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Happy Birthday FoB

11 years ago on the 22nd February, Friends of Bedlam was born. Back then the Bedlam was at risk of being sold by the University of Edinburgh, and many people from Bedlam and DramSoc past worked hard to show why the Bedlam and its members should be one of the most valued assets the university has, and thankfully those people succeeded.

How things can change in a decade. Last year, the university spent in the region of £500,000 to restore the exterior of the building back to its original state, this included putting replicas of the original railings in which were taken out during the war. It was a huge project and as much as it might take a bit of getting used to for those of us who are familiar with the buildings dark, eerie, gothic look, it can’t be denied that the building looks fantastic.

building-before-after

With these changes, Friends of Bedlam have been working hard recently to find ways to rebuild the ties between past and current members of the EUTC and DramSoc. There will be news, stories, and reconnections galore and we hope that over the next decade we will be able to see more and more people go on to do some amazing things, just like so many already have.

More importantly, the project has shown the commitment that the university has to cementing the Bedlam as a major part of the university. The next step for them is to raise £1.2 million for redeveloping the interior of the building to allow the future Bedlam generations to benefit from a fully kitted out theatre. You can read more about the project here.

If you have any fond memories you’d like to share with us head over to the stories section, we look forward to hearing what you all managed to get up to over the years.

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Journal of a Highland Tour – Carola Hicks

Dr Carola Hicks, now of Cambridge University, was a member of DramSoc in the early 1960s. A Highland Tour was undertaken by DramSoc’s elite one summer, visiting fourteen venues around Scotland.

“Milo suddenly stopped the car behind a gaudy vehicle which I did not immediately recognise as our own Twelfth Night van and said “Well, here we are.” We did not seem to be anywhere.
“Where’s the theatre?” On the dripping hillside above, we saw there was a very small wooden building, approached by a narrow path which zig-zagged up a steep slope. This was our theatre.”

The journal is a joy to read, and can be downloaded here (pdf, 700k).

The reunion referred to in the text, was held in 2003 in London and was organised by Philip de Grouchy and Brian Pow for 1960s members of DramSoc.

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Dram Soc in the Early 1960s – Andrew Kitchen

Greetings from the USA:

As a former Dram Soc member, I was interested to read the history of Bedlam. The following excerpt addresses the years of my participation:

“The EUTC was first known as the Edinburgh University Drama Society, or Dram Soc for short. Dram Soc was known for its occasional performances and for its more occasional parties. The society didn’t have a permanent home, and although active, did not stage many productions.”

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