Not so Grease: the Scottish tale


Think Grease meets High School Musical, and then turn it on its head. Last June, 70 SJM Performance Academy students, ranging from P1 to S4, performed in Not So Grease, a show full of laughs, musical numbers and fantastic vocals.

Can you tell us more about SJM Performance Academy and the recent Not So Grease production at Church Hill Theatre? Was this part of a wider tour or a standalone event?

We are an Edinburgh-based performing arts school that use theatres around Edinburgh on a yearly basis for our shows. We use smaller capacity theatres for our class productions but once a year we do a full school production at Church Hill Theatre. This was a three night, standalone show.

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

The capacity and location is key for us. Our students and audience mostly live close to the venue. Church Hill’s capacity sits at a nice number for us in terms of our audience. While many theatres have a capacity of around 100 - 180 which is too small for us, the jump is then to a bigger space which seats several thousand. This gives Church Hill Theatre the edge as it is a happy medium. It also has professional, secure dressing rooms located away from the public and with access to the stage. I think this is why it is popular with local theatre groups, dance schools and theatre schools, like us.

What keeps you coming back to Church Hill Theatre? Do the students enjoy performing in the venue?

We love performing on the Church Hill stage. Our students feel at home there. As our students are local, most have been brought up on that stage with dance schools, watching siblings or seeing other am-dram shows. It’s a great first experience for children in the area and gives our students the valuable experience of a professional theatre. As we know which theatre space we will be in prior to rehearsals starting and we use the same sound and lighting company each time, we can structure our shows around this. This means we adapt and use the space to the best of our ability. It works, and has worked, for years for us.

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

The team at Church Hill are fantastic. Lauren has been there for years and is outstanding. She understands the importance of what we do, and what every company does, that walks through the theatre doors. As someone who used to work in a theatre, I understand the importance of this. It might be another day at work for them, but for those visiting and putting on their shows, it represents months and months of planning. The entire Front of House team at Church Hill have always made us feel like it’s ‘our time and our show week’.

Would you recommend Church Hill Theatre to other performing arts groups? Will you book future events at Church Hill Theatre?

We will always continue to use Church Hill for various shows with the various companies we work with. It’s a fantastic theatre and creative hub in the middle of Morningside and a special place for people to visit.

'It’s a fantastic theatre and creative hub in the middle of Morningside and a special place for people to visit'.

- SJM Creative