Theatre loses its stars – and wants YOU to get stuck in

You might actually want to read this

ADC Cambridge Reviews Tab Theatre

Ahead of Cambridge’s most exciting theatre season, The Tab introduces some cheeky changes to spice things up. We explain why…

The dawn of a new term brings with it new Tab editors: we, Will Popplewell and Constance Chapman, are taking the reins. We’re keen to get going but we know regular handovers result in inconsistency. We have often heard complaints of friends that reviews were unfair, subjective and – again – inconsistent.

In the ‘Real World’ (yes, it’s out there) newspapers have regular reviewers. This way, the reader builds a rapport with them and begins to understand their likes and dislikes and trust their opinions. Since we are all full time students and cover between four and six plays a week, it is impossible to have just one reviewer. So we’ve decided to shake up the area that seems to cause the most problems: the star ratings.

Stop trying to makes stars happen. Stars are not going to happen.

For too long the star system has been more misleading than helpful since it is too crude a measure and too vulnerable to subjectivity. We are replacing it with – wait for it – a ‘class system’ based upon the marking scheme used across UK universities.

We will rate a show out of 100, corresponding to an equivalent class, such as: “57, 2:2”. The idea is to give reviewers more freedom to reserve the highest and lowest ratings for truly special instances, and establish clearer distinctions in the middle ground, between a high and a low 2:1 for example. This is radical, bizarre and may even ruffle a few feathers. But hey, this is The Tab.

Would you give this lighting design a 2:1?

 Some of the best talent in Cambridge theatre is overlooked in the student press so we’ll get the low-down from techies about what they do for the average (or extraordinary) Cambridge show.

Along with the jargon most seasoned ADC goers find boggling, we hope to uncover some interesting stories: why do all techies drink beer and what exactly ‘goes on’ in the ADC clubroom? (We’ve all heard the rumours.)

What will ‘grace your stage’ this term?

We need you. No matter what your level of experience or possible commitment, come to us and get involved. We’ve brought in a load of keen new freshers, and we’re working with a system which pairs inexperienced writers with other reviewers so you won’t be out of your depth.

Reviewing is a great way to get into all sorts of things. PLUS you’ll see a wider range of shows than you would otherwise consider paying for (they’re free).

Get in touch. You won’t regret it.  [email protected]

If anyone producing a show needs the traditional star rating for taking the shows out of Cambridge and beyond, just drop our Theatre Editors a line and it can all be nicely sorted for you. Aren’t we kind?