The Butterfly and the Wolf

Feb 26 2013 | By More

Lupus charity single to get world premier at Summerhall event

Logo for the Butterfly and the Wolf event at Summerhall in March 2013By Thom Dibdin

The world premier of The Butterfly and the Wolf, a charity single written to aid Lupus UK, is to take place at a concert at Summerhall, this Saturday, 2 March.

The event is being run as a tribute to local amateur musical theatre enthusiast and performer Sarah Heney, who has appeared in over 50 amateur productions in Edinburgh over 20 years. After being diagnosed with the painfully debilitating and incurable auto immune disease, Systemic Lupus in 2010, she had to give up performing, but still provides support at the MGA Academy.

Simon Hanson, musical director of the evening said: “The programme is full of music you will know and some you will not, covering all genres so there truly will be something for everyone – from Musical Theatre (old and new) to jazz and swing to classical to James Bond. We’ve even thrown in some traditional Scottish music for good measure.”

But the centrepiece of the evening will be The Butterfly and the Wolf,  with lyrics by Marc Mackinnon and music and arrangement by Ali Colam and Simon Hanson. The title is a reference to the butterfly-shaped rash which appears on the faces of many people who get the disease and a rash with the shape of a wolf bite, which appears on the skin and gives the disease its name.

Lupus is a hugely debilitating disease in which the body’s auto-immune system goes awry, creating auto-antibodies, which attack the body’s own tissues. This creates conflicting symptoms which make diagnosis very hard.

Despite affecting 50,000 people in the UK, research into treatments for the disease is grossly underfunded. No medication developed specifically to treat lupus has been licensed for use in the UK in over 50 years.

Sarah Heney was previously Marketing Manager at the Edinburgh Playhouse, but the constant pain, fatigue and other symptoms forced her to  stop working. A former stalwart of the Bohemians, Tempo and Allegro, with performances around Edinburgh at the Church Hill, King’s and St Bride’s theatres, she also had to give up performing.

Indefatigable spirit

Hanson points out: “Anyone who knows Sarah will be aware that she has something of an indefatigable spirit, and for her, the show must go on. And so, when she feels well enough and only for a few hours at a time, she now brings her arts and marketing know-how to the benefit of musical theatre and dance students at the MGA Academy of Performing Arts in Balgreen Road.”

As musical director at the Academy, Hanson is well known for his work with many of the amateur musical theatre companies in Edinburgh over the past 13 years. He is joined in the organisation of the evening – as well as the creation of the single – but one of the MGA students, Ali Colam.

The evening tribute features a 12-strong band and seven singers. The headline trio of singers are: Susie Dumbreck, who has directed Limelight and Tempo, and performed with EMT, before going on to appear in the West End in Les Miserables and Oklahoma!; Charles Munro, who is currently rehearsing with the Bohemians and has also done shows with Tempo and Allegro besides appearing with the Royal Opera House and Scottish Opera; and Greg Burns, who is about to complete his third year at the prestigious Arts Ed performing arts college in London and has also appeared with Tempo and Allegro.

Appearing alongside them will be up-and-coming local stars: Ali Colam, who played the leading role in MGA Academy’s productions of Bat Boy and The Producers, with Peter Vint, Seonaid Stevenson and Lara Kidd who are studying at the MGA Academy of Performing Arts.

The Butterfly and the Wolf takes place on Saturday, 2 March, at the, Summerhall arts complex – the former Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, at the eastern corner of the Meadows. All participants are giving their time and expertise and venue for free. To maximise the benefit to the charity, the organisers are encouraging donations of at least £15 per ticket. These can be arranged through the Virgin Money Giving website:


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