What's it really like taking part in Nottingham Hot Property?
Each year, dozens of property and construction professionals ditch the workplace for the stage as part of charity music event, Nottingham Hot Property. Having managed the event's PR for the last five years, Cartwright Communications will be taking part in the fun-filled evening this year for the very first time. Account manager Jemma Page shares her experience so far.
Becoming a popstar for an evening
The year is 2001 and I’m eight years old. By this point, I’d been dancing for the past three years and I’d competed nationally a couple of times. I was good at it.
But, after spending the previous five years fawning over the likes of the Spice Girls, Five and Britney Spears, deep down, young Jemma wanted to be a singer. No, scratch that. A popstar.
I remember it vividly. I’d gone up to my Dad and asked him if I was a better at dancing or singing. Lying through his teeth, he uttered: “singing, duck”, because he knew it was what his completely tone-deaf daughter wanted to hear.
It wasn’t until I was much older that I found out I was actually a terrible singer. But that didn’t stop me from putting on performances in the school playground or entering Butlin’s Got Talent (where I danced and sang to S Club 7’s Reach, FYI).
However, to this day – despite working in PR – my dreams of becoming a popstar continue. And now, they’re about to come true.
What’s the theme for this year’s Nottingham Hot Property?
As soon as I found out the theme for this year’s Nottingham Hot Property, I was secretly hoping my boss, Liz Cartwright, would ask if anyone from the team would like to take part.
You see, throwback – the theme – is a bit of me. In my eyes, there’s no such thing as a guilty pleasure. I don’t feel embarrassed about being a 26-year-old who still spends money on going to see Britney Spears or bopping along to 90s and noughties pop classics.
So, getting the chance to live out my popstar dreams on stage in front of hundreds while performing an iconic song from my childhood is everything I’ve ever wanted.
First thing’s first – the lyrics
Although we can’t explicitly say who we are and what we’re singing, five of us Cartwrighters came forward and agreed to take on the challenge of becoming the world’s greatest ever girl group.
It was all fun, games and excitement until September hit, and we realised we needed to start rehearsing. We scheduled some time in our diaries and set ourselves up in our boardroom to run through the lyrics.
Two sessions later and we had it all figured out. But despite knowing the lyrics to our song like the back of my hand, there was still the case in point that I just cannot sing – and we were only days away from our first rehearsal in front of an actual singing coach.
Our first “real” rehearsal
I’ve been to Hot Property before so I’m aware that the standard is high.
Before our first “real” rehearsal took place (Monday, 16 September), we’d stayed behind at work to practise more. We’d nailed the lyrics and we’d even started to add some of the band’s iconic moves – but we still hadn’t shown anyone our performance.
So, needless to say, we were quite nervous. But when we got to the rehearsal space, our fears were instantly calmed. Dozens of other performers were there, and everyone was in good spirits.
We met the band and were called into the main rehearsal room, knees knocking.
Kate, the singing coach, instantly calmed us down. She was so friendly and, after running through the song with the band for the first time, she told us how fantastic we were.
Thirty minutes later and we’d added some moves into our routine and felt much more comfortable. We were given some pointers and told to come back in a few weeks’ time for another rehearsal.
The rehearsal schedule requires commitment, but it isn’t as daunting as you might think (especially after seeing how incredible the performers are on the night).
In total, we have two group rehearsals with the band, two possible “emergency” rehearsals, and a dress rehearsal before the big day itself. Internally, we’re getting together once a week to practise – while humming along to our track at our desks during the day, of course.
The event is so well put together. You can see the amount of hard work that goes into making it possible. After a hard day’s graft, the performers and musicians give up their evenings to get together and rehearse to put on a fantastic show that raises thousands for a different local children’s charity each year.
Singing with a live band has been the best part of the experience so far. It’s something I’ve never done before and it was surreal.
We’re all looking forward to continuing this journey and getting out on stage in November.
Please do Say You’ll Be There and buy tickets if you Wannabe in the know. Even If U Can’t Dance you’ll have a great time! Have I said Too Much? I think maybe I’ve said Too Much. Ok, I’ll Stop.
Nottingham Hot Property’s 15th anniversary show takes place on Thursday, 21 November from 6pm until 11.30pm at Pryzm. All proceeds raised from the event will be donated to Switch Up, a Nottingham charity that helps to steer children and young people away from criminal activity through sports, counselling and peer mentoring. To buy tickets, please visit www.tickettailor.com/events/nottinghamhotproperty.