Bats is the renowned drama group at Queens' that has traditionally put on Shakespearean plays in Cloister Court each summer, as well as a variety of other productions.
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The Bats were established in 1942, and have performed many productions during their rich history (more on the history of the Bats here). 2022 marks the 80th anniversary of the society.
The Bats are supported by The Scanlan-Michell Fund, generously endowed by Stephen Farrant (1956) through The Friends of Aliki Vatikioti for Music and Arts. The Fund is named after Queens' alumni and former Bats members Joanna Scanlan (1980) and Roger Michell (1974), both of whom have won BAFTAs for acting and directing respectively. The income from the Fund is used to provide grants, promote and encourage the writing and performing of plays, invite and host visiting experts, and to encourage wider participation in theatrical activities among undergraduate and graduate students. The Fund is administrated by Dr Andrew Zurcher, Fellow and Director of Studies for English, and Dr Peter McMurray, Fellow and Director of Studies for Music.
The most recent play performed by the Bats, 'Black is the Colour of My Soul', coincided with the 80th anniversary of the society. Black is the Colour of My Soul was written and directed by Nathaniel Gunn, and ran from Wednesday 16th until Sunday 20th November 2022 at Fitzpatrick Hall.
In the backdrop of an unnamed, impassive mental institution, three characters – Alpha, Beta and Gamma – are plagued by their pasts and conflicting desires to live the life they can or escape the institution at any cost. Under the ever-watchful eye of the Doctor who supposedly treats them for their illnesses, the true reality of the institution is unveiled as the Doctor’s own sanity is called into question and the walls of reality break down around them. Reflecting on the abhorrent treatment of patients that has happened in asylums throughout history, this abstract play is inspired by the writings of Sarah Kane, and Fox’s Legion. It will take the audience on a stylised, visceral, yet less explicit exploration into the interactions, thoughts and deepest secrets of the so-called ‘clinically insane’.
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Famous former Bats members include
- Joanna Scanlan - BAFTA Leading Actress winner 2022
- Stephen Fry
- Emma Hall
- Roger Michell - director of Notting Hill
- Olivia Emden
- Simon Bird - The Inbetweeners
- Hannah Murray - Game of Thrones
- Zoe Svendsen
- Mark Watson - comedian
- Adam Barnard
- Rachel Sternberg
- Khalid Abdalla - United 93, The Kite Runner
- Lloyd Thomas
- Cressida Trew
- Ed Coleman
- Rahul Signal
- Lydia Wilson
- Olly Riley-Smith
- Zara Tempest-Walters
- Lowrie Amies
- Stephanie Bain
- Bea Walker
- James Walker
- Will Attenborough
- Charlie Parham
- Jessie Haughton-Shaw
- Maria Pawlikowska
Joanna Scanlan (1980) pictured with the Bats committee and the cast and crew of 'Black is the Colour of My Soul' on the 19th November 2022