The Marlowe Society's 'Romeo and Juliet' (2018) directed by Tom LittlerWEBSITE/THE MARLOWE SOCIETY

Annika: At the Marlowe we have a yearly calendar of events that we put on so we’ve been trying to plan those around the current situation. The Marlowe Showcase is an event for graduating actors to perform for agents in London and Cambridge and find representation, so we’ve moved that from its typical Michaelmas slot to Lent term to get as much industry presence as possible. We’re also in talks with the Arts Theatre about a Spring Project for Lent Term as we don’t know if our traditional Arts Show - where students work with a professional director in a large-scale production - will be possible this year.

Luis: It’s meant a lot of contingency planning but it’s also presented a couple of exciting opportunities. I know you, Jasper, have been planning quite an extensive New Writing Programme.

Jasper: Yeah, absolutely. So we have a weekly Marlowe Society Writers’ Group to talk about different aspects of writing, our own writing, our ideas, just to build that sense of community. That’s all taking place on Zoom at the moment. Then we also have HATCH each term, which is the Marlowe’s New Writing event where multiple short plays are staged. We did a digital HATCH last term which was really successful and hopefully we can do something like that this term.

Luis: We also have the Prometheus Rebound Project which is very exciting. Annika, do you want to talk us through that?

Annika: Prometheus Rebound is a new verse play by the poet John Kinsella that the Marlowe Society is producing the debut of. The text reimagines the story of Prometheus as a “non-violent antifacist play of environmentalism and social justice, against tyranny”. Auditions for it will open soon and we’ll be rehearsing over the next couple of terms to really get to know the text. We’re also hoping to run some workshops in tandem with it that will be open to all, to learn more about the play, its themes and its techniques.

Luis: Jasper, you’ve also planned a couple of workshops, haven’t you?

“Cambridge theatre is sort of its own beast and it can be a bit difficult to navigate”

Jasper: Yes! On the 7th October we have ‘Introduction to Writing in Cambridge’ and on the 8th October there’s ‘Introduction to Directing in Cambridge’. Both of those will take place online at 7pm. I’ve also planned a few collabs with other societies like the Cambridge University Film Association for an ‘Introduction to Screenwriting’.

Luis: What was the inspiration behind those?

Jasper: Cambridge theatre is sort of its own beast and it can be a bit difficult to navigate so it was really just to provide an introduction to people who want to stage specific works or to stage their own work. With other roles you tend to apply or audition to particular shows but as a writer or director you have to pitch the show to a venue, find a crew, and find funding.

The Marlowe Society's 'Othello' (2020) directed by John HaidarWEBSITE/THE MARLOWE SOCIETY

Luis: How did you find your feet in Cambridge theatre? I know I found it difficult at first and only after trying and failing as an actor (which I continue to try at - persistence is key!) did I start exploring other roles.

Jasper: I just tried to get involved in any projects that seemed interesting. I started off as an actor and then I talked to the students involved in those shows that intrigued me and learned from them.

Annika: Yeah it was really similar for me in terms of growing into it. I started off as a Stage Manager and then I produced a show and found a niche there, which is what I mainly focus on now, along with directing. I went on to produce the Arts Show and am now Assistant Producer for the CUADC/Footlights Panto this year. I would really say don’t worry if you don’t get leading roles or your magnum opus staged at the ADC [Theatre] in first year. It takes time to figure out your own skills and develop them.

Luis: Anything else we’d like to plug?

Annika: I’m just doing Panto and Prometheus Rebound this term. Oh and my dissertation but third year doesn’t count, right guys?

“Don’t worry if you don’t get leading roles or your magnum opus staged at the ADC [Theatre] in first year. It takes time to figure out your own skills and develop them”

Luis: Well as young and sprightly second years, Jasper and I have plenty of time to overcommit don’t we? I’m co-directing a sketch show - Training Wheels - in Week 2 and co-producing the Week 4 Musical: Ordinary Days. I can’t do anything alone clearly.

Jasper: I’ve got a really busy end of term with Space Mystery: A Mystery in Space in Week 7 which is a sort of Airplane! style comedy, then The Great(er) Cambridge Panel Show as a one night stand the following week, a St. John’s Panto, and producing the Cambridge Shorts film festival thrown in somewhere there. Oh and producing HATCH of course!

Luis: If there’s anything Cambridge theatre prepares you for, it’s overcommitting. Hopefully some wisdom has been dispensed from this article and thank you guys for taking the time to chat.

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