News Editor Grace Dean chats to President of the Musical Medics society Persia Bowater about the society’s highly acclaimed production of Legally Blonde and their plans for the future.
Hello Persia. First of all, congratulations on Musical Medics winning Society of the Month!
Thank you so much! It felt really good to win, especially as we put so much work into our production of Legally Blonde last month. We all love musical theatre and so it was great to get recognition. We also all really care about the charitable causes we fundraised for.
Why do you think your society won?
Well we got a wonderful nomination with lovely words from you yourself, Grace Dean [laughs]. We put on a full musical in just seven weeks and raised so much money for charity [approximately £3500]. We feel very honoured.
How has the rest of the committee reacted to the news?
All the committee are incredibly happy about the news, especially our Director Jo Haxworth. Ultimately this success was the result of a lot of very hard work and it was wonderful to see our creative vision realised on stage.
How big is the committee, and what are the roles? How does your role as President differ from that of your Director Jo Haxworth?
The Director ultimately has creative control of the production. As President I was much more occupied with the organisation side of things and had to delegate roles. The rest of the committee did an incredible job too and it really showed! Everyone put so much effort in and I am really proud of the committee and all the members. The producers, the musical director and the choreographers all worked very hard – the whole team did.
What surprised many spectators was that the production took place in the Jubilee Theatre of the St Nicholas Hospital in Gosforth – how did this come to be?
The production has actually taken place there for the past few years. It is an incredibly beautiful theatre and very well priced, which is important as we wanted to ensure we raised as much money for charity as possible. A tech worker was also included with the venue hire, and we were able to use the theatre’s own sets and props. It is particularly apt for us as a society of mainly medics.
How did the society make the decision to have Legally Blonde as its production this year?
The committee all pitched their own musical ideas, so there were ten proposals altogether. Our Musical Director Michael pitched Legally Blonde and after discussing it as a committee we felt it was the right choice. It is a very fun musical based on a well-recognised film, which would appeal to spectators. The main roles in the musical have a very even gender balance which makes it more inclusive, and the opportunities to be in the chorus meant that there were chances for people to have their own small solo singing and speaking roles. This allowed everyone to have their own moment in the spotlight!
The musical is your main activity each academic year; does the society have any other plans for the rest of this year?
We are developing plans to have at least one cabaret night this year, which will take place after Christmas – this will give previous musical stars and members the chance to sing and either raise money for charity or funds for our show next year. We all love musical theatre!
As Society of the Month you won £50. What do you plan to spend this money on?
This money will either go into the pot for next year’s musical, or be used to pay MTI, which is the licensing company who gave us the rights to produce Legally Blonde.
What originally inspired you to apply to be the President of Musical Medics?
When I was in the second year of my degree Jo and I noticed a Facebook post asking for band recruits. I contacted them saying I could play the saxophone, but due to their difficulty in finding a French horn player I ended up playing the French horn part on my sax! I loved it – the month of rehearsals was very intensive and the musical took over my life but it was great fun. I enjoyed it so much that I attended the society AGM in May, in which I applied to be in the committee. I decided to go for the role of President as I wanted to be able to feature in the musical but also make decisions.
Finally Persia, what are your plans for the future? Do you hope to stay involved with Musical Medics after this academic year and continue your musical theatre legacy?
If I have time I will definitely play in the band again for the society’s production next year. At the very least I will definitely be in the audience! I already can’t wait to see their next show. I also hope to find other ways to stay involved in musical theatre in the future – one production per year just isn’t enough!
Thank you so much for speaking with me today Persia, and congratulations once again on your very well deserved success!