Societies

Castle has a variety of different societies; whether you’re interested in music, drama, arts and crafts or want to give a helping hand around college, we have much to offer! Becoming a member of a society is a great way to get involved in college life and is a good way to meet new people with similar interests and make new friends.

Here is a list of just some of the societies that we have to offer:
Castle Big Band 

Welcome to Castle Big Band! We practise every week and enjoy playing the likes of Glenn Miller, Stevie Wonder, Frank Sinatra and even a bit of Aretha. We hold two major concerts a year – Christmas Carnage and Summer Shambles, as well as playing at plenty of college balls. Our goal is to play great music and have lots of fun doing it. Instrumental players don’t need to audition, if you can read music, we’d love you to join us. We’ll be holding auditions for singers in October. And if that’s not enough we’re also hoping for another Big Band Tour next summer! We look forward to seeing you there. If you have any questions or just fancy a chat please email: eleanor.a.smith@durham.ac.uk

Castle Chamber Choir & Orchestra

Do you play an instrument or sings in a choir? The Castle Chamber Choir and Orchestra is an ensemble society that performs in around two concerts per term. From Vaughan Williams to Tchaikovsky, it is a great opportunity to continue practising and performing music. It’s also a chance to meet new people in college, and get perform for locals, family, and students alike. If you have any questions, feel free to email the incoming President Sian Bell at castle.cco@durham.ac.uk. We’ll be holding auditions* in the first few weeks of term and would love to see you there! *This is subject to Covid-19.

More on Castle Music…

At Castle you will be able to offer your musical talent to a variety of ensembles from jazz to classical. The Castle Chamber Choir and Orchestra (CCCO) strives for high standard performance of music from the Renaissance to the present day, while Castle Big Band are in high demand for their renowned jazz gigs. If joining an ensemble is too much of a commitment, we also hold open mic nights every so often in our college bar (called ‘Mundie in the Undie’).

College music is supervised by the Music Rep, who this year is Charlotte Brown. You can contact her at charlotte.brown@durham.ac.uk for anything music-related in college.

Our facilities range from historic spaces, such as our famous Great Hall and the 11th century Norman Chapel, to the more modern. Castle has three purpose-built practice rooms, located on the ground floor of Block D in Bailey Court. All contain a keyboard, chairs and music stands. The largest is Room 3, able to accommodate 15-20 people. Room 2 can comfortably accommodate an individual, while Room 1 is suitable for a quartet. You can book them through the Porters’ Lodge. To book the chapels, the Hall or any other space, visit https://www.dur.ac.uk/university.college/current/events/. We also have a storage room with various jazz instruments and equipment, keyboards, music stands, and a small library of choral and orchestral scores. Contact Charlotte for more information on this.

We very much look forward to seeing you get stuck-in with music at Castle!

Christian Union

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, …” Hebrews 10:24

University College Christian Union aims to represent Jesus Christ in the Castle community; we love to get together as followers of Jesus to encourage one another, pray together and study the bible. Anyone and everyone is welcome at CU, we want to reach people wherever they are in their faith journey, whether they have never heard about Jesus or are a mature Christian. This year we are looking forward to hosting more chilled socials and getting to know the incoming freshers! We generally meet once a week as a College CU and on Friday evenings we walk down to Central CU, which is a gathering of all college CUs in Durham.

If you are joining University College this Autumn do contact us via our Facebook page or Instagram account, we’d love to answer any questions regarding CU/College, help you in your “Church Search” and get you involved with the wider CU community!

The University College Christian Union reps are Hilja Jeffory, Trini Prasadam and Bethany Wright.

Castle Dance Society

Castle Dance Society is a place for everyone. Whether you just want to try  something new or you have already been dancing for several years, you are welcome to attend our classes. We meet once a week, where we do some technique exercises followed by a choreography. Dance is a great combination of exercise and art, giving you strength, flexibility and body awareness. We hope you will give it a try!

Please join our Facebook group Castle Dance Society to stay up to date and don’t hesitate to send us a message if you have any questions: Sofia, Issy and AV.

Castle Chapel Choir

Castle Chapel Choir is a 22-strong auditioned choir and is probably the best Chapel Choir in Durham. It is the only society in Castle to provide yearly financial scholarships for 8 of its members. The Choir sings 2-3 services a week and due to the vast repertoire it covers, a proficient level of sight-reading is required. The choir regularly tours both nationally and internationally.

Castle is home to 2 wonderful chapels, the 16th century Tunstall Chapel and the 11th century Norman Chapel, which is the oldest visible part of the Castle. Today, the Chapels are spaces of stillness and prayer at the heart of a busy academic community. The ethos is one of a warm welcome to all, whether practising Christians or not. During term time, Choral Evensong is typically held at 6pm before a Thursday Formal and a sung Eucharist is celebrated at 11am on Sunday.

Look out for us at the Freshers’ Fair! To find out more please visit the Castle Chapel website www.dur.ac.uk/castle.chapel/ or contact the Chapel Officers at castle.chapel@durham.ac.uk.

Castle Debating Society

Castle Debating Society meets fortnightly to discuss two or three contentious issues in the world today, ranging from politics, social issues, economics, education, religion and more. We are a small but close-knit society of students from a range of different courses with different levels of public speaking ability. Castle Debating Soc. is an inclusive space where people from all political backgrounds are encouraged to express their views, although no member is expected to speak in front of the group unless they are keen to. At our fortnightly meetings on Wednesdays in the Undercroft, all members are given a background information sheet about a contentious issue, and we discuss the issue as a group. Come along if you would like to take part in one of our discussions! Contact Tara Jackson.

University College Ents Committee

Every college at Durham hosts numerous ents (events), however what many people say so special about ents at our college is the location; attending balls in a UNESCO world heritage Castle is somewhat magical. The Ents Committee, headed by Anna Patchett (the Social Chair), works to both plan and execute both small and large Ents within college. These range from themed gowned formals (such as a Think Pink formal for Cancer Research) to balls such as Ladies Night and Halfway Hall.

Many members of the committee then apply for the June Ball Committee which runs separately from the Ents Committee which is also managed by Anna. The Ents committee, as one of the larger societies within college has a lot to offer – positions on the team include sourcing aesthetics, working with logistics and administration, seeking sponsorship, selecting food and drink, and recruiting bands for entertainment. We encourage anyone to get involved as there are so many varied roles on the committee and we can easily work around individual time schedules and other commitments; furthermore, this is the perfect chance to develop key skills for graduate jobs and meet lots of people within college! The roles on the committee are divided between both Junior and Senior Ent Coordinators who are allocated different responsibilities – these will be explained in full in the Ents recruitment handbook which will be emailed out at the beginning of term along with details on the committee’s application process. Contact: castle.socialchair@durham.ac.uk.

University College Feminists (Fem Soc)

Castle Feminist Society is an inclusive and wide-ranging group which focuses on issues surrounding gender equality within and beyond Durham. We run discussions, debates, talks and events weekly, and are keen to explore the ways intersectional feminism can empower everyone in our community. We hope to create a non-judgemental environment so that we can also help those less fortunate than ourselves by working with charities and other groups within Durham. Do come and chat with us at the Freshers’ Fair, we look forward to meeting you all, love FemSoc. Contact Emma Gratte.

Floreat 

Floreat is Castle’s very own termly magazine! A light-hearted take on everything non-academic, you’ll find us exposing what went on at Freshers’ Week, roundups of the best events in college/town, the odd quiz or review, and the infamous Gossip Girl… Whether you’ve been involved with a mag before or you’re just a budding comedian, we’d love to hear from you. We’re keen to recruit writers, artists, graphic designers, content creators – no previous experience is required! Look out for applications to join the editorial team in Michaelmas term, or get in touch with me, Laszlo, at laszlo.karsai@durham.ac.uk.

June Ball Committee 

June Ball is renowned across the country having featured in Tatler’s Bystander, The Guardian’s ‘Top 100 things to do before you die’, and Mastercard’s ‘Top Events Money Can’t Buy’. Its success depends on the efforts of those on the June Ball Committee. Each year there are loads of students keen to be involved with the organisation of University College’s largest ball of the academic year.

The Committee is made up of both directors and assistants who specialize in certain aspects of the ball, these include: Aesthetics, Food and Drink, Entertainment, Sponsorship and Marketing, Administration, Logisitcs, Graphics, Web Design, and Finance, working alongside College Office to make it happen.

One of the hardest challenges for members of the committee is that they must complete tasks throughout the year without disclosing the secret theme to other students. It is tradition for the theme to be revealed on the night of the ball in order to add an air of mystery to the event. The theme is chosen by the President of the committee which becomes the focus for all aspects of the ball.

Contact: castle.ballchair@durham.ac.uk (Ania Forget, Ball Chair)

Follow this link for more information: https://castlejcr.com/june-ball-committee/

University College Society for Inclusion

University College Society for Inclusion is a society and platform that aims to promote inclusivity, specifically relating to individuals from ethnic minority and low socio-economic backgrounds. We host talks and events throughout the year, as well as work with University wide societies such as the 93% Club, to enable individuals at Castle to educate themselves and make our community welcoming for all, regardless of background!

Castle Panto

Do you only dance when you’re a few vk’s in? Did you only scrape a B in year 7 drama? Then you will be perfect for this year’s high school musical themed panto! A much anticipated, yearly event college panto is a great way to get to know your year and break the ice via outrageously dodgy singing. Traditionally, panto is written by second years and performed by freshers in the first term*. This makes it a great way to find out all the best juicyyy college chat from the year before to swap with your friends over Saturday brunch. Best of all, with two social secs on the directing team, our nights out are set to be pretty awesome as well. See you there! Contact Nina Hayward, Avery Winningham, Anj Pillai or Grace Calder. *Due to Covid-19 this will likely be postponed until second term.

Palatinalps

Palatinalps is the annual Uni ski trip which takes over a thousand students to the Alps each year. It normally happens in January however this year will happen over the Easter Holidays. For what you get, it is great value for money compared to sorting a ski trip yourself. Included in the base price you get return travel to the Alps, basic accommodation, 6 day lift pass and on top of this there are options for ski hire, lessons and things like freestyle classes. There are also endless events provided throughout the week including nights out with Palatinalps own arena, husky rides, helicopter flights, Bongos Bingo (flown over from Liverpool), bottomless brunches and so much more. And of course we can’t forget the unforgettable Après skis provided exclusively for Palatinalps every day to enjoy a nice cold one with your mates as soon as you’ve come off the slopes. It is an absolutely incredible week and I cannot recommend it enough to anyone whether you have skied before or not as you will have a whale of a time with your pals even if you’ve never skied before. If you have any questions at all do not hesitate to get in touch with us – Charlie McKeever or Anna Guildford.

Politics

Castle Politics Society is where speakers come from all over the UK to engage students from Castle and others in Durham in discussing pressing political questions. It has no political affiliation and we welcome all those interested in politics to come along and listen to the variety of speakers we have. We are looking to revitalise the society this year so if you are interested in being on the exec or just coming along to an event please join our Facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/castlepolitics/) for Castle Politics members and give the Facebook page a follow. This is where we will share the upcoming events and how you can get involved. Contact Bertie Ellison-Wright.

Castle Theatre Company

Castle Theatre Company is the university’s oldest student theatre company, performing a variety of fantastic shows and non-theatre events throughout the year!  Our productions range from traditional gothic such as Dracula and Northanger Abbey, to contemporary and even musical such as Mrs Dalloway and Jesus Christ Superstar.  Likewise, CTC annually produces its famous Shakespeare Summer Tour, which tours both across the UK and US, visiting dozens of venues and performing in front of hundreds of people.

Comedy Cabaret and Scratch Night are some of our further specialties: the former is an annual black tie event where you can watch some of Durham’s best stand-up comedy; the latter is a more relaxed evening where you are free to perform anything you choose, be it a song, poem, dance or magic trick.

Whether you are an actor, writer, director, producer, interested in tech or just like being in the audience, we welcome anyone who is interested and wants to be involved!

Contact:

Facebook: @CastleTheatreCompany

Email: castle.theatrecompany@durham.ac.uk

President: Jenny Shpeter (evgeniya.shpeter@durham.ac.uk)

VP: Megan Cooper (megan.cooper@durham.ac.uk)

College Officer: Eleanor Thornton (eleanor.j.thornton@durham.ac.uk)

If it happens that you can’t find what you’re looking for, try looking at the many different societies that the Durham Students’ Union has to offer here! Or alternatively, set up a new society here in Castle!