Involvement in Non-Student Theatre

There are so many ways for members of our local community to get involved in productions at the ADC Theatre and Corpus Playroom outside of University term time. Find out more below!
Photo by Liv Clark

Even if you are not a student at the University of Cambridge, there are still opportunities for you to get involved in amateur theatre at the ADC Theatre or Corpus Playroom. We host an active programme of shows in between student terms, with slots for performances by local amateur dramatic groups every September, April and July. Directing and performing opportunities tend to be advertised on the websites and social media pages of individual societies, while technical and design vacancies will be listed by the Penguin Club.


The easiest way to get involved with acting in non-student shows at the ADC Theatre is to contact one of Cambridge's local amateur production companies.

There are two amateur dramatic companies who regularly produce plays with us:

    The Combined Actors of Cambridge was founded in 1965, and produces two or three plays each year, mainly at the ADC Theatre.

    Click here to find out more.

    Bawds was founded in 1981 in Cambridge, initially to present productions of restoration plays. It was later decided to broaden the theatrical scope of the company by presenting a wider variety of pieces.  Bawds has since staged many plays by classical and contemporary authors. The company has used various types of venues for its productions, ranging from college gardens and studio spaces to traditional proscenium arch theatres. BAWDS present three major productions a year and one or two festival or studio productions, some of which have been toured as far as The Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

    Click here to find out more.

    If you are interested in musical theatre, there are two amateur musical theatre companies who regularly work at the Theatre:

    The Pied Pipers Musical Theatre Club is an amateur community musical theatre company based in Cambridge. They celebrated their 70th year in 2021. They are a friendly and welcoming group, who always stage high quality and varied musical productions.

    Click here to find out more.

    Festival Players are a friendly, Cambridge based musical theatre society for all ages. Originally formed to enter musicals in the Cambridge Festival, Festival Players sprang into life as an amateur dramatics group in 1973 with a production of ‘The Arcadians’, an Edwardian musical by Lionel Monckton and Howard Talbot. There followed seven years of entries into the Cambridge Festival, and by 1980, membership had escalated and Festival Players moved their productions to the Mumford Theatre, and now to the ADC.

    Click here to find out more.

    These companies detail upcoming auditions on their website, and encourage actors of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to get involved.

    Other groups performing a range of musicals and drama include:

    Making theatre that entertains, moves, challenges and speaks to an audience is not easy. And surrounding themselves with talented, adaptable, good humoured and understanding people has always been Corkscrew Theatre Company's plan.

    Click here to find out more.

    Between the Bars was initially formed in December 2010 to provide opportunities for showcasing new writing and performing talent. Their first full production was the musical 'Thrill Me' by Stephen Dolginoff in 2012.  Since then, they have performed both new and existing works, in Cambridge and at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, to fulfil their aim of discovering undiscovered talent.

    Click here to find out more.

    Cambridge Theatre Company (CTC) was founded in 2015, and since 2017 has developed its focus on the youth community. Their shows encourage full community involvement and offer a range of opportunities for performers, both young and old, to participate in high-quality theatre.

    Click here to find out more.

    Auditions tend to be advertised online and by social media between 6-12 months in advance, so be sure to keep an eye on their websites to make sure you don't miss out on the latest opportunities to get involved!

    Contact details for all local companies can be found on their websites.


    The easiest way to get involved with backstage work on non-student shows at the ADC Theatre is to contact The Penguin Club

    The Penguin Club is a group of enthusiastic Cambridge-based volunteers who enjoy making the technical side of shows come together. They work on design and technical theatre in venues around the city and regularly meet socially to catch up on current productions and techie life!

    Anyone with an interest in theatre and backstage work is welcome to join, from absolute beginners to people with years of experience. They are always on the lookout for new members and if you want to join The Penguins, check out their Get Involved page here.

    The Club regularly advertise opportunities to their members including in: stage management, lighting design, sound design, props management, set construction, set and costume design, and more!

    For more information, go to their website or email them on can also find them on Facebook (Penguin Club) or Twitter @TheatrePenguins.

    The Penguin Club has been helping to stage amateur dramatic and musical productions in and around Cambridge since 1983; they do not perform and they do not provide set, costume or prop hire.

    New Writing

    If you have a new play that you would like to showcase, the best opportunity for this would be to pitch the show to the Cambridge Festival of Drama which runs at the ADC Theatre every September. 


    Directing opportunities are typically advertised by individual companies on an ad hoc basis. Some groups will select a show and then advertise for a core creative team (Directors, Musical Directors, Choreographers etc) while others welcome enthusiastic prospective Directors to present a show of their choice. Some previous Directing experience is typically required for our ADC Mainshows, so prospective Directors are encouraged to reach out to individual show teams to see if they are looking for Assistant or Associate Directors to gain some initial experience first.

    Please note that there are restrictions on which titles we can perform on an amateur basis at the ADC and geographical restrictions on the availability of performing rights often apply.

    Most rights for shows are held by the following three companies:

    If you are looking at a show that is not held by one of these rightsholders, then you must check elsewhere whether amateur performance rights are available.

    Many rights agreements do not permit changes to be made to the show's script, period, setting, or characters (including their gender).

    We are also unlikely to programme a show which has been on at the ADC Theatre or Corpus Playroom already in the last 5 years. Please check for information on when shows have last been staged with us.

    The local non-student companies are also unlikely to accept a pitch from a Director for a show which has been performed on an amateur basis elsewhere in Cambridge and neighbouring towns in the last five years.