Merton Floats

Love's Labour's Lost, June 2018 -  - Photo: © Sebastian Dows-Miller (2016)

The Merton Floats returned to action this year after a long hiatus. We have had three busy and successful terms, culminating in a triumphant production of Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost in 5th week of Trinity. The current committee is made up of Miranda Mackay (2015) as President, Sebastian Dows-Miller (2016) as Treasurer and Harry Clements (2015) as Secretary.

The Merton Floats currently acts in two main areas: as a funding body, and as a production company. On the funding side of things, we had a lot of work to do before we could begin accepting applications. We spent much of our first two terms restructuring the constitution and rewriting our funding contracts, in which area we are grateful for the advice and support of a generous Merton law student. After dragging the society into the 21st century by setting up such outlandish innovations as online banking, we were finally ready to take applications. So far, we have made three offers and turned an overall profit on funding student shows, namely Like a Virgin, Hereafter and Brave New World. It’s notable, though coincidental, that two of these were new student writing, and the third a new student adaptation. In the last few weeks of term we also moved into the world of student film. We have offered £200 to the student webseries Dorian, a contemporary adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Grey in six episodes, which is being produced by another Merton student, Olivia Webster (2016). This is an exciting departure for the Floats, and we hope to continue funding films as well as plays into the future.

We rounded off this excellent year with our equally successful garden play. Preliminary discussions with College began in late Hilary, and after just over three months of preparation, we opened on Fellows’ Lawn under threateningly stormy skies on 25 May. Love’s Labour’s Lost was adapted and directed by Miranda and produced by Olivia, with Sebastian as Technical Director; our cast was a mixture of Merton and non-Merton students. We set the play in an imaginary Oxbridge college at the turn of the 20th century, just as the first female students were being admitted to the University. Besides being a natural fit for the text, this concept could not have been more perfect for our setting: the trees of Fellows’ Garden became our set, and the College itself our backdrop. Great fun was had by everyone involved and the production overall was a huge success, receiving warm reviews and excellent feedback from audience members.

"The best student show I’ve seen in Oxford"

"The cast collaborates as a well-oiled machine, spinning from scene to scene in bursts of energy interspersed with glimpses of real sensitivity"

"a stunning and somewhat haunting celebration of wit and cynicism"

To cap it all, we turned a healthy 215% profit on the production, which the Floats will be able to reinvest in Merton-based and University-based student drama in terms and years to come. It’s been a great year for the Floats, and we’re excited to see where the new committee takes it!

Miranda Mackay (2015)
Merton Floats President 2017-18