On the 5th of November (remember, remember!) I woke up at 5 o’clock in the morning. Not because I was behind on work for a 9am tutorial, or because I wanted to fit in a morning run before breakfast, but because my roommate was wrapping up and heading out for a several hour wait – in the mid-November cold, no less – for tickets to The Christmas Ball.
Later that day, at the much more reasonable time of half past twelve, I sat down with Ben, President of Mermaids, and Lottie, the Ball Convener, to discuss this annual sell-out event.
One of the first questions I asked them upon sitting down was why they thought the Mermaids Christmas Ball was a sell-out event every year. Getting up at 5 am is never fun; yet year in year out hundreds of students brave the Scottish air at crazy o’clock to get their hands on a ticket.
This year, online ticket sales were over in less than a minute, and ticket sales at the union were over in just over an hour – even with an increased number of tickets (250, to be precise) being sold this year!
Their answer? The Christmas Ball put on by Mermaids is the last event of the semester, the last bit of fun the students of St Andrews will have before settling down to study for exams. But even more than that, the ball is just a good old fun event, put on by people who know how to put on a good show, and to quote Lottie, “don’t take themselves too seriously”.
But what else? In my first year, I haven’t yet been to Kinkell Byre – but it seems that a great proportion of the balls at St Andrews take place here. So what makes the Mermaids Christmas Ball stand out as something worth waking up at 5am for?
According to the organisers, it’s the way the space is transformed – “Christmas with a twist” is how Ben and Lottie describe this year’s festive event. Each year, Mermaids choose a different theme for their ball, and true to their vocation as artists, they completely change the space and feel of this all too familiar venue.
This year we’ll see Kinkell Byre transformed into C.S. Lewis’ magical world of Narnia. Lottie and Ben weren’t too willing to give everything away about the magical night – but what you are guaranteed to get with your £35 ticket, which goes towards funding Mermaids performances at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, is some good grub to keep you dancing. Included in the ticket price is a free Jannetta’s icecream, free Turkish Delight and a glass of Cava – as well as a night of endless fun.
The bands playing – The Black Sheep (described as “St Andrews favourite band”) and The Correspondents – I’ve been told will definitely get everyone up and dancing. And of course, as Ben quite rightly put it: this is one last opportunity to get a photo with Santa Claus, and “who doesn’t love that”?
If you’ve been unlucky enough not to get a ticket, it’s definitely worth looking into what else Mermaids are putting on this year: The Importance of Being Earnest is up and running currently in the Byre theatre, and A Christmas Carol will be put on the week before the Christmas Ball.
Next semester shows no signs of slowing down either. Mermaids will be organising an “end of year roundup” for anyone who has been involved – or just those who want to come – with Mermaids.
As there aren’t going to be any further ticket sales for the ball, I recommend waiting by your computers for news of people selling on their tickets… or maybe just going along to the Union now in preparation for next years ticket sales, because I for one definitely think that this is an event worth getting excited about.