Hairspray: the Broadway musical


Set in 1960s Baltimore, Edinburgh’s first amateur production of the full version of the spectacular musical Hairspray was packed full of laughter and memorable musical numbers that had the audience tapping their feet and wanting to join in the dancing.

Can you tell us more about the recent Hairspray the Musical production at Church Hill Theatre?

Balerno Theatre Company is made up of amateur talent of a very wide range of ages and abilities. We have been putting on an annual show at Church Hill Theatre since 1998, when the 120-seat capacity of the Drama Studio at Balerno High School became clearly too small to hold all who wanted to see the show. We’ve previously exceeded 2,000 seat sales for a six-performance run, so on average less than 20 seats left per show! The Saturday matinee of Hairspray sold out first, as usual.

What made Church Hill Theatre stand out as the place to hold the musical? 

Church Hill Theatre is a properly equipped theatre, with very few compromises. With 353 seats, each with a clear view of the stage, it allows everybody in the audience to see our shows - our performances often sell out and the 'House Full' board is proudly displayed!

What keeps you coming back to Church Hill Theatre?

Church Hill Theatre offers excellent value for money and availability compared to other theatres in the capital. Of course, over twenty years our core audience are well accustomed to coming to the theatre and feeling comfortable there and there’s no better reason to keep coming back year after year.  

What makes the theatre space at Church Hill Theatre well suited to your performances?

From experience, we know that the space available at Church Hill Theatre can accommodate a cast of around sixty all on stage at the one time. The direction and choice of the set or setting has to take into account the stage size (and indeed the space in the wings!) - but that has to be considered for every show in every theatre.  

How did Church Hill Theatre assist with the planning and the event delivery on the day?

Though each show we present is different, a lot of what we do has become routine, for example having the theatre available for a set time, but the support from the Church Hill staff is very welcome. Occasionally something can go awry, like an actor sustaining a cut on stage, and then the support comes in, and the show keeps running while that person is looked after.

Would you recommend Church Hill Theatre to other theatre groups – and will you be back?

We’ve no hesitation recommending the Church Hill Theatre to other groups. Providing your own technical team (apart from lighting where there are accredited people to contact) is a very welcome part of the amateur theatre tradition.  Our major bookings at Church Hill are already in place for 2021. The regular users of the theatre are asked in the last quarter of the year for their requirements for the following year, and during the first quarter of the next year the allocations are offered and accepted in detail meaning we get priority which is great. Theatre-going is an activity that many people find enjoyable, yet frequently haven’t tried. Groups like ours who bring a lot of people to theatres hope that people will take a look at what’s on and come to the theatre more than just once a year.