Students score a series of Firsts before opening night at city theatre

Students score a series of Firsts before opening night at city theatre

Leaps of faith are not entirely unknown for cast members of the annual Aberdeen Student Show - but this year’s Mary Torphins, which opens at His Majesty Theatre tomorrow (Wednesday) will make it into their record books with a spectacular one.

For the first time in its 91-year-history, a cast member will take to the air to fly on stage.

The story of Mary Torphins – with 21-year-old music student Rhona Johnston in the title role - wouldn’t be complete without having the Doric nanny fly in over the Aberdeen skyline with her tartan umbrella.

“I’m really excited to fly - but a bit nervous as I won’t get to practise until just two days before show and need to make it look so swift and easy!” said Rhona.

And there are several other firsts among this year’s cast – for over a third of the performers will be making their debut performance on Aberdeen’s professional stage.

One of these is third-year law student Robyn Shepherd who plays Super Nanny, Nanny Frost in the Doric parody, although she knows the theatre only too well as she has worked their part-time for more than two years.

Robyn commented: “Performing on the stage at HMT will make a change from selling ice creams!

“I’m so pleased to have the chance to perform in such a beautiful theatre, and one that I have admired from the auditorium at every performance that I have worked at in the last two years.”

Another debut performer is Laura Strachan, who only discovered once she had landed her role that she is following in her grandmother’s footsteps.

Then Betty Murray, her grandmother Elizabeth Strachan was a principal dancer in three earlier student shows  - College Bounds (1957), April Showers (1958) and Alma Mania (1959) - and once shared the stage with members of Scotland the What?

“When I first told my grandparents that I was taking part, I was surprised to find out that my grandmother had taken part in the student show over 50 years ago,” said Laura.

“I feel very honoured to be gracing the HMT stage as part of student show 55 years after my grandmother, but also to be taking part in something that meant so much to my grandmother during her university years.

“Unfortunately, Mary Torphins will be my first and last student show,” she added. “Over the past five years or so of university I’ve always longed to take part in the student show and haven’t had the chance up until now.”

The admin team who have been hard at work on this year’s show since the curtain fell on Sleepless In Seaton last April are hoping to achieve another first and help the charities campaign raise over £100,000 for the local charities they support.

Student show 2012 administrator Sophie Hamilton said: “Last year we successfully helped the charities raise there final total of £95,000 so to push it just that bit further would be amazing!”

Mary Torphins
opens at His Majesty’s Theatre tomorrow (Wednesday) and runs until Saturday and tickets from £10 to £20 are available online at, by phone at 01224 641122 and at Aberdeen Box Office at the Music Hall and His Majesty’s Theatre.

Posted on Monday 16 April

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