Jack Moran gives us a behind the scenes look at Uni Revue 2016, a tradition brought back to life after a decade-long absence.
If you’re a law student, you probably heard about the Law Revue last year. If you’re a medicine student you probably heard about the Med Revue. If you’re the friend of law or medicine students, you might have been pretty confused about why they were all filling their Facebook feeds with notifications for an event that couldn’t even spell review right.
A revue, as it turns out, is a comedy show made up of short skits, songs, and even stand-up that make up a fun part of the culture of many universities and societies across Australia. While the Revue has been the domain of the Law and Med societies for the last few years, this year Student Central is bringing back a major tradition of UON life from as far back as the late 50s: the University Revue.
Unlike the Med and Law Revues, the Uni Revue is for all students, aimed at encapsulating the humour of everything from everyday university life and politics to pop culture and absurdity. Earlier in the semester, you might have seen notifications pop up through Blackboard calling for writers. Since I like overloading myself with extra-curricular activities, I of course decided to join up.
Over the last few weeks our team of writers have been working hard to come up with skits and songs that will end up being performed in the Brennan Room during Autonomy Week next semester. The skits and performances we have range from one about alien abductions to another about an academic trial by combat. There might even be a UON-inspired rap thrown into the mix.
Through the writing process we’ve had the chance to work with UON revue alumni such as accomplished local comedy writers and actors like Brian Birkfield and Richard Howard along with director Merrilyn Hey. All three were heavily involved in past revues and then went on to help found Newcastle‘s Footlice Theatre company. They’ve been brought in to help our team learn the skills required so that students can run revues more independently in the future just as they did in the past.
The University Revue does have a long history at UON, with the first being performed in 1958 when UON was still known as Newcastle College. It was a strong part of UON culture from the late 50s to 60s. It died down a little in the 70s before coming back to life in the 80s and 90s with the help of Berkfield, Hey and Howard. The revue has been in hibernation since then, partially due to the fact that the University Union that once ran and funded it shut down.
(You can find out more about UON’s Revue early history here on the Cultural Collections blog.)
This year’s revival has been the work of Student Central’s Hugh Gordon. Hugh’s father, Emeritus Professor Barry Gordon, co-wrote and co-directed the first revue back in 1958 while his wife performed in revues in the 80s. Hugh wanted to bring back the revue to reinvigorate an integral UON tradition and help build a sense of community. Uni revue gives students the chance to broaden their acting and writing skills, give voice to their artistic expression and make life-long friends.
While the writing process is almost over, there’s still plenty of ways to be a part of Uni Revue 2016. We’re looking for actors, musicians, and crew to help us bring Uni Revue back with a bang. Auditions will start shortly after exams and rehearsals will take place over the break so keep your eyes peeled for announcements through Student Central. Fill in the form here or get in touch with Hugh via firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved!
Feature Image: Jackie Brock.