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The doctors will see you now: Meet the medics getting naked for Teenage Cancer Trust

Warning: Reading this article may result in an abnormally fast heart rate


It’s back. That’s right. The Medics Reveal is back on for 2023! 

Taking place on Saturday 1st April at the International Conference Centre, all profits go towards the Teenage Cancer Trust (TCT).

Tickets will be released at 6:00 pm on the 24th of February! And going to the naughtiest event of the year couldn’t be easier, click here to confirm your attendance! Trust us on this one.  

Last year’s event sold out within hours so set your reminders!

So whether you want to support a great 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 Edinburgh’s future doctors can put on a show.

We chatted to and asked questions about Reveal to David (Coordinator, fourth year), Ellie (Coordinator, third year), Alastair (Head of Publicity, third year), Polina (Head of Sponsorship, fourth year), Sarah (Wellbeing Coordinator, fourth year), Roma and Louise (Publicity Team, third and fourth year).

For those who (somehow) don’t know yet, what is the Medics’ Reveal?

Polina: “The Medics’ Reveal is an annual dance show (with stripping!) produced, choreographed and performed by medical and nursing students from the University of Edinburgh in aid of Teenage Cancer Trust. The strip varies from non-strip, all the way to the grand finale!

“Throughout its eight years of running, we’ve donated over £110,000 to TCT [Teenage Cancer Trust], which is done by cast fundraising throughout the year and from the actual event. Everyone is welcome to watch!”

What made you choose the Teenage Cancer Trust as your charity?

David: “The medics reveal was started by a medical student, Catherine, in 2014 who had a close family member diagnosed with Leukemia. Teenage Cancer Trust was a natural choice of charity and she wanted it to be something anyone could get involved with and enjoy.

“The show has grown and grown since, with an impressive £110,00 being raised over the eight years so far.

“The show has grown and grown since, with an impressive £110,00 being raised over the eight years so far.

“Everyone knows someone who has been personally affected by cancer. One of our fourth-year medical students Rachel received and overcame a cancer diagnosis while at university, and has personally been supported by Teenage Cancer Trust. She has written an article for them, which highlights the important role they played throughout her journey.” Click here to read her article.

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

David: “Last year we raised an amazing £26,000 (our best yet!), and this year we hope to raise as much as possible again.” 

Who can apply to be in the Medics’ Reveal cast? 

Polina: “There’s no auditioning process – any medical student who wants to be in Reveal can apply! Reveal 2023 has the biggest cast ever, with 210 dancers in 19 different dances. This year, we had a record number of applications and received over 100 applications within a few minutes of the sign-ups going live, however, we try to give as many people as possible at least one dance that they’ve applied for.”

David: “This year, we have also opened up the cast to nursing students! It’ll be very exciting to have them join, and was a natural decision as we will work so closely together in our careers.” 

What does being in the cast involve?

David: “Being in the cast requires quite a lot of commitment. From the new year, the cast rehearses weekly until the dress rehearsal and final show. There are various socials also organised throughout the year to help the cast bond with each other, as well as our extremely memorable night-out after the show itself. 

“Alongside this, individual and team fundraisers occur throughout the semester, with each cast member creating their own JustGiving pages in aid of Teenage Cancer Trust. Fundraising is an integral part of Medics’ Reveal and is at the heart of what we aim to do. The whole cast gets involved in fundraisers throughout the year, so be ready to buy cake outside the library or glow sticks at Big Cheese from us! 

“Each dance is then responsible for hosting their own fundraiser- some previous events we have had include charity sports matches and training sessions which get other medics as well as non-medics involved.” 

Who choreographs all of the dances?

Ellie: “Our Head of Choreo this year is Izzy Muotune. She is responsible for coordinating all of the dances and finding rehearsal spaces, as well as communicating with the other choreographers.

“Anyone involved can apply to choreograph the individual dances, with opportunities to introduce new dances if there is enough interest! This year, we have a team of 24 choreographers working alongside Izzy to produce the best Reveal yet.” 

How does the event run?

David: “The show is the culmination of the cast and committee’s hard work throughout the year. Everyone on the committee has a big role in ensuring the event runs smoothly on the day. Each year we also have a different host, who helps to gel the whole show together and ensures the audience is entertained in between dances.”

Ellie: “Reveal would not be possible without our Head of Production, Alasdair Smith. Currently in fifth year, he has been involved in the production of the show for the last few years and is an integral part of our committee. He is responsible for the running of the show on the night and it would literally not be possible without him!”

How do you promote the show throughout the year??

David: “We have a great publicity team who organise promo shoots to give us great content for our social media, as well as our annual Reveal Calendar which we use as one of our many fundraisers. Anyone from the cast can take part in the photoshoots and it is always quite funny to do. The photographers are great at making everyone feel comfortable and always get great quality photos!”

Polina: “There are a couple of photoshoots throughout the year; we produce a calendar, a countdown to Christmas and to ticket sales, and general promotional photos. Doing the photoshoots is very fun and chaotic! The atmosphere is very supportive and people really get into working out the best poses. This year the host made a huge dish of pasta for everyone and bought a lot of snacks.”

What was the best part about last year? 

David: “Being a Coordinator last year was awesome – the event itself was a huge amount of fun to “dance” in, and the amazing cast and ridiculously loud audience made it a night to remember. A few extra last-minute additions (backflips and filler ideas) led to some entertaining moments too.” 

Polina: “The whole day of Reveal was exciting: it was fun to see all of the dances in full costume, to get hair and make-up professionally done, to take pictures with your dance mates, and to dance in the actual show!”

What’s the best part about being in The Medics’ Reveal? 

Louise: “Personally I feel one of the best things about Reveal is the sense of achievement and knowing we are raising money for such an amazing cause! Performing on the night and the crowd cheering us on makes it all such an exciting thing to be part of!” 

Ellie: “I think it’s very difficult to choose just one best part of The Medics’ Reveal. Aside from raising money for a great cause, I think the whole process is a great opportunity for students to get involved in socials/fundraisers throughout the year and allows the cast to make friends both inside and outside their medical school year (very useful for finding older students to donate you notes)!”

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

Roma: “When I told my (non-medic) partner I was taking part in The Medics’ Reveal this year I wasn’t sure what to expect, the level we go to is quite high and we totally understand different people have different boundaries however…my partner turned around to tell me they were so proud of me that I was confident enough to take part for such an amazing cause, and knew I would do an amazing job while having a phenomenal time.

“Teenage Cancer Trust is such an amazing charity and so they were so happy for me that I was going to be taking part in such an amazing cause!”

Sarah: “My partner is actually a medic as well, and they had the pleasure of coming to see me dance last year (lol). They enjoyed the show so much last year that they are planning on dancing in it this year!”

Have you had anyone see the photos from Reveal that you’d rather didn’t? 

Louise: “Some reactions can be amusing, but overall everyone understands it is for charity and is all a bit of fun! I have only ever had support!”

Alastair: “Last year I bought my parents, my grandparents and several distant aunts and uncles Reveal 2020 calendars, of which I was fully naked in several of the months. So in short, it depends on how much you care, it’s all for a good cause and most people find it funny.”

Sarah: “I showed my eldest sister and her husband the video of the dance last year and they couldn’t stop laughing. Comments included ‘great confidence’ and ‘oh wow’. I convinced them to donate to JustGiving though, so all in all, it was worth it.”

Ellie: “When I showed my family what I was involved in, there was definitely some surprise from a few of my older relatives with my gran tentatively asking whether I’d like her to attend the show or not! But the most asked question from family members who’ve seen photos is ‘where can I donate?’, so I find it hard to be embarrassed when the money is going to such a great cause.”

Do you feel any pressure to look a certain way to be part of the Reveal?

Polina: “Not personally; in my experience of being both a choreographer and in dances with stripping, choreographers don’t care what you look like, nor do your teammates nor the audience. Confidence and liking how you look comes from within, and our aim is to create a fun and supportive environment where after the show, people feel more confident about themselves than before.”

Roma: “When I first heard of Reveal I did wonder how so many people were so confident to take part in it, I just never pictured myself being confident enough for it. But when I went to watch the show last year it really became clear to me. Every single person dancing on the stage was beaming with happiness and cheering each other on. The crowd goes wild the second people get on the stage and the environment is so inclusive and inviting.”

Have you found that you feel more body confident participating in the reveal?

Alastair: “Taking part in Reveal for the first time was, to this day, the most nerve-racking but worthwhile experience I’ve been a part of since coming to university. You definitely walk away from the event feeling more confident in yourself having known you have put yourself out of your comfort zone.

“It doesn’t matter how you feel about yourself going in, after the event you look back and appreciate how much fun you had.”

Sarah: “I definitely felt completely out of my depth when I signed up to do Reveal last year. My friends and I are fully aware of my inability to have rhythm or decorum when I take to the dance floor. However, during rehearsals for Reveal, I built up my confidence amongst a lovely team and even gained some rhythm.

“By the time the show came around, I can say that I had nailed the dance (after practising in my room most nights), and it felt so good being on stage for such a great cause, the atmosphere was amazing.” 

David: “I definitely realised during the event that the only person who really cares about how you look is yourself. Everyone else is just seeing how much fun you’re having (and sometimes judging attempts at body rolls…).”

How do you encourage body positivity within the cast?

Sarah: “This year, we have introduced a Well-being Team as part of the core Reveal committee, who actively talk with the cast about body image, raise awareness around body inequalities and unpack the importance of using inclusive language when talking about bodies.

“Reveal has a zero-tolerance policy in regards to diet culture and negative discussion around body types. This year we have invited Gillian McCollum, who is an anti-diet body coach, to speak to our cast to reinforce this message.”

How do you look after the well-being of the cast? 

Sarah: “We recognise that everyone involved in Reveal probably has a lot of stuff happening outside of their commitments to fundraising, rehearsals and performing. We try to support everyone so that they enjoy being part of the show as much as possible and help them balance the different fundraising requirements throughout the year. 

“This year we have made sure that all cast members are comfortable and aware of the commitments they are making by being part of Reveal. This includes ensuring that cast members recognise the early roots of modern stripping and the privileged position we are in of being able to do this activity safely in a supportive environment. A representative from the sex worker-led charity ScotPep will be speaking to all of our cast to educate them on the safety, rights and health of everyone who sells sex in Scotland. 

“We have also created a code of conduct to support cast members in feeling empowered to speak up about any concerns they have. This code outlines the things which as part of our Reveal culture will not be tolerated, including negative discussion surrounding body image, e.g. being ‘reveal body ready’, any discriminatory behaviour such as racism, homophobia, sexism, classism or ableism, any pressure or coercion of other members into an activity which makes them uncomfortable, and any form of harassment of others. 

“As a collective of people, we do not expect that anything along these lines would take place in our community, however, we hope that by putting these resources and guides in place, we will be able to protect and support anyone who feels they have a concern they want to raise. We have created an anonymous feedback form this year for cast members to raise any of these concerns.”

What are you most excited about this year?

David: “Tough question… I am always a fan of seeing the rugby boys get their kit off and body roll, but probably the return and addition of some new dances! These will be announced soon…”

Roma: “I’m so excited to see the new dances we have this year, it’s so amazing to see more and more people come forward with their own ideas and plans for what else can be involved in Reveal!”

Ellie: “I’m excited to experience the atmosphere at our new and bigger venue this year and am really looking forward to seeing our exciting (and yet to be announced!) hosts get the audience and cast hyped up!”

What do you hope for The Medics’ Reveal going forward?

Roma: “It keeps going, increasing awareness of such an amazing charity, and helping to improve the lives of many young people facing cancer. All we can hope for is for more and more students to get involved and enjoy themselves. Everyone who takes part in Reveal loves it and we want that to continue.”

David: “To keep going and raising money for Teenage Cancer Trust, alongside fostering an atmosphere of inclusivity and body positivity while boosting the diversity of the cast!”

Ellie: “I’d love for the Medics’ Reveal to continue to grow over the next few years, raise as much money as possible and remain the best night out of the year. Looking forward, it would be super exciting to reach out to medical schools around the UK and try to encourage similar Reveal shows at other universities!”

Resources:

Scot-Pep: A sex worker-led charity that advocates for the safety, rights and health of everyone who sells sex in Scotland.

Gillian McCollum Podcast: Anti-diet food and body freedom coach and body positive yoga teacher.

BEAT: UK charity which helps those who are affected by eating disorders.

Photo credits:

 2023 calendar via Adam Tobias

2022 event via Berenika Murrary 

2022 event via Phoebe Janes 

2020 calendar via Jake Clarke 

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