Not many students have celebrated their 50th birthday. But one De Montfort Students’ Union (DSU) society put on a show to remember as they did exactly that last week.
The Demon Theatre Society marked their group’s 50th anniversary with a charity cake sale, to go alongside a memorable afternoon of acting, singing and dance performances culminating in a group singalong of Grease classic ‘We Go Together’.
Anna Pinkney, chair, said that society members were extremely pleased to be given the opportunity to mark the occasion and, in the process, raise some money for two important charities.
She said: “It’s a real honour. When we came into the society this year we didn’t know it was our anniversary until a couple of months in.
“It was really exciting that we were going to get to organise something and we automatically thought of a summer garden party that everyone could get involved in.
“We’ve got two really important charities, MIND mental health charity and the Stroke Association, for which we really wanted to raise some money for as well as awareness, while celebrating at the same time.”
The two charities are close to the hearts of many society members, as Anna explained.
“Stroke Association was picked by one of our committee members. We’ve had a few members of our families individually that have had strokes and we felt it’s not something that is perhaps recognised as highly as other conditions, so we really wanted to raise money and awareness for them.
“At the same time we really wanted to raise money for MIND mental health, as a lot of our students are sufferers of mental health problems and quite a few people use drama as an outlet.
“On the committee particularly we’ve had a few struggles this year; I lost my partner in January, to suicide, so it became a very big push for everyone in the society and committee to raise money for MIND because it’s so underfunded.
“I think we found that every £10 we raise could give somebody an hour’s phone conversation with a mental health advisor, who could talk them down.
“It became really important for us to raise money for them because lots of our members are sufferers, and we wanted to give everyone the opportunity to experience the joy you can get out theatre and seeing them performing and doing something nice at the same time.”
Demon Theatre members (L-R) Emily Hudson, Carrie Stevens, Letitia Grey, Abbie Henesy, and Felicity Pilcher celebrate.
Anna, a second year Criminology student, added that the celebration came at an ideal time of year, with the majority of the society’s members handing in their final pieces of coursework for the year.
She said: “It’s been really great, especially as we all handed in our last essays yesterday or this morning, so it’s a nice ‘and relax’ moment.
“It’s been really nice and we’ve had quite a few people turn up and had quite a few of our cakes sold.”
As Anna departs her role at the end of this year, Carrie Stevens and Joseph Glover take over as dual-chairs of the society, and plans have already been put in place for next year’s productions.
Carrie, a first year Business Entrepreneurship and Innovation student, said: “Next year we’ve talked about doing a musical, maybe, because of how many people have been involved this year we want everyone to get a good equal part in the show – and everyone loves a musical!
“Another idea we’ve talked about is doing TV shows, so a few episodes from something like Dad’s Army or Blackadder, one of the old classics, because everyone can again have big parts and is equal, but at the beginning of next year we want to speak to the whole society and see what they want to do.
“There will be people who want to do different things – some will want to sing, and some will want to do serious acting, so we want to see what they want to do and not just think about us but the society as a whole.”
The society rounded-off the day and officially passed over to next year’s committee with a well-earned meal at the Natterjacks bar in Braunstone Gate.
To find out more about how you can get involved with societies at DSU, click here.
You can also find the Demon Theatre Society on Facebook and Twitter.