The show must go on at the ADC Theatre
Theatre is back in Cambridge after almost six months of no one treading the boards. The first brave venue to reopen its doors to live audiences is the university of Cambridge’s ADC Theatre which has lined up a full autumn programme of plays, sketch shows and a Christmas panto, but with a twist.
There will be socially distanced seating in the auditorium and for anyone not ready to come back into the theatre they will also be livestreaming shows at the same time which can be viewed on phones or computers.
“We can’t wait to re-open our doors again,” says the ADC theatre manager, Jamie Rycroft. “The management team has been working hard to come up with a way in which audience members, performers and technicians can remain safe while watching and staging live theatre again. And if you’re not quite ready to return, you can watch all of our shows from the safety and comfort of your home.
“It is so exciting to think we will have a live audience again. We didn't set foot back into the theatre until about july. We have just put out our first social media announcement that we are reopening and already the response has been amazing.
“We have plans in place for how to run our shows in a socially distant manner. The law at the moment is everyone in the audience will have compulsory face coverings and they willsit with their households or 1m apart from other groups. When someone books a ticket they won't be told exactly where they will sit in the auditorium but they will say how many are in their household and when theyl arrive in the theatre they will be sent in a one way system and told where to sit, 1m away from other groups.
“We will sanitise our auditorium more often and because our seats are quite small we will have three between groups and only use every other row. Our auditorium is 228 seats and we will have to go down to 75 to make it socially distant. we are planning hopefully to offset loss of revenue that by streaming all of our shows and you can watch those at home for cheaper than the auditorium ticket price.
“We do two shows a night one at 7.45pm which is the main show and that will have both a live and a streaming audience but the 11pm show, the late show will only be done on streaming because as the law stands at the moment we wouldn't have enough time to properly sanitize the auditorium between performances.”
Highlights of the upcoming season include Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the classic of lesbian drama Last Summer at Bluefish Cove, and the annual CUADC and Footlights Pantomime Sleeping Beauty, which will be performed just before Christmas with new jokes and original songs.
Jamie said: “The students are writing the pantomime now and it turns out we might be the only panto in the local area that is actually happening. But it's a Footlights pantomime so it is brand new and being written by the students as we speak and I would say you should expect something out of the ordinary.
The panto is set to be Sleeping Beauty but the logistics around weather the prince can kiss Beauty to wake her up have not yet been worked out.
“When someone is singing they will have to be 2m away from other cast members. As for kissing, maybe you could have a perspex barrier in between people? I really don't know. It presents a creative opportunity for the students!”
He added that the theatre would not try to consciously cast people from the same social bobbles or people who live together. “That wouldn’t be fair casting,” he said.
The ADC Theatre is Britain’s oldest University playhouse. Plays have been performed on the site of the Theatre since 1855, when the Cambridge University Amateur Dramatic Club was founded, and the society met in the back room of a hotel. Whilst every performer and technician is an unpaid volunteer, the impressive alumni list proves how many have gone on to great success in the theatre industry.
The ADC is famous for being the starting point of many of Britain’s most famous creatives, from Stephen Fry and Ian McKellen to Emma Thompson and Rachel Weisz.
With live streaming plan in place, Jamie is hoping to attract audiences from around the world for the panto, given the Footlights’ famous name.
He said: “There is a following for the Footlights pantomime in other parts of the country and maybe in the USA too. It would be great to draw some online audiences from further afield.
“One thing which is really weird that we won't be allowed to do - you can’t encourage the audience to shout out. So if you think of the classic call back in all pantos of “he’s behind you,” I don’t think we can do that.
“The Footlights' pantos are often a bit weird and mad and my understanding is the main character this year may actually be the pantomime horse!”
Tickets for all of the shows, including to watch a livestream from home, can be booked at adctheatre.com. The first half of our Autumn season will go on sale on Monday 14 September, followed by the second half of the season on Friday 16 October.
You can book tickets by calling our Box Office on 01223 300085 or online at adctheatre.com
New season at the ADC Theatre
Tue Oct 13-Sat Oct 17 at 7.45pm
There are a million ways we could die at any given moment. The neighbours could turn out to be serial killers, or the water supply could be tainted with E-Coli. Not to mention threats of nuclear war and the impending doom of climate disaster that could wipe out humankind at any second. But either we can live in fear - or we can laugh at the absurdity of it all.
This original musical comedy centres on a ragtag support group who call themselves 'Survivors Non-Anonymous' and who join together to share their stories of survival. But when the bunker they're meeting in suddenly goes into lockdown, trapping them inside with no resources and no idea of the cause, the group members are left to combine their talents and do what they do best: survive.
From the sell-out writing team behind What's Wrong With Me? and Life With You comes a wacky new musical comedy about survival, friendship, and the importance of the Heimlich Manoeuvre.
Last Summer at Bluefish Cove
Tue Oct 20-Sat Oct 24 at 7.45pm
As the first mainstream lesbian piece of theatre, Last Summer at Bluefish Cove is a seminal work which explores a gay women's haven where a group of seven lesbians are spending their annual holiday. Eva wanders into the colony after leaving an unhappy marriage, accidentally finding herself among women who will change her life in more ways than she could ever envisage.
This tender play follows these women as they experience love, loss, and everything in between. Rooted in subtle and realistic portrayals of lesbian relationships, it invites us to consider love between women in all its forms.
Tue Oct 27-Sat Oct 31 at 7.45pm
When Macbeth receives a prophecy that he shall be king, he stops at nothing to see it come to fruition. Leaving behind him a murderous, blood-soaked trail, Macbeth forces his way to the crown. Paranoia and guilt close in as he and Lady Macbeth swear to kill all who could stand in their way.
This production sets William Shakespeare's darkest tragedy against the backdrop of a post-apocalyptic Scotland.
Tue Nov 3-Sat Nov 7 at 7.45pm
Ordinary Days follows the intersecting lives of four young New Yorkers as they attempt to figure out their ‘Big Picture’ in a world constantly working against them. An eccentric artist and an uptight PhD student are thrown together by fate and a lost notebook while a fairly dysfunctional couple attempt to understand each other and the space between them. Through a journey of love, loss and a troubling trip to the Met, they grow and learn from each other in a way that is only ever possible through a beautifully crafted series of songs.
How to Disappear Completely and Never Be Found
Tue Nov 10-Sat Nov 14 at 7.45pm
'What makes you who you are? A name? An address? A random collection of experiences, a few memories?... You are who you can prove you are. And that's the easiest thing in the world to change.'
When a young executive reaches breaking point and decides to disappear, he pays a visit to a master of the craft in a seafront fortune teller's in Southend. Haunted by visitations from a pathologist who swears he is already lying flat out on her slab, he begins a nightmarish journey to the edge of existence that sees him stripped of everything that made him who he was.
Tue Nov 17-Sat Nov 21 at 7.45pm
Eccentric pianist Robin flees to his family home in the woods after being spurned by society, retreating into a world of childlike chaos and brilliant music. Fighting against his brother and his own conscience, Robin struggles to block out the harsh light of day streaming through the cracks of his crumbling castle. But in the course of one last night, accompanied by a disparate group of strangers who become friends and friends who become strangers for a raucous party of celebration and mourning for what once was, how far will Robin go to save his home?
CUADC/Footlights Pantomime: Sleeping Beauty
Wed Nov 25-Sat Dec 5 at 7.45pm
Matinées on Nov 28 and Dec 5 at 7.45pm
Sleeping Beauty is rudely awoken from her slumber. Marry Prince Charming?! Thanks but no thanks - a better adventure is calling.
Join our hero as you've never seen her before as she enters the world of work under evil bosses, Jake and Will Grimm, and on her very first shift must undertake a dangerous mission to find an escaped Panto Horse and save her colleagues' jobs. She sets off journeying through a series of absurd pantomimes in pursuit of the horse, only to discover that everything is not as it seems...
Sleeping Beauty and her friends must work together, find the horse and ship the baddies off - next day delivery.
ADC Lateshows (Streaming Only)
The Man Presents: Womxn
Tue Oct 13 at 11pm
We've all heard of sticking it to The Man‚ so it only seems right that through a whole host of monologues‚ Cambridge's finest lady and non-binary comics will do just that - on stage‚ for every gender's viewing pleasure. This is the perfect showcase to portray the hilarity‚ strength‚ weirdness‚ wonderfulness‚ bravery, and all the many more things a woman/non-binary person can be. Stockings are bringing The Man Presents: Womxn back to its basic‚ initial format as all these characters come together to stick it to their Male writer -- the one who ineptly branded them as what he 'thought' a woman character should be (read: quite frankly‚ written badly).
Wed Oct 14-Sat Oct 17 at 11pm
Sinners is a saucy, spicy, slightly sexy character comedy show about confessions, flaws and the surprising ways messiness manifests in our lives. We bring you four charming and lovably insane characters whose 'sinful' lives we untangle through wickedly witty and scandalously relatable sketches. This world of confession and joyful sins becomes an empowering space of communality where we push: laying it all out on the table to its limits.
Tue Oct 20, Nov 3 & 25 November at 11pm
Footlights bring you the funniest songs, sketches, monologues and stand up in an hour of non-stop, back-to-back fun-filled hilarity. The material is always original and always varied. It can be soft and silly; rude and spikey; wordy and nerdy or a little surreal - whatever the style, it's always 'uproariously funny' (Varsity).
Training Wheels: a Freshers’ Sketch Show
Wed 21-Sat Oct 24 at 11pm
Training Wheels: A Freshers' Sketch Show. Join the next generation of Cambridge comedians as we make you relive all the awkward moments of your first terms at Cambridge; from the first Freshers' mingle to embarrassing yourself while drunk to midnight trips to Van of Life. Entirely created by Freshers ready to share their nightmare Fresher scenarios. Reminisce with your friends over the journey from having 'Down it Fresher!' shouted at you at every night out‚ to being a Cindies veteran.
Wed 28-Sat Oct 31 at 11pm
Following the success of last year's 'Things That Go Bump N' Grind In The Night' Dragtime! is back again with another hour of cabaret fun and this time it's even spookier :O :O :O Cambridge's premiere drag troupe return to the ADC with their second Halloween show, presenting the best new drag talent the city has to offer. Hold on to your seats as Dragtime!'s kings, queens and inbetweens take you on a thrill-inducing ride through the dark side of drag, featuring singing, lip sync, spoken word, pole dance, burlesque, live music and more!
Almost Romeo and Juliet
Wed Nov 4-Sat Nov 7 at 11pm
'Shakespeare, Shakespeare, wherefore art thou Shakespeare?' In the fair land of Verona, a new day dawns on the love of two overly hormonal teenagers. Will their love be able to survive the feud between their two families, or will the unstoppable power of the plot separate them forever? Complete with puns, poetry, mischief, and mayhem, this parody of a Shakespeare classic is not to be missed!
Tue Nov 10 at 11pm
A stand-up open mic night gone wrong. 3 acts unaware that they are playing multiple roles will create a hilarious night you will not forget. Poking fun at the stand-up industry‚ this meta comedy will have you on the edge of your seat.
No Cash Left on the Premises Overnight
Wed Nov 11-Sat Nov 14 at 11pm
It's the bolshiest heist in human history. Three struggling cons who haven't hit a target in years set their sights on the Crown Jewels, and a much-needed early retirement. Join them as they assemble their team, plot their path, and even fall in love on the way. Will they swagger off with the swag, or be swept up in the long arms of the law? Either way, irresistible tunes and uproarious comedy guarantee a criminally good time.
Tue Nov 17 at 11pm
Charlene is having a tea party, and all of Cambridge is invited!
Has social distancing left you low? Struggling to wake up for your 9am Skype lecture? Or maybe you’re desperate to find love in lockdown...
Whatever your worries, don’t leave them at the door - bring them inside!
Dragtime!’s Charlene Collins is the Dragony Aunt of your dreams, and she’s ready to set the world to rights over a good ol’ cuppa. For one special night, step into the comfort of her private parlour, where secrets are shared and nothing is off limits. This intimate and interactive drag show is your chance to get all the answers that you need.
There’ll be music, mayhem, and madness - but rest assured: Charlene is leaving no stone unturned to find the tastiest tea that Cambridge has to offer.
Second Person Narrative
Wed Nov 18-Sat Nov 21 at 11pm
‘Hale and healthy, whole life ahead of her, world, oyster, et cetera. Proceed… And don’t forget to label her.’ In Second Person Narrative, You are the protagonist. You are born a girl, You grow up, You grow old, You die. Along the way, You have family and friends and lovers and colleagues and acquaintances. You live a life. But who gets to make the choices by which that life is defined? Who is creating the identity that makes You who You are? Are You actually in charge of writing Your own story at all?
Space Mystery: a Mystery in Space
Thu Nov 26-Sat Nov 28 at 11pm
'Delightfully self-referential', 'A true classic', and 'would pay money to see this!' are just some of the comments the writers made up to describe the biggest mystery since that Cluedo game you played with your family last Christmas: SPACE MYSTERY: A Mystery in Space.
When a string of murders litter the quadrant, Space Force Detective John Woods is brought onto the case to investigate. He's the force's greatest weapon, but maybe its biggest weakness, and also its biggest coffee drinker. What will he do when he finds his name all over the murders? How will his robotic partner Trix navigate the fine lines of her code and her simulated love for her friend? And can our intrepid heroes solve the mystery of the murder in space?
The Great(er) Cambridge Panel Show
Mon Nov 30 at 11pm
Live from the ADC Theatre, it's Saturday night! From the team who brought you The Great Cambridge Panel Show comes The Great Cambridge Panel Show (Again)! A one-night-only event of games, quizzes and calamitous comedy featuring some of Cambridge Theatre's finest and most available comedians.
Tue Dec 1-Thu Dec 3 at 11pm
The Book of the Mabinogion tells the ancient stories of Welsh mythology. From Prince Pwyll's reign of the Otherworld, to fierce battle with King Matholwch of Ireland, to Manawydan's encounter with the mystic mice. Ranging from the epic to the surreal, these tales of magic and wonder have survived from before time immemorial in the oral tradition, following the life and times of the hapless Prince Pryderi (Old Welsh for 'Anxiety'). Now, using a combination of song, comedy, puppetry, and a healthy dose of absurdity, the stories of the Mabinogion are retold; let us transport you to a mystical world, where cauldrons bring the dead back to life, and children turn into fish when they're baptised. We follow Pryderi as he argues with wizards, hunts ghosts, and even starts a pig farm. Think you know folktales? Think again.
Show Choir: Don’t Stop Me Now!
Fri Dec 4-Sat Dec 5 at 11pm
Hip hip hooray! It's Show Choir's 10th birthday!
To celebrate, we will be performing some of your favourite Show Choir anthems from across the decade, from absolute classics like Proud Mary and I Will Survive, to all the cheesy contemporary hits you love to hate: Call Me Maybe or Teenage Dream anyone?
Don't Stop Us Now as we boogie our way into our 10th fabulous year, grab your dancing shoes and your party hats and come along and join us for some slick harmonies, killer choreography and an hour of hilarious musical fun! See you there!