• Mon. Oct 2nd, 2023

In conversation with the president of Edinburgh University Footlights

ByRosanna Holland

Sep 30, 2019

As someone with a great appreciation of musical theatre but without much knowledge of technicalities and what makes a show tick, the prospect of getting to know the Footlights, Edinburgh University’s musical theatre troupe, was rather intriguing. Speaking to Connie McFarlane, Footlights’ president, it soon became clear what defines the success of the company, namely a passion and drive radiating from each and every member of the society. Connie recalls how she, like many students, found the first year of university to be a difficult one — she attributes finding her feet and thriving to getting involved with Footlights. Connie admits that whilst her first show —Sister Act at the Fringe — was“daunting”, she found a family of like-minded individuals who encouraged and inspired her to pursue her passion. Being a part of Footlights brought her out of her“shell” and into a “wonderful support network”. Despite the pressure of staging at least one show per year but also performing at the Fringe Festival, Footlights continue to impress with their annual shows which receive acclaim from critics across the city., whilst simultaneously encouraging students to face their fears and “keep pushing themselves forward.”

Footlights productions are a product of both the individual talent of the students involved and a united community. Connie recounts a fateful rehearsal for the production of Fame – The Musical which consequently meant she ended up in A&E with tissue damage in her ankle. Footlights takes the mantra ‘the show must go on’ very seriously however, and despite her injury occurring just two days before the show’s opening night, Connie fought through the pain and performed.“There is nothing like the euphoric rush of adrenaline [of performing],”she declares. Injuries aside, Connie muses on the formative power of Footlights — it not only made her, “a better performer, but a better person also.

Keep an eye out for the Footlights annual production of Chicago and the Showchoir Showcase of The Time of Our Lives.

Image: Andrew Perry

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