Red 'n' Black Revue

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President Colin B. Mackay and Sheila Roberts perform in the Red 'n' Black Revue, 1957. PR; Series 1; Sub-series 1; Item 4938.

Name: Red 'n' Black Revue

Previous/other names: N/A

Prominent date(s) of activity: 1948 - present

History: The Red 'n' Black Revue is a theatrical performance originally put together by the 1948 senior class to raise money for their end-of-year grad party. Only two performances were scheduled, for the Thursday and Friday, but due to the overwhelming popularity of the show, a third performance on Saturday was added. The performance received rave reviews and an annual tradition was born.

Activities: The event consists of comedy skits, recitals, singers, musicians, political parodies, and the famous kickline, which was added to the program in 1950.

Note(s): The 1998 show was cancelled due to low volunteer/performer turnout. This volunteer shortage was attributed to poor organization, the increasing responsibilities of university students, and the fact that alumni had, in 1996, staged an encore performance at the Playhouse that undermined the student-only element of the show.

During the 1957 show, Sheila Roberts, who coached the kickline act for 20 years recalls that she was billed: "Sheila Roberts and Friend." "No one knew who the friend was, not even the cast. We started off with our backs to the audience... and when we turned around, the audience roared because they could see my friend was (UNB President) Colin B. Mackay. Backstage after the number, Dr. Mackay was excited and exclaimed, 'It was all right! It went all right!' just as a student passed by. The student stopped and remarked, 'You look more like Colin Mackay than anyone I've ever seen.'"

Singer Anne Murray, who graduated from UNB in 1966 with a Bachelor of Physical Education, is said to have gotten her start in the Red 'n' Black Revue.

There is some discrepancy in the anniversary dates for the shows, due to the fact that some anniversaries were billed according to the number of years since the first show, while others were billed according to the number of performances which preceded. For this reason, two 60th anniversary shows were presented: one in 2006, and one in 2008.


  • UA Case 173.
  • Montague, Susan. A Pictoral History of the University of New Brunswick. University of New Brunswick, 1992, p. 175, 244.
  • Student Union, [Red 'n' Black Revue]
  • The Brunswickan, vol 124, no. 9, 1989, p. 6.

© UNB Archives & Special Collections, 2014