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Setting the stage for a memorable time at Bath

Third-year psychology student, Amber Chan, shares her experience of joining the Bath University Student Musicals Society.

My introduction to Arts at Bath

I first took notice of Arts at Bath during Freshers’ Week in 2021. Bath University Student Musicals Society (BUSMS) announced auditions for a show called Overture: The Revolution. Comprising numbers from a variety of musicals, it was going to be quite the mix!

At that point in my life, I’d only watched three musicals, and I had no previous experience of performing in theatre. In fact, I hadn’t a clue what performing would entail. I decided to give auditioning a go anyway and signed up for a slot. I thought it could be an interesting experience, whether I got in or not, and I was excited to try something new and creative.

Joining the Bath University Student Musical Society

Before I knew it, it was the night of my audition. I was told to prepare two or three songs from a list, but that seemed to be all. Needless to say, I was quite anxious! I sang in front of a panel of student judges, who were encouraging and friendly, and who expressed they were really happy that I was auditioning as a first year, since they always wanted new people to join.

After a while, I was informed that I got the roles of Peter Pan in a number from Shrek the Musical, and a young version of Violet in the musical, Violet. I wasn’t expecting to have solo lines, so this was both daunting and exciting.

Being in BUSMS

I remember the first rehearsal of the Shrek number. We gathered in a circle and introduced ourselves, and some members immediately got into character. I realised this lighthearted but dedicated club was something I wanted to be part of.

Rehearsals were generally held after lectures, twice or three times a week, and were always filled with people ready to burst into song or dance. Not only was it fun to sing, but it was also quite a workout when you had dance routines involved.

Leading up to the show, rehearsals became more frequent. On the first night, we warmed up with dancing and singing, and then we were ready. In the end, it all passed in the blink of an eye. But, I fondly recall the random jokes, cast members grouping off to practice lines, giving each other friendly pointers, fixing each others’ hair, makeup and props, and our funky outfits in Shrek the Musical — someone was dressed as an egg!

BUSMS isn’t just about rehearsing for performances, either. They also have socials, so you can just hang out with everyone. One time, for example, they had a family-themed karaoke night: the first years were children, the second years were parents, and the third years were grandparents!

A creative way to socialise

I joined BUSMS to do something creative. Not only did I gain a new interest in theatre and performing, but I also ended up with friendships, great memories, and a club that I wanted to join again in my final year. It was a lot of fun, and I'd highly recommend joining BUSMS to anybody. Being a part of it has been some of the most fun I’ve had at university.