Help the curtain go up on a moment of rugby history!
Edinburgh is buzzing at the height of its various festivals just now.
And for a group of intrepid rugby pioneers, it’s the perfect time to launch an appeal to bring an epic and inspiring tale that is woven into the fabric of the game’s history to the stage.
In 1994 Sandra Colamartino was a graphic designer at Heriot-Watt University. Sue Brodie was acting manager at the capital’s Meadowbank Sports Centre.
Outwith the 9-5, Sandra and Sue had secured their place in rugby’s rich heritage.
Sandra was captain of the first Scotland Women’s rugby international team and scored their first try when they defeated Ireland at Raeburn Place in 1993.
Sue, who was Chair of the then Scottish Women’s Rugby Union, also played in that epoch-shaping game on the wing.
A year on from the inaugural international, Sandra, Sue and their team-mates and coaches were beginning preparations to compete in the global showpiece for the women’s game, the World Cup, in the Netherlands in 1994.
“Whatever all the reasons were, the competition could not take place there,” explained Sue, “but with teams all ready and committed to take part we thought ‘We have to be able to play. Why don’t we try to organise a World Cup’!”
In a whirlwind 90 days with the help of families, friends, work colleagues, international opponents Scottish Rugby and the wider rugby family, Sandra and Sue pulled off what, frankly, had looked impossible.
The competition was staged and the final – where England defeated the USA – was watched by an estimated crowd of 6,000 at Raeburn Place and shown on BBC TV.
As the 30th anniversary of their incredible feat looms next year, and as part of their determination to share the stirring tales from the early days of women’s rugby, Sandra and Sue have collaborated on writing a stage play.
“We reckon to bring the words to life on stage will cost about £40,000,” Sue reflected, “and if we can raise half of that through sponsorship and the other half through our crowdfunding campaign, then the story can be celebrated by a whole new audience.”
Working with Scottish Rugby, the plan is to stage the world premiere of the play around the 2024 TikTok Women’s Six Nations Championship match between Scotland and England, which will be played at Hive stadium on Saturday 13 April.
Entitled “90 days – a World Cup like no other”, the aim is to transport the audience back to the 1990s with an entertaining script punctuated with music and laughter.
Sandra said: “The play is a chance to celebrate just how far women’s sport has come over three decades.
“And in the unlikely event there are remaining funds after ticket sales, all profits will be given to Scottish Rugby to support under 18s grassroots girls’ rugby.”
Sue added: “When we rescued the World Cup in 90 days it was a team effort, with the Scottish rugby community at the centre of making it happen.
“If we can all chip in again, we can share this story to a new generation to highlight just how far the women’s game has come in recent years, as well as ensure this extraordinary episode in women’s rugby history is not forgotten.”
You can donate to the crowdfunding appeal here: Crowdfunding for 1994 Women’s Rugby World Cup Show – a Film and Theatre crowdfunding project in Edinburgh by Sandra & Sue (crowdfunder.co.uk)
And you can find out more about the play here: 90Days (90daysplay.co.uk)