Controversy has arisen at Lincoln and Keble this week, following the revelation that the two colleges share a ball theme.
Lincoln’s ‘Le Fantôme – un Opéra Parisien’ and Keble’s ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ both draw their inspiration from Gaston Leroux’s novel.
President of the Lincoln Ball Committee Dennis Egger called it an “unfortunate coincidence,” explaining that his college’s theme had been chosen last Trinity, before the Keble Ball President had been elected. Keble was therefore not included on OUSU’s ball presidents mailing list, on which the different colleges’ themes were made known. He told Cherwell, “They had no way of knowing; it wasn’t a case of copying”.
Daniel Guinness, Keble’s Ball President, commented, “Both Lincoln and ourselves discovered the other’s theme as we were postering and flyering over the weekend. The Lincoln Ball President, Dennis Egger, and I have had a couple of very good conversations about this. What we’ve realised is that the themes, and the Balls themselves, are actually quite different, and that there is room for both to be brilliant successes this year. As such, both balls have decided to carry on with their respective themes.”
This avoids the controversy generated in 2009, when both St Hilda’s and Balliol chose ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ as ball themes, resulting in the former changing theirs.
Egger expressed the hope that the coincidence may prove advantageous, saying it “might stimulate efforts to make Lincoln Ball distinctive.”
When asked whether he feared Keble’s bigger budget and venue would woo ball-goers away from Lincoln, Egger replied, “Bigger doesn’t always mean better. Lincoln’s smaller size will make the ball intimate and provide a coherent experience, very much focused on the theme.”
Keble’s buildings and layout will be one of its major selling points, Guiness telling Cherwell, “Our Gothic Architecture, enhanced by the addition of musical stages and carnival rides, creates a magic setting for a night of joyous abandon for our guests.”
Lincoln Ball will be recreating the atmosphere at the reopening of the Opéra Garnier in Belle Époque Paris, while Keble Ball will be a re-enactment of the lavish party the Phantom throws for Christine.
“I’d rather go to Keble Ball,” said one second-year, “Because it’s a bigger, fancier college, and its grand architecture is better suited to the theme.
On the other hand, one PPEist told Cherwell, “I went to Keble Ball last year, and it was fantastic, but I’ll give Lincoln a go this year. I will be disappointed, though, if doesn’t live up to Keble last year.”
Biologist Chloe Orland was more diplomatic, saying, “I’ll do research. I’ll check out the bands playing at each, and see what you get for your money overall, seeing as their prices are similar. Some investigation is needed.”
They will be taking place a week apart in early Trinity, Lincoln Ball on Saturday of 1st Week, Keble Ball on Saturday of 2nd Week. Tickets for Lincoln are £115 dining and £80 non-dining, with 700 on sale, while Keble’s 1500 tickets are going for £85.