Glasgow's Secret Policeman's Ball a roaring success yet again

Glasgow University's Secret Policeman's Ball 2013 was a tremendous success, raising a record £2248.85 for Amnesty International. In this guest blog post, Glasgow University Amnesty group member and SPB organiser Sophie Kortenbruck tells us all about it.

On the 9 February, our Glasgow University Amnesty International Student group celebrated Scotland's fifth annual (biggest and best) Secret Policeman’s Ball! Since its inception five years ago, the event has grown so big, and now involves so much time and effort, we have created a special committee position entirely dedicated to the SPB - cue me, the organiser for this year.

Last year’s show won us two awards including the “Human Rights Event of the Year” award from Amnesty International Headquarters. This year’s edition was no less successful. With the help of our enthusiastic, BAFTA-award-winning compere Billy Kirkwood, we had the most diverse line-up ever: from good old “making-fun-of -the-first-row”, to classic comedy presented by our University’s Sketch Society, and Dogshit Johnson travelling all the way from the Redneck South. All the comedians put in their best efforts and had the campus roaring with laughter.

Even an Amnesty representative made it on stage: Milly Bumble (a.k.a Sian Bevan), with a stiff upper lip, shocked us all by sharing that 95%, literally ninety-five per cent, of people are foreign! Tongue-in-cheek, Sian elegantly tied in the theme of freedom of speech that is so important to Amnesty’s work whilst mocking our youthful activist enthusiasm.

An act to watch out for is our own University’s comedy newcomer Eleanor Morton.  With an innocent look and a ukulele, red-head Eleanor charmed us with her recital of “slightly awkward social situations".  Slightly less innocent was the lap-dance one of the audience members received from Billy!

While the crowd was out having fun, our committee worked hard behind the scenes. For the first time ever, we offered our very own hand-made merchandise for sale and promoted our new campaign for a conflict-mineral free campus.

For my part, I was buzzing so much that I spent the whole night nervously hovering, breathing down people’s necks and laughing too loudly at the wrong time. As the highlight of our year, I was very keen to make this night as good as it could be. Needless to say, we had little sleep the nights before, but the fact that our committee was working seamlessly together to entertain about 300 guests took a lot of the pressure off. In retrospect, I would even say that it was a lot of fun to organise!

Overall, the show ran three hours and ended with a raffle prize draw and a huge round of applause for Billy, the committee, and everyone who volunteered their time to help us set up this fantastic event.  It was truly a team effort and our group takes great pride in the dedication of our volunteers.

We can't wait for next year's event and, until then, we might spend our nights watching our show on DVD - kindly filmed by GU Student Television.

Our group’s Chair, Martin, sums it up nicely: "February 9t was a day I won’t soon forget. It reminded me of how much can be achieved by a relatively small group of committed activists by stepping out of our comfort zone, by approaching people, telling them why they should support our cause. DJs, graphic designers, comedians, sound technicians, three hundred or so students and many others came together to light a candle instead of cursing the darkness."

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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