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Murray Edwards College
University of Cambridge

Claire Lee Shenfield: Musical Theatre in Edinburgh

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    01 Dec
    The production team of 15 stand huddled together, smiling, in front of a large apple tree. The group have their arms around each other and are laughing.

    I spent the summer of 2021 avoiding vitamin D in overcast Edinburgh, at a smaller than usual but still bustling Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

    Cambridge University Musical Theatre Society has always brought a show up to the Fringe, and a few years ago this turned into the success of West End and Broadway smash 'Six'. This year, I was one of the four-man cast of 'On Your Bike', a new comedy musical centred around the lives of the gig-economy and food delivery drivers. Fifteen of us travelled firstly to Cheltenham, to rehearse the show full-time for two weeks, and then onto Edinburgh for our month-long run.

    Doing the show everyday was incredible, seeing the different audiences and rushing back to the flat to make changes to the script and songs to improve the show over the run was so exciting. We had one day off (the costumes really needed a wash) and spent the rest of our time in Edinburgh seeing other shows, sightseeing, and rehearsing in last minute changes. 

    Punctuating our run were moments of madness including opening BBC Scotland’s Fringe coverage with a live performance. The highlight of our last show the complete surprise of being awarded 'Best Musical at Edinburgh Fringe 2021' - something we never expected to win but it felt like an amazing validation of our experience.

    Having started as a group of people who knew each other mainly in abstract, we left having formed life-long friendships and creative partnerships. I am extremely grateful to the Gateway Challenges fund for allowing me to be a part of the show.

    Claire Lee Shenfield
    Undergraduate student, English