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1980-1989: The Expanding Eighties... The Fringe and beyond

For the Mercators, it was a time to deal with constitutional matters. An expanding membership created the need for a membership secretary and a regular newsletter. The club constitution and guidelines were extensively revised and updated. Changes included limiting the terms of office for the President and Vice-President, a move welcomed by previous office-bearers who found themselves stuck in the same post for years.

1982 saw our first ever venture into the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Having secured the exclusive use of Mayfield Church Hall for two weeks, we tackled a very ambitious programme; 23 performances over nine days of three shows - a programme of romantic verse at 6pm, a new Scots comedy by Alan Richardson at 7.30pm and a late night musical "biogrevue". It was exhausting, lost money but was a great experience for us all.

By the mid eighties, we found ourselves approaching our 50th anniversary... and a problem. The club was founded in 1936, but our first production wasn't until 1937. So which year do we celebrate? The happy compromise was to mount a Golden Jubilee season of plays beginning with The Imperial Nightingale by Nicholas Stuart Gray in December 1986 and ending with an adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice in May of the following year.

Another expansion was our acquisition of rehearsal and workshop facilities at Broughton-McDonald Church. This move gave us a large rehearsal and a workshop which was particularly welcomed by a growing band of members with considerable technical expertise. It was probably no coincidence that the club won its first stage presentation trophy at the 1985 One Act Festival.

Other festival successes in that decade were gaining second place with Gosforth’s Fete in 1980, third place in 1981, 1982 and 1985, and winning the Margaret Allan Quaich (donated by the Mercators in loving memory of a club stalwart with over thirty years service as actress, producer, Treasurer and twice President) for the best play depicting Scottish life and character with Liddesdale in 1987. But the One Act Festival highlight of the decade was winning our first trophy (the Buchanan Salver for third place) at the Divisional Finals in 1982 with The Long Christmas Dinner.

We expanded our versatility by presenting  less formal presentations such as Love is..., a programme of romantic verse and song which we staged at many venues and repeated over a number of years, and two cabaret style presentations with food and wine at Trinity Academicals R.F.C., where many Mercators found themselves trying their hands at song and dance for the first time.

1982 Edinburgh Festival Fringe - "The Comedy of the Marks" Golden Jubilee logo 1988  Chez Shuggé - French Café (Cabaret entertainment at Trinity Accies R.F.C.)

1936-1939          1947-1949          1950-1959          1960-1969          1970-1979
 1980-1989          1990-1999          2000-2009          2010-2018        

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