Showcase goes offline!

Sep 14 2020 | By More

30th anniversary album announced

Edinburgh-based Showcase Productions, is to release a 30th anniversary album this week, in lieu of the annual concerts which were due to take place at the Church Hill Theatre.

The company has performed a concert series at the theatre every year since 1991, raising over £290,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support in the process. The hope is that the new recording, released on what would have been opening night, Tuesday 15 September, will allow them to pass the £300K milestone.

Showcase Thirtieth Anniversary Album

Showcase usually marks the beginning of Edinburgh’s Autumn amateur musical season. The show mixes show tunes, film themes and big pop numbers, all orchestrated and designed to show off the talents of a cast that is drawn from across the region’s amateur musical theatre scene.

It’s more than a static concert, too, with highly choreographed numbers, both in terms of dance performance interpreting the vocals – and in getting the over 50 performers on and off the stage and into a different costume for nearly every impressive number.

And key to the whole business is the programming of the numbers, ensuring not only that the mix of numbers brings light and shade to the evening, but that it gives it something of a narrative shape.

behind the scenes

Thanks to Covid, none of that energy will be happening at the Church Hill this year. Instead, it has been applied behind the scenes over the last four months, to pull the 30th anniversary album together. Which, at the best of times, would be a task and a half. But is even more tricky during a pandemic.

Alan Hunter, Showcase President, said “It was a huge disappointment to us when we realised we would not be able to perform our thirtieth show this month. Not only would we miss the rehearsals and show week being together, but also being able to give our annual donation to Macmillan Cancer Support.

“This has been a particularly difficult year for them due to the lack of fundraising opportunities so we thought long and hard about the options available to us and the idea of the 30th Anniversary album was born.”

Showcase 2018 Pic Ryan Buchanan

A big production number from Showcase 2018. Pic: Ryan Buchanan

The whole process has had to be coordinated with Government guidelines in mind. It’s not just using hand sanitiser, although there has been a lot of that, but modifying nearly every aspect of rehearsing and recording.

MD David McFarlane, who has been involved for almost a quarter of a century, wrote the orchestrations, but that is about as far as normal went.

The band got the orchestrations at the start of August and had only a fortnight to rehearse at home before playing together for the first time – on the day of the recording itself. Which took place in a socially distanced Studio Theatre.


McFarlane said: “This year has been more of a challenge than others but what we wanted to create was that live “Showcase Sound” that our theatre audiences have come to expect. To do this we employed our brilliant 15-piece Showcase Orchestra who had been unable to play in any live ensemble since March.

“Similarly, our singers were extremely eager to come back and sing their hearts out – albeit in required sections. It has been challenging, but equally enjoyable for all concerned. I sincerely hope that our efforts in producing this CD will help raise much needed funds for Macmillan.”

Once the music tracks were recorded, the singers could start practicing. But none of the usual weekly sessions for them, either. Where they would usually have met twenty times, they got to rehearse just once. And even then, not everyone could rehearse together and they had to break up into three distinct groups.

Showcase 2018 The finale. Pic Ryan Buchanan

The finale of Showcase 2018. Pic: Ryan Buchanan

Even that was too many for the actual recording, for which they had to split up into the vocal parts – SATB – with the soloists adding a separate group.

With over 50 singers coming through the Studio doors over the two days, to record a total of 19 songs, the choreographic skills of the live production no doubt came into play in keeping everyone socially distanced and the sessions running on time.

The company remain justifiably proud of what they have achieved, as member Sara Whelan says: “I am very proud that Showcase has managed to adapt and find a way to continue to fundraise for Macmillan and to celebrate our 30th year.

1,429 audio recordings…

“We were all upset when our show was cancelled, and the album has given us something to work towards. It has been a different experience starting with Zoom meetings and then a socially distanced rehearsal and recording but everyone involved has worked really hard to keep follow all the regulations and make sure we are all safe, whilst at the same time having fun.

“Showcase is important to me as it allows me to do something I love whilst still raising money for a very worthy cause.”

The final result edits together a mind-boggling 1,429 different audio recordings. There is little doubt that it will be easily up to the gold standards that Showcase has build up over thirty years.

And to find out whether it does, you can buy it from the Showcase Facebook page from 10am on Tuesday 15 September – just so long as you remember to leave a nice big donation for Macmillan Cancer Support.


Showcase 30th Anniversary Album
Available to buy now from the Showcase Facebook page: @ShowcaseEdin. (Click on the “Buy” button at the top).

Or from the dedicated website:


Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.