Located on Park Street, the ADC is the centre of University DramaSimon Lock

With such widely recognised and well-respected alumni, getting yourself ingratiated with the thesps and techies in the Cambridge scene is, undoubtedly, daunting. But this is only to begin with. Familiarise yourself with this information and you’ll be flying in no time. Throw caution to the wind and immerse yourself!

Venues

The ADC

The ADC Theatre is the centre of university drama in Cambridge and the oldest University playhouse in country. It is run almost entirely by students and plenty of big names, including Stephen Fry, Emma Thompson and Eddie Redmayne have walked its hallowed stage in the 162 years it has existed.

The Corpus Playroom

Don’t be deceived – The Corpus Playroom is not, in fact, part of Corpus Christi College. Situated just off King’s Parade in St Edward’s Passage, it is a much smaller and more intimate venue than the ADC and is usually reserved for sketch shows, lower budget productions and experimental pieces.

Cambridge Arts Theatre

Just across the road from the Corn Exchange is the Cambridge Arts Theatre. The venue is a 666-seat theatre on Peas Hill and St Edward’s Passage and presents a varied mix of drama, dance, opera and pantomime – including the annual Marlowe Society production.

Cambridge Junction

Venture a little bit further afield to the southwest of Cambridge (near the train station) and there you’ll find the Cambridge Junction, an edgy and urban Arts Centre. Although the Junction is mostly known for its live music events, here you can also catch some big-name comics and immersive theatre.

Societies and Groups

CUADC

The Cambridge University Amateur Dramatic Club is the oldest student dramatic society in the country and the resident company at the ADC Theatre. The club are responsible for around 20 shows a year and run plenty of workshops, led by both industry professionals and students alike, so there’s plenty of opportunity to get involved, whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro.

CUMTS

Think of the Cambridge University Musical Theatre Society as an all-singing, all-dancing counterpart to CUADC. The society run at least one musical per term alongside a number of more relaxed, cabaret-style bar nights. PS. Be careful how you pronounce this acronym.

The Marlowe Society

The Marlowe Society is one of Cambridge’s oldest student drama societies, dedicated to high-quality performances of Elizabethan, verse, and non-realist plays including classics and plays rarely seen on the professional stage. As well as the workshops, writing groups and talks offered by the society, the Marlowe present an annual production at the Arts Theatre with a professional director and design team. Alumni include thespian superstars Rupert Brooke, Trevor Nunn, Ian McKellen, Derek Jacobi, and many others

The Pembroke Players

Arguably the most active college-specific drama society in Cambridge, the Pembroke Players present plenty of successful productions in venues of all shapes and sizes, from their own New Cellars to the ADC.

The Cambridge Footlights

The Cambridge Footlights are the world-famous comedy troupe who first aired the talents of some of the foremost British comedians and actors of this century. But don’t be intimidated – if you’re a keen comic, the group run sketch shows called Smokers every term for students to showcase new writing, so don’t be scared.

Don't be intimidated by the Footlights name - their Smokers are made for new writing and new comicsIsobel Hedley

Notable Shows

The Freshers’ Plays

This is one to keep your eyes peeled for on the CamDram auditions page. Every Michaelmas, CUADC have specially designated productions so that Freshers can get involved. Why not audition or apply to do tech for one of these? You might get your big break!

The Marlowe Showcase

The Marlowe are renowned for the high quality of their actors, and so it seems only natural that every year, they showcase the best of their talent to industry professionals (casting directors and agents). Only 12-14 actors get this spot, so set your sights high and this could be you!

The CUADC/Footlights Pantomime

Every Bridgemas, CUADC and The Footlights team up for one of the more grand shows you’ll see during your time here. Expect intricate sets, a massive cast and plenty of innuendo.

The Arts Show

Another annual offering, the Arts Show is usually a classic piece presented by the Marlowe Society with the assistance of a professional director. Because of its high production value, this one is a hot ticket for actors, techies and audiences alike.

The Footlights International Tour Show

In what is arguably the biggest show of the year, the Footlights take their show around the globe, and have previously played to audiences in California, Las Vegas, New York, the Cayman Islands and many more. The show culminates in a homecoming run back in Cambridge. Don’t miss this one.

CAST

The Cambridge American Show Tour is another of the annual touring shows on offer. The team travels across the States with a Shakespearean piece and also provide the opportunity for American students and young people to participate in workshops, as a way of introducing them to Shakespeare or building on the knowledge they already have.

HATCH

HATCH is a great workshopping opportunity for new writers to showcase their talents and get some really valuable feedback. Submissions are open to all and are usually limited to shorter pieces, but this is ideal if you want to try out an idea for a show and would like to test the waters first.

Musical Theatre Bar Nights

Likewise, the Musical Theatre Bar Nights run by CUMTS offer students the opportunity to test out new audition songs, or just belt out a song that they wouldn’t otherwise have the chance to perform in the comfort of the ADC bar. This is another great way to ease yourself in if you haven’t had much audition experience.

The Wolfson Howler

Hosted in Wolfson College thrice termly, the Howler presents some big names in the London comedy circuit and the very best student comics. Fancy being billed alongside the likes of Russell Howard? This is one to get involved with. If you just fancy watching, tickets are only £5 and free for Wolfson students.

Big production shows are worth a watch, even if participating isn't your bagChris Williamson

Other points of interest...

CamDram (http://www.camdram.net)

Think of CamDram as the Cantabrigian equivalent of IMDB. Some people have tonnes of credits to their name, and it’s a great resource for contacting people you might be interested in working with, or for keeping an eye out for new opportunities.

The Cambridge Theatre Group on Facebook

Another good point of contact is this Facebook group, where students are always posting about brand spanking new opportunities. Click here to get involved.

The ADC Bar

Last and certainly not least, the ADC bar is the theatrical hub and epicentre of all thespian endeavours. Here you can soothe any post-audition (or post-supervision if your day has been particularly problematic) woes with a pint in hand.

Getting Involved

Although it might seem daunting at first, the best way is really just to immerse yourself in it all. There are plenty of opportunities for workshopping with industry professionals and some of the more seasoned students involved in the scene here.

Even if you don’t get a part the first time, or manage to get your show on stage on your first attempt – keep trying. Everybody has to start somewhere! One of the best things about theatre at Cambridge is the really tight-knit group involved. If you ever need to ask for advice, it’s very likely that someone will lend an ear. So jump in

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