description

  • Co-ordinating the writing and editing process
  • Developing ideas and providing creative direction
  • Overseeing casting
  • Budgeting and scheduling
  • Lots of other stuff

Person specification

  • Hardworking (never sleeps)
  • Adaptable
  • Multitalented
  • A good motivator
  • Experience of the Student Show highly desirable
Rage of Kings programme
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The Administrator

Job description

  • Booking the theatre and rehearsal spaces
  • Overseeing ticket sales
  • Generally organising everyone and everything!

      Person specification
      • Excellent attention to detail
      • Adaptable and good at problem solving
      • VERY organised
      Jest a Minute programme

      'Jest a Minute' programme

      On this page of the programme from 'Jest a Minute', John Duffus, that year's Administrator, gets some of the stresses of Show off his chest!

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      The Director

      Job description

      • Help develop the creative vision for Show
      • Determine how the Show's script can be brought to life on stage
      • Give clear direction to the cast and crew

      Person specification

      • A vivid imagination and a comedic mind
      • Good understanding of stage directions
      • Not afraid to take the reins and show the actors who's boss
      Risques Galore programme

      'Risques Galore' programme

      During the Second World War, when many men were conscripted into the armed forces, Pollie Bundy became the first woman to take on the role of Director / Producer for Show, for that year's 'Nuts in April'. This wasn't a watershed moment, however. When the war ended, the roles available to women in Show were once again restricted. It wasn't until 1980 that another woman filled the position, when Joyce Wilson became Sketch Director of 'Risques Galore'.

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      The Choreographer

      Job description

      • Creating dance routines to complement and enhance the Show's music and lyrics
      • Teaching the routines to the whole cast

      Person specification

      • An ear for music and excellent rhythm
      • Creative approach to developing routines
      • An aptitude for teaching
      • Extremely patient!

      Rage of Kings programme

      'Rage of Kings' programme
      Jean Birse, pictured on this page, spent a number of years choreographing Student Show as Director of Dancing, working closely with the musical team to develop and practise routines. A trained ballet dancer, she is said to have demonstrated each dance move numerous times to help 'les girls' (the female dancers) learn the routine.

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      The Set Designer

      Job description

      • Developing a creative vision for the production
      • Building the sets using materials such as furniture and props
      • Painting and decorating the sets

      Person specification

      • Inventive and creative
      • Strong communication skills
      • Health and safety conscious
      • Excellent balance
      'Alma Mania' programme

      'Alma Mania' programme

      Edi Swan worked as Set Designer for Student Show on 1959's 'Alma Mania'. Elsewhere in the programme, he is described as the 'undisputed king of stage set design' and is said to be happiest 'balanced precariously on the paint frame slapping paint on cloth'. He worked on a number of other shows and he was often credited alongside the producers and directors in the souvenir programme, which demonstrates how important he was to the team. In the audio clip below, hear more about Edi and his team's work from John Duffus, Show Administrator and Performer from 1965 to 1969.


      Show Transcription

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      The Dressmaker

      Job description

      • Taking measurements of each cast member
      • Designing the costumes
      • Gathering and choosing appropriate materials
      • Managing a team and overseeing with the dressmaking process

      Person specification

      • Excellent sewing skills
      • Experience of working to a tight budget
      • Good leader and motivator
      • Stamina!
      April Showers programme

      'April Showers' programme

      Alice Sparkes worked as Dressmaker for the Student Show in 1958, a role she had filled since the Second World War, when she dressed the cast on a shoestring budget. Previous dressmakers included Isobel Gordon and Rita Chapman. This page from the 'April Showers' souvenir programme also introduces the make-up artists, George Shaw, Sandy Dale and Jimmy Russell.

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      The Musicians

      Job description

      • Writing music and lyrics for the show
      • Helping singers rehearse by providing instrumental accompaniment
      • Performing in the show's orchestra

      Person specification

      • Songwriting skills
      • Ability to play multiple instruments 
      • Able to perform under pressure
      William Still photograph

      William Still photograph

      William Still composed songs for the 1944 musical, 'Marischal Moments', including the operetta 'Royal Rebel'. In Show's early years, each song was an original composition, whereas today, parodies of already popular songs are favoured. Other composers of the 1930s and 40s included Lambert Wilson and Douglas Raitt.

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      The Cast

      The stars of Show are found through an audition process that is designed to be welcoming, relaxed and enjoyable for those auditioning. Anyone can audition for Show, whether they have experience of performing or not.

      Often, the cast also get involved with other tasks, like painting the sets, creating props, sewing costumes, and promoting the Show in order to raise as much money as possible for charity.

      Job description

      • Acting, singing and dancing in Show!
      • Pitching in with whatever else needs doing

      Person specification

      • Multitalented
      • Enjoys showing off