Publicity Image for 'Survival Strategies' at the ADC TheatreWEBSITE/ADC THEATRE

The pandemic has hit the performing arts industry hard but the ADC Theatre’s current manager reveals how, and why, shows are continuing.

Helen: How long have the production processes been for the performances on your up-coming programme?

Jamie: Some of the shows were carried over from the Summer season that we had to cancel, so there has been preparation by the Director happening since April (for instance, How to Disappear Completely and Never Be Found). Other shows have been preparing by auditioning and rehearsing remotely since we announced in early September that we could do shows again in Autumn. A few of our shows, like our Footlights Smoker, will be looking for performers nearer the time, so if you are new to theatre and want to get involved, I would recommend looking out for auditions and other availabilities on Camdram (www.camdram.net) or the Cambridge Theatre Facebook group (bit.ly/cam-theatre).

Helen: How has Covid affected rehearsal and staging?


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Jamie: Rehearsals have to take place as much virtually as possible, with some run-throughs of the show happening on-stage and in our dressing rooms in a socially distanced manner. In terms of staging, all of our shows will comply with the government’s guidelines for performers and technicians. That means that performers on-stage won’t be able to get closer than 1m to each other, and won’t be able to get closer than 2m without additional precautions like a face covering or a barrier between them. This has obvious implications for the kinds of shows we can stage — it means people have to get creative when staging intimate scenes or fight scenes — but I think the student community will come up with interesting ways to work within these limitations.

In rehearsal for 'Guys and Dolls'Lucia Revel-Chion

Helen: Do you envision live-streaming becoming a more permanent part of the way audiences enjoy works at the ADC in future?

Jamie: Very much so. Even if social distancing loosens down the line, I expect that we will be able to offer live-streaming for at least our biggest shows. This would allow people who aren’t yet comfortable with returning to the theatre to still be able to access our shows, even if they’re not in Cambridge or are outside of the UK. Also, live-streaming our shows gives students the opportunity to work with the medium of film as well as with theatre. I can only expect that for the foreseeable future, the medium of theatre will contain a lot more filmed aspects, as venues work with the current situation. By joining the theatres across the country that will be live-streaming their plays, I hope that the ADC can continue to prepare students for working in the arts after they graduate.

“People have to get creative when staging intimate scenes or fight scenes - but I think the student community will come up with interesting ways to work within these limitations.”

Helen: Are there any particular shows we should be looking forward to?

Jamie: The season opens with the student-written comedy musical Survival Strategies, about a support group preparing themselves to survive any apocalyptic situation, who then get locked down in a bunker together. We’re staging Shakespeare’s Macbeth and the play Last Summer at Bluefish Cove, notable for being the first mainstream lesbian play. Our season of Lateshows will be live-streamed at 11pm, and include the Footlights Smoker, which is a combination of sketch and stand-up comedy, and Cambridge’s premiere student drag troupe, Dragtime.

Helen: How and why should freshers be looking to get involved at the ADC next term?

Publicity Image for 'Last Summer at Bluefish Cove'WEBSITE/ADC THEATRE

Jamie: Freshers should get involved with plays at the ADC because there is no other place that will allow you to get in any and all aspects of staging a show: as an actor, writer, director, backstage technician, designer, and much more. We have two Freshers’ plays that will take place in mid-November, which will be entirely produced and performed by those new to theatre. Details about how to get involved will be published on adctheatre.com/getinvolved nearer the time, or you can contact me (at jamie@adctheatre.com) if you have any questions about how to get involved with a show.

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