The ADC aims to programme seasons of student drama that are diverse, entertaining and exciting. We welcome applications from any student or student group, regardless of experience. All that is required to apply is a creative idea and the passion to see it through.
The ADC seeks to appeal to the widest range of audiences and our programme is central to this. As such, we encourage applications from the general canon of established playwrights, from forgotten or neglected classics through to works from modern playwrights and works of new writing.
The ADC values the continued passion and support of its students and audiences. We are constantly amazed by the quality of theatre our students present and want to continue offering a wide range of theatrical opportunities. From the ancient Greeks to ground-breaking modern dramas, seasoned classics to new writing, we want to see it all!
Alongside the usual open applications, the selection panel will be looking to programme a few plays per term drawn from applications in pre-determined categories. These categories serve to broaden our season. You can find out what these are for the current applications session by visiting adctheatre.com/applications or by emailing here.
We emphasise that you can apply with any play and that the pre-determined 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 selection panel is made up of six people:
- The Manager of the ADC Theatre and one other member of the Management Team;
- The President of the Cambridge University Amateur Dramatic Club and one other member of the student Committee;
- A Representative from the Fletcher Players.
If you are pitching a musical, the panel will also include a representative from the Cambridge University Musical Theatre Society.
If you are pitching a comedy show, the panel will also include a representative from the Cambridge Footlights.
What to consider before making an application
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 whether amateur performance rights are available.
At the pitching stage you will be asked to confirm whether you have looked into the rights for your production.
If you are unsure whether the rights to your show are available, or if you have any questions, please get in touch here. It is unlikely that the rights would be available for a show which is either: about to have a significant professional run/currently has a professional run/has recently had a professional run, a show which has not yet had a West End transfer, or a show which has been written/published very recently.
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.
Has the show been staged previously?
We are very unlikely to programme a show which has been on at the ADC Theatre already in the last 5 years. Please check camdram.net 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 are not on listed Camdram. If you are concerned about whether a show has been recently performed, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The ADC Theatre is always supportive of new writing, and we often programme a number of original plays/musicals at the Corpus Playroom each term. Evidence of script development is often required during the application stage before a piece of new writing will be considered for a full week-long run. Less developed scripts can be pitched as a rehearsed reading in the Larkum Studio.
Opportunities for script development include Marlowe's HATCH night or the Fletcher Players' Smorgasbord event every term. We would also encourage you to gather feedback from your peers or try workshopping / a table-read.
It is very unlikely that we will programme new writing in the ADC Mainshow slot without considerable evidence of script development.
Applying to put on a show is a three-stage process.
Stage One – Online Application
The first stage of the process is for you to fill out the online application form which is submitted to the selection panel for review.
Stage Two – Pitch
The second stage gives you the opportunity to tell us more about why we should programme your show.
Applicants will be invited to deliver a 5-minute pitch to explain their application in further detail. 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? (If applying as Director)
- 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?
If applicable, you will be asked to bring a copy of the script at this stage to leave with the selection panel for the duration of the application round. Please note that for new writing we would expect a completed draft of the whole script. However, if you are applying as a director and intending to devise or part-devise the show, a completed script is not necessary but we will need you to explain why you have chosen to create the show in this way.
The pitching stage is intended to be about your core ideas, so don't bring along budgets, technical drawings or poster designs: we want to hear about why you want to do the show, and why it should be staged at the ADC or Corpus Playroom.
Stage Three – Interview (optional)
The third stage varies depending on the applications we receive.
You may be asked to come along to a longer interview the following weekend and we will give you a small number of questions to prepare in advance. This is your opportunity to flesh out your idea in more detail, as well as answer any specific questions we may have about your application.
We do not interview all the applicants who end up getting programmed, so don't worry if you are not invited to a longer interview.
Venues and Slots
We programme shows at the ADC Theatre, ADC Bar, ADC Larkum Studio and Corpus Playroom. Please be aware that the venues and slots available are very different and shows which work artistically in one venue or slot may be less suited to another, so bear this in mind when choosing which venue and slot to apply for.
The ADC Theatre is a large proscenium arch theatre, with a 6.5m wide x 10m deep stage. It can seat a maximum of 228 people. It has a good amount of technical capability when it comes to lighting, sound and set, with specifications being available here.
The Corpus Playroom is an L-shaped studio space, with a square stage that is 4m x 5m in size. It can seat a maximum of 80 people. It has fewer technical capabilities than the ADC Theatre, with specifications being available here.
The Larkum Studio is a small but flexible studio space in the ADC Theatre. We tend not to programme more than one or two shows in here per term.
The ADC Bar seats 40 people and has a small cabaret style stage.
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.
ADC Theatre Mainshow: Tue - Sat, 7.45pm, max running time 2hr 30 mins (inc interval)
This is the 'biggest' slot in terms of ambition, cast and crew size, budget and audience numbers. Our mainshow audiences are 50% students, 50% non-students, so we generally programme shows in this slot which will appeal to the wider Cambridge community.
ADC Theatre Lateshow: Wed - Fri, 11pm, max running time 1hr 15 mins
This slot is aimed more at our student audience, who come to late night theatre. We often programme comedy or variety shows in this slot.
ADC Theatre One-Night Stand: Tue, 11pm, max running time 1hr 15 mins
This slot is similar to the ADC Lateshow slot, but lasts for only one night. An ADC One-Night Stand typically receives a very small amount of tech time so you probably want to apply with a show that isn’t too complex.
Playroom Mainshow: Tue - Sat, 7pm, max running time 2 hr
Like the ADC Mainshow, the Playroom Mainshow appeals to our local town audience as well as our student audience. It can have a short interval if required.
Playroom Lateshow: Wed - Sat, 9.30pm, max running time 1hr 15
The Playroom Lateshow is the ideal slot for new student writing and also for comedy and musical shows which are on a smaller scale than the ADC Theatre or have a more niche appeal.
Playroom One-Night Stand: Tue, 9.30pm, max running time 1 hr 15
This slot is similar to the Playroom Lateshow slot, but only one night.
Larkum / Bar Shows: flexible days and times depending on the application
These two intimate spaces are best for small shows aimed at a small number of audience members (40 people maximum).
Papercuts: flexible days and times depending on the application
Papercuts is our rehearsed reading programme. We believe that the best way to help writers and their work develop is to get the script on its feet and spoken.
Have a look at the what's on pages to have a look at the shows we have programmed this season and get in touch if you have any questions about which slots would suit your show.
It is possible to apply for funding from one of the student companies based in the ADC Theatre and Corpus Playroom.
Performance slots and funding are separate things: your production may be offered a slot at one of our venues, but not funding from one of the companies below. In that case there are numerous other Cambridge student drama societies who will fund your show. Don’t worry about funding at the time that you make a show application, that process can come later.
Cambridge University Amateur Dramatic Club (CUADC)
The Cambridge University Amateur Dramatic Club is the oldest and largest student drama society in Cambridge. As well as being the main production company at the Theatre, the CUADC are at the centre of student dramatic activity in Cambridge, running workshops and encouraging participation in theatre.
They present a varied programme of Mainshows and Lateshows at the ADC Theatre each season. They offer their productions assistance and support and are committed to holding open applications and auditions.
The Fletcher Players are the resident company at the Corpus Playroom, and the drama society of Corpus Christi College. Their productions showcase new writing, traditional classics, comedy, cutting-edge political drama and occasionally dance.
Cambridge University Musical Theatre Society (CUMTS)
Founded in 1998, Cambridge University Musical Theatre Society has been behind some of the very best musical theatre taking place in Cambridge, presenting a wide variety of shows a year and providing opportunities for all musical enthusiasts - from actors to technicians -to work on high-quality and enjoyable musical theatre productions.
Bread Theatre and Film Company
Founded in 2019, BREAD is a Cambridge-based theatre and film company dedicated to support minority voices, narratives and artists.
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.
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.