Muhammad Manji and Jovan Powar

They tell you to write what you know, and as someone who spends most lunch times in the market avoiding the colour-coordinated food they serve in Hall, this concept was staring me right in the mouth. I conceived this (food) baby back in the spring when one lunch, a well-meaning, Earth-loving tourist was browsing one of the fruit stalls. I walked by right in time to catch the gist of the conversation. ‘Oh! Lovely! So is this organic?’ she said, holding up a nobbly apple. The stall-owner glanced up, hands stuffed in her fleece, and simply laughed out a ‘no.’ I have never enjoyed a ‘no’ so much, and you have to admire the honesty.

The market-place is a microcosm of society: you can find just about everyone there. Families, couples, students, yo-pros, the haves, the have-nots, people from all over the world, and people from around the corner. The place BUZZES with activity and joy, and if you go often enough, you start to form relationships with the people there. (Or at least you think you do.) There is a lovely vegetable stand on the corner, opposite Franco Manca, and every time I visit, without fail, I receive the same talk. ‘Tomatoes? Sure. I’ll just tip them out of this plastic punnet into a brown bag.We don’t like to use plastic these days. For the environment, you see. Yep! We just use brown bags now. And we’re local.’ Resistance is futile. You just nod along and wait for it to end.

“What is the market-place if not a celebration of diversity and community?”

You see how well this lends itself to being a show? These guys have their scripts down! They know exactly what to say to customers, who their audience is, and what they’ve got to offer. They are all, without exception, charming characters with stories to tell and they stand right there every day waiting to tell you. I could have cast this show with real stall-owners. We’re basically charging you a tenner to watch something you could see for free by hanging around the market all lunch. But at least here, you won’t be ‘that weird stare-y guy’ or be told to ‘move along’. So, instead, I opened up casting to the young and naive student folk of Cambridge.

Last year, I took my first steps into comedy after wanting to get involved for so long but having absolutely no idea where to start. I really wanted to get a group of people together who felt the same way: who wanted to start, but didn’t know where to go. I also wanted people from a range of backgrounds because what is the market-place if not a celebration of diversity and community? My fabulous producer, Muhammad Manji, and I hosted two rounds of auditions and advertised as compellingly as we felt we could. But I realised it was all well and good that we ‘encouraged’ new performers to apply with very little in terms of outreach. Quickly, we planned another audition; this time in workshop format to make it super accessible and we advertised on non-theatre pages like cultural societies. We found some incredible hidden talent this way, people who didn’t feel able to audition normally and who haven’t been involved in much (or any) performing in Cambridge before. Plus, these are people who really care about our process, and who would really benefit from it - and they are incredibly funny writers and performers!


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Mountain View

The people behind the Pantomime

We are a large team of creatives as I wanted this to be as collaborative and open as possible. In supporting Market Square, you’re helping to support new talent, comedians who should feel able to go on from this and do more amazing projects. I don’t care about the reviews, but I do care about inspiring our lovely cast and crew, and hopefully some of the audience too. I am so proud of everything that this show stands for, and I want to give this team the audiences their hard work deserves.

Market Square will be showing at the Corpus Playroom at 9.30pm, Thursday 14th - Saturday 16th November

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