The ADC Theatre is one of Cambridge’s liveliest theatres. Owned by the Cambridge University Amateur Dramatic Club (CUADC) and a department of the University of Cambridge, this 228-capacity amateur theatre also runs Corpus Playroom, the fringe theatre space at Corpus Christi College which homes the college drama society the Fletcher Players.
Although it is Cambridge University’s smallest department, hiring four full-time and two part-time staff, the ADC’s output is far greater than you might expect, as it has been the breeding ground of many an acting career with its alumni including Sir Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson, Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Tilda Swinton and Eddie Redmayne.
England’s oldest university playhouse, the ADC is renowned for its work as a producing theatre, putting on almost 100 professional standard productions a year by Cambridge University students and local theatre groups alike. Here’s everything you need to know about this vibrant and ambitious theatre.
The ADC Theatre oversees two performance spaces: the theatre’s Main Auditorium and the Corpus Playroom located at Corpus Christi College.
The theatre’s Main Auditorium seats up to 228 people in stepped seating going back up to 15 rows. Depending on the production, you might even catch a glimpse of the theatre’s baby grand piano or its electric stage piano.
The Corpus Playroom is an unusual place to catch a show thanks to the studio’s distinctive L-shape, with its seating placed at the two points of the L and the performance space at its apex. The Playroom is capable of seating up to 80 people along fixed benches down both long sides of the L, making any show there an intimate experience.
The ADC Theatre is located on Park Street, CB5 8AS – 2 miles away (30 mins walk) from Cambridge railway station, which offers regular services to and from London King’s Cross and other UK cities.
The theatre can also be easily accessed by bus from Cambridge’s Drummer Street bus station or by car. Parking is available at Park Street Car Park which is operated by Cambridge City Council.
The Corpus Playroom, meanwhile, can be found further south at Corpus Christi College, on the South side of St. Edward’s Passage, CB2 3PJ.
Like the ADC, this is around 30 minutes’ walk from Cambridge train station and 10 minutes from Drummer Street bus station. However, it is harder to get to by car – the nearest car parking space to the Corpus Playroom is in the Grand Arcade car park.
Handily, the ADC Theatre and Corpus Playroom can be found right at the centre of Cambridge, meaning you won’t struggle to find somewhere to stay nearby before or after a show. There are several Travelodges located within a mile of the centre of Cambridge, and many other hotels close by.
If you are struggling to find somewhere to stay, you can always try Airbnb. Hosts often offer lower prices than regular hotels, particularly if you’re trying to find somewhere to stay last minute.
If you’re catching a show at the ADC Theatre, you’ll be pleased to learn that the theatre is blessed with its own bar, which opens 45 minutes before evening performances (30 minutes for matinées) and often continues serving until the early hours. What’s more, the bar offers a friendly atmosphere and student prices, making it an enjoyable place to get a drink all round!
The ADC bar boasts local wine and real ale, along with a range of spirits and ice cream which it serves during the intervals of shows. The bar is particularly famous for its Cocktail of the Week, which is themed around one of the theatre’s current productions.
The ADC Theatre prides itself on being fully accessible to wheelchair users with power assisted doors to the venue, a lift up to the auditorium and an accessible toilet. It also offers complimentary tickets to carers, and benefits from being near the Park Street Car Park which has 7 disabled parking bays.
Both the ADC Theatre and Corpus Playrooms welcome guide dogs and are fitted with infra-red audio systems to help those who are hard of hearing. Sadly, The Corpus Playroom is inaccessible to wheelchair users due to the nature of the Corpus Christi College building, although the theatre is working with the college to improve access to the venue.