From body positivity to partners: We chatted to the cast of the 2022 Edi Medics Reveal

Who needs Magic Mike when you have Medics?

It’s back. That’s right, after being cancelled last year due to Covid, Medics Reveal is back on for 2022. Taking place on Saturday 26th March, all profits go towards the Teenage Cancer Trust. So whether you want to support a good cause or for any other reason (totally unrelated to the “reveal” aspect…), Medics Reveal has got you covered! If there’s one thing for certain is that the future medics can put on a show.

Medics Reveal was started in 2014 by Catherine Fox, in aid of her sister who had leukaemia. Inspired by the reveal she had seen in Bristol she decided to set up the Medics Reveal in Edinburgh. After looking into the amazing work they do, Teenage Cancer Trust was chosen to receive the profits from the Reveal. They provide cancer care and treatment for teenagers in specialist wards that try to make the experience more friendly as well as offering age-specific support and facilities.

We chatted to David (Coordinator, fourth year – Mixed Moderate and Finale), Sean (Coordinator in 2019, sixth year – Mixed Modern, Boys Full and Finale), Sara (Head of Choreography, fifth year – Mixed Moderate and Finale) Caitlin (Choreographer of Girls Full, Boys Full and Finale, sixth year – Girls Full and Finale), Jonty (Head of Publicity, fourth year – Mixed Moderate and Finale), as well as Catherine (the show’s founder who will be attending for the first time since graduating).

For those who might not know, what is the Medics Reveal?

David: “It’s an annual variety entertainment dance show all in aid of Teenage Cancer Trust. At the assembly rooms on 26th March with an audience of 750 people with an afterparty to Why Not,. It includes non-strip dances all the way up to full strip. There are 14 dances including non-strip, bhangra, medic sport dances, musical all the way up to the finale!

“The cast rehearses once a week for 10 weeks with a full-dress rehearsal a week beforehand and on the night. Lots of smaller fundraisers throughout the year for The Teenager Cancer Trust. Such as a pub quiz, bake sales, glowstick and face painting at big cheese, a football tournament, bring a friend to netball and hockey events and a charity rugby match. We have around 160 cast members this year!”

When you do your photoshoots, do participants choose how much they want to show?

David: “Absolutely, photoshoots normally include non-strip photos to full strip and people just join in the photos they are comfortable with doing. We have amazing photographers that make it a fun experience and are very professional. Before any are posted, we then get consent again for the finalised photos to check if everyone involved is happy and comfortable with the photos being publicised”.

Have you had to deal with any negative feedback, especially from social media?

Sean: “We listen really carefully to feedback from cast and audience alike. This is why we have increased our emphasis on body positivity in the last few years, had the position of welfare officer on the committee who spearhead lots of cast wellbeing initiatives and this year we are making sure to provide education to our cast on sex workers and eating disorders, using resources from local charities”. 

Do you encourage diverse body types and positivity?

David: “We definitely try to do our best dance slots are based on first come first serve – and always completely full within seconds of opening! It’s then also based on year groups who have priority for the later dances. We always encourage everyone to take part and the Reveal is all about building people’s body positivity up”

How do you balance advertising it as a ‘strip show’, the charity aspect, and the talent of the dancers?

David: “People naturally hear of it as a strip show or assume it from our promo photos. Hopefully, they quickly see it’s all in aid of The Teenage Cancer Trust from our publicity and fundraising events we do throughout the year! At the event, it’s also made very clear with a talk and video about The Teenage Cancer Trust. Think the audience is also always shocked by how good the quality of dancing is (better than expected of their friends maybe…) as there are 10 weeks of rehearsals done beforehand.”

What made you choose Teenage Cancer Trust as your charity?

Catherine: “So when I was younger my sister was diagnosed with leukaemia. She spent the best part of a year in hospital, and it was so far from what the units are like now.

“The year I started the show it was going to be her 30th birthday. I decided that I wanted to raise money for a charity, but I wanted to do something fun that lots of people would enjoy. I had been to Bristol a few times to see my brother in their medic strip show and it was always such a fun night. I decided to do a similar format in Edinburgh but didn’t want it to be about if you’re an amazing dancer or have a great body. I wanted it to be something anyone could get involved with and enjoy.

“I didn’t really talk much about any of this when I started. But on the last year of myself running it, I got so drunk I said in my speech, “This is for anyone that’s ever had to go through chemo in a shithole’”- mortifying. But, I guess it kind of is.

“I told all my friends why I was doing it and essentially told them they had no choice but to be in it. Honestly, I was expecting there to be like 20 people in it and a couple of hundred seeing it and was just thinking it would raise a grand or something. Got my pals to help as coordinators and then we made a Facebook page and it got 1000 likes in 2 days so we realised it might be bigger than we’d thought”.

How much money did you raise last year and how much are you hoping on raising this year?

David: “We managed to raise over £20k in 2019, and aim to raise £22k for 2022. We also want to break the £100k mark of the overall amount raised since it was started in 2014! This is as we ended the last show having raised £85,000 since Reveal has begun.”

What do you hope for the medics reveal going forward?

David: “Mainly to keep going! I honestly think it’d be hard to get much bigger than it currently is in terms of venue or amount raised. It would be great to get a pole dance back again as they were so incredible last time, keep trying to boost the confidence of many more people who take part. If we sell out within hours again next year, we could make it a 2-day event…”

Do you feel any pressure to look a certain way to be part of the reveal, how does this differ between the men and women?

David: “I definitely thought there was going to be pressure for guys to look a certain way before joining Reveal dances, but soon realised it doesn’t matter at all what you look like and is just about you enjoying the dance and actually learning the choreography.”

Jonty: “I felt pressure when I was in my younger years but there has been a bigger emphasis on body positivity in the last few years and it’s such a fun, chilled out atmosphere at rehearsals.”

Sara: “I think years ago people felt a lot of pressure when doing Reveal, but as the show has progressed and expanded and we have widened our knowledge, body positivity has become something that is very important. Everyone feels a lot more comfortable.”

Caitlin: “Coming from a dance background, I’m used to being on stage but Reveal definitely places so much emphasis on body positivity at rehearsals and in the run-up to the final show.”

Have you found that you feel more body confident participating in Reveal?

Jonty: “Yes definitely! It’s such a positive atmosphere and everyone is just so excited to perform.”

Sean: “Yes – performing in the skud (naked) is very fun and quite liberating lol.”

Caitlin: “Yes definitely, there’s such a good atmosphere at rehearsals, and the performance at the end just tops it all off.”

David: “Definitely, rehearsals are good fun and I think it’s definitely become a much more body positive and supportive environment within the Reveal cast.”

If you have a partner, how do they feel about you being involved in the reveal?

Jonty: “She says she’s fine with it, and she is excited to watch the show… I have warned her what to expect and she has met my dance partner too!”

Sean: “He is quite jealous – he doesn’t have any of this in his uni course. But is excited to watch as well.”

David: “I don’t have a partner (cry)”.

Have you had anyone see the photos from the reveal that you’d rather didn’t? For example, parents, grandparents etc.

David: “Not anyone yet! I think they would find it funny anyway and the promo shoots aren’t too different to like a beach photo on Instagram anyway.”

Sean: “No, I think most people have told their families about it because it is for such a good cause. Most people understand what the show is about and why it happens so the photos are fun memories to look back on!”

Caitlin: “Yeah, I’ve been tagged in a few photos on Facebook that my parents and other family have seen. But once they realise how much money Medic’s Reveal raises for The Teenage Cancer Trust they’re all for it! My old dance teacher from back home absolutely loves the whole thing!”

Photographs provided by Jake Clarke and Saul Rooney.

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