So you think you’re stressed?

WILL KENNAWAY investigates the students who dare to mix revision with line-learning.

acting ADC ARGH Corpus directing director english students Exams mainshow revision stress

Anxious about astrophysics? Stressed about Saussure?  Worried about Wittgenstein?  Imagine having to revise these while also learning lines for an ADC or Corpus main show.  The Tab talks to the strange kind of person that tries to do just that so you don’t have to.

While English students involved in The Tempest the other week were probably grateful for the opportunity to get some quotes under their belts, not everyone is lucky enough to be involved in a show directly to related to their degree:



Henry Wilkinson, director, Whatever Happened to the Lead?

Whatever Happened To The Lead is my baby, and, as one might imagine, raising a baby in exam term is bloody difficult.  But it’s definitely been worth it. Like a super-enthusiastic parent, I’m overjoyed to see my child flourish into such a wonderful thing.

Marthe de Ferrer, co-director, A Clockwork Orange

Exams and theatre don’t seem like the ideal combination on the surface, but with the right organisation it can be surprisingly manageable and rewarding. Having done a bit of theatre since starting at Cambridge, it’s been this term that I’ve taken on some of my biggest challenges – producing two shows, and directing an ADC main show. Admittedly, my first exam coinciding with show week of Clockwork was less than ideal, but rehearsals have been so much fun – it’s almost like a three or four hour break where I get to play stupid games and be ridiculous with absolutely wonderful people. If I structure revision around rehearsals, it seems to work well – I want to rehearse, so I force myself to complete revision tasks.

Realistically, I won’t take on shows this close to exams in my second or third years, but in a year where my grades don’t count, what I’ve gained from the ADC in terms of experience and friendships has made it all totally worthwhile.

“When we’re not in a current scene, we’ve always got our books open on our laps!”

Natasha Cutler, ‘Elizabeth Fontane’, Whatever Happened to the Lead?

The balance has actually been incredible – we’ve all been early on essay deadlines. We’re planning on doing revision groups before and after each performance. We even went for a 6am cast jog this morning to boost our spirits! Really, we’re all incredibly well balanced individuals who have definitely not taken on too much this term.

Eleanor Colville, ‘Katherine Davies’, Whatever Happened to the Lead?

It’s a comedy, but the show’s got a subtle edge of tragedy too, since you know each of these actors are potentially failing their degrees – there’s clearly pathos there.



Perhaps next time you’re whining in the college bar about how much work you have to do, give these guys a thought.

A Clockwork Orange is on until Saturday at 7.45pm, ADC Theatre; student tickets are £9.  

Whatever Happened to the Lead? is on until Saturday at 7pm, Corpus Playroom; student tickets for this show are £5.