Student Applications

Applications to stage a show in Lent 2025 will open at the start of October!
Photo by Paul Ashley Photography

Applications to stage a show in Lent 2025 will open at the start of October!

Key Dates:

  • w/b Monday 30 September 2024: Applications open.
  • Thursday 24 October 2024: Applications close. You will not be able to make an application if you have not submitted it before 1pm;
  • Saturday 02 - Sunday 03 November 2024: Most applicants will be invited to deliver a 5-minute pitch to discuss their application in more detail;
  • w/b Monday 04 November 2024: One of the panellists will read the script (where applicable), and questions based on the script, written application and pitch might be sent over to the applicant to respond via email towards the end of the week;
  • Saturday 09 - Sunday 10 November 2024: Most applicants for the ADC Mainshow slot are invited to a further, 20-minute interview. If you have applied for a different slot, you probably won't be invited to an interview, though please don't worry: we should have all the information we need to make a decision;
  • w/b Monday 11 November 2024: You will find out via email whether your application has been successful.

More information about the application process can be viewed below:

Applications Guide

For non-student booking enquiries, please click here.

When applying, the application form will ask you for the following:

  • Your name, phone number and email address;
  • The name and author (if applicable) of the show;
  • A synopsis of the show, genre, age suitability (see more information below), and any content notes you want the panel to be aware of;
  • The expected cast size for the show;
  • The expected run time for the show (please bear in mind the durations of each of the slots you can apply for);
  • Whether your show has any intimacy content;
  • Your answers to the following questions:
    • Why are you passionate about your show?
    • What ideas do you have about the process of bringing your show to the stage?
    • How do you want the audience to react to the show?
    • What ideas do you currently have about ways to allow for diversity and inclusion in your production?
    • What are your ideas for marketing this production?
  • Any supplementary material, if necessary;
  • The slot and venue you would like to apply for (see the applications guide for more details);
  • Whether you would like your show to be considered for one of the suggested categories (see further down this page for more information);
  • Whether you would like your show to be considered for funding by one of our resident companies (see applications guide for more details). Please note that you do not need to worry about funding at the point that you apply for a show;
  • Your availability to give a five-minute pitch;
  • Your availability to conduct a twenty-minute interview to discuss your application further;
  • A 100-word "long" marketing blurb, a 20-word "short" marketing blurb, and a publicity image;
  • Details about how the panel can access the script (whether you decide to email it, provide a link to download, or deliver to the Administration Office prior to the application deadline. Please note that if applicable to your application, a script must be provided for your application to be considered);
  • Any adjustments that you require to the applications process;
  • Details about the applicant so that the ADC can publish anonymised data on the ethnicity, sexuality and disability of successful applicants (this part is entirely optional and any specific data provided will be kept confidential by the Theatre Manager).

Pitching your show

Once you apply with your show, you will be invited to deliver a five-minute pitch.

You can discuss whatever you'd like in your pitch, but if you're not sure what to talk about, we recommend that you provide answers to these questions:

  • Why are you passionate about this show?
  • What ideas do you have about the process of bringing your show to the stage, including any initial ideas for design/direction.
  • How do you want the audience to react to the show?

You may be asked to attend a further interview the following weekend, especially if you have applied for an ADC Mainshow, to talk about your application in more detail. We will give you a small number of questions to prepare in advance.

We usually only invite the applicants for further interview when they apply for the ADC Mainshow slot, so do not worry if you are not invited to a longer interview. Please note that not all ADC Mainshow applications will be asked to attend a further interview. It may be that we are still considering your show for an alternative slot and/or venue.

What to consider before making an applications


The rights-holders of most plays and musicals require you to purchase performing rights before a production can be staged.

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. If you are unsure whether the rights to your show are available, or if you have any questions, please get in touch here.

Please note that many rights agreements do not permit changes to be made to the show's script, period, setting, or characters (including their gender). If you wish to change these aspects within your production you will need to get in touch with the rightsholders in advance to see if this is possible. If you have any questions about this, please contact the Theatre Manager here.

Has the show been staged previously?

We are very 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 put on.

The ADC has an active programme outside of term time and a minority of these shows aren't listed on Camdram. If you are concerned about whether a show has been recently performed, please email us.

Please note that applications for the following shows will not be accepted as the ADC has upcoming productions that are not otherwise listed on our website:

  • Beauty and the Beast (all adaptations)
  • A Christmas Carol (all adaptations)
  • The Winter's Tale by William Shakespeare
  • The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams
  • Pippin by Stephen Schwartz and Roger O. Hirson
  • Amelie: A New Musical by Daniel Messé, Nathan Tysen and Craig Lucas
  • The Watsons by Laura Wade
  • Daddy Long Legs by John Caird and Paul Gordon
  • Jesus Christ Superstar by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber
  • 10 out of 12 by Anne Washburn
  • The Wolves by Sarah Delappe
  • Dungeness by Chris Thompson

Available Slots

These are the slots we will be accepting applications for. More information about these slots can be found in the applications guide.

ADC Mainshows (Tuesday to Saturday at 7.45pm): Weeks 1-7 & LTM weeks 8-9

ADC Lateshows (Wednesday to Saturday at 11pm): Weeks 1-8

ADC One-Night Stands (Tuesday one-off show at 11pm): Weeks 1-8

Corpus Playroom Mainshows (Tuesday to Saturday at 7pm): Weeks 1-8

Corpus Playroom Lateshows (Wednesday to Saturday at 9.30pm): Weeks 1-8

Corpus Playroom One-Night Stands (Tuesday one-off show at 9.30pm): Weeks 1-8

ADC Bar Show (Sunday or Monday at 8pm): Weeks 1-8

ADC Larkum Studio Show (Wednesday to Saturday at 8pm): Weeks 1-2 & 4-7

Suggested Categories

Each term, the ADC show selection panel provides suggested categories that we would be keen to see applications for, in order to broader our season.

We emphasise that you can apply with any play and that the below categories only serve to act as a guide. If we do not receive any applications for a category, or if all applications in a category are not of sufficient quality the panel will revert to selecting from the open applications field to fill the slots. In all cases the quality of submissions will continue to be the guiding principle in show selection.

The show categories for Lent 2025 will be announced in September.


During the application process you will be asked to answer a number of questions pertaining to the marketing and web listing of your show were it to be programmed, including a marketing blurb, image, content notices and age suitability. This is because due to the tight turn around for season programming, at the point the season has been confirmed, all of the season marketing materials (including the brochure) are compiled and we start to upload key information to our website.

If your show is programmed, you will have a short window to suggest changes to any of these prior to publication by the Theatre.

When determining an age recommendation for your show, you should consider the following matrix:

Does your show contain?

All Ages
  • Infrequent mild, bad language;
  • Mild sexual behaviour (e.g. kissing);
  • Brief unsettling sequences;
  • Mild violence (depending on context).
  • Potentially dangerous behaviour;
  • Mild discriminatory language or behaviour (provided such language or behaviour is disapproved of);
  • Mild references to drug use/misuse;
  • Mild, bad language;
  • Non-sexual, partial nudity;
  • Mild sexual references or innuendo;
  • Infrequent and discreet implications of sexual activity;
  • Brief moments of threat or horror;
  • Non-detailed moderate violence justified by historical/comedic context.
  • Infrequent drug misuse;
  • Moderate bad language;
  • Brief nudity;
  • Moderate sexual references;
  • Moderate threat and/or horror;
  • Moderate violence.
  • Depiction of dangerous behaviour;
  • Discriminatory language or behaviour;
  • Drug or dangerous substance misuse;
  • Very strong language;
  • Non-sexual nudity;
  • References to sexual activity;
  • Masked depictions of moderate sexual activity;
  • Non-graphic or veiled depiction of sexual violence or threat;
  • Threat and/or horror;
  • Strong violence.
  • Frequent/extensive very strong language;
  • Detailed portrayal of violence, dangerous behaviour or illegal/immoral activity, especially when such behaviour is portrayed as pleasurable/sadistic;
  • Endorsement of discrimination;
  • Graphic depicted sexual activity or sexual nudity;
  • Graphic depiction of sexual violence or threat;
  • A performance which may encourage or motivate the consumption of alcohol by audience members (e.g. late-night comedy).

For clarification on any of the above, please speak to the Production Manager.

Other Information

You can apply with more than one production, or for more than one venue or slot. You should be aware, however, that spreading yourself too thinly can weaken all your applications: we are interested in a passion for a specific production rather than a general desire to stage something.

We are committed to open auditions and applications for cast and crew positions. If you are applying with a show that has been pre-cast, or has filled all of its major crew positions, please consider that this could be detrimental to your application.

We are only accepting electronic applications via the Google Form found above. Please get in touch here if you experience any technical issues.

There is a space on the application form to mention any adjustments that you require for the pitching process. Please note down if you would prefer to have more time in an interview, or any other adjustments.

Access information for our venues can be found here. Of note is the fact that the ADC Theatre is a fully accessible space, and that the Corpus Playroom is regrettably not wheelchair accessible.

We are only able to programme student productions during University term time. If you would like to enquire about other hire opportunities, please visit our website here.

Protected Characteristics

The ADC Management team publishes anonymised data on how many show applicants fall under certain protected characteristics including ethnicity, sexuality and disability, and how many of these applicants successfully had a show programmed. This data is collected as part of the show application process and is entirely optional for candidates to complete.

For the Michaelmas 2024, Easter 2024 and Lent 2024 application rounds, we received a total of 195 applications, with an average acceptance rate of 56%. This varies depending on the season, venue and type of show applied for (e.g. ADC Mainshows and Musicals tend to be our most competitive slots). The below does not include applications for the CUADC/Footlights Pantomime 2024, for which demographic data was not collected.

The University of Cambridge publishes anonymised equality and diversity data every year, with the latest report being published for the 2022 admissions cycle. Students with a disclosed disability comprised 10.5% of all undergraduates. Students from a BAME background who disclosed their ethnicity made up 34.2% of all undergraduates. In 2022, the University of Cambridge did not report on student numbers by sexual orientation.