The ADC set is the most insufferable scene in Cambridge

Our ADC insider dishes the dirt

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Seriously, I’d rather sit through an hour with the Pitt Club, three dozen Johnians, a gaggle of Union hacks, the entire right-wing brigade, and the most militant of WU-ites. ANYONE. ANYONE BUT THE BLOODY THESPS.

The story at the ADC is so fraught with insufferable, self-involved characters it’s a joke. Except to them, its not a joke. It’s deadly serious.

It’s drama, and they’re going to be famous one day. Hate to break it to you mate, but you’re probably not going to be the next Eddie Redmayne.

The ADC bar: the rotting core of the Cambridge theatre scene

Go into any dressing room and you’ll hear the whisperings. ‘She thinks she’s so great. I tried to like her, I really did. We did a show together. But she’s just not that talented.’Seriously, who the fuck do you think you are?

Generally, if you have talent, you are not especially well-liked – at least not by the other actors. And if you’re supremely talentless you’re constantly told ‘I love you, you are fantastic, you are wonderful, you’re going to be wonderful.’ Retch.

There is an absurdly competitive sense of ownership of the theatre itself. Everyone likes to make out that they know everyone, from the bartenders to the stewards to the lady who cleans the bogs. ‘Hi Gladys!’ They’ll trill. ‘How are you! How’s your son!’

Darling hellooooo

There is a huge divide, however, between the tecchies and the actors. The actors think the tecchies are all grumpy sods. Let me fill you in: after every ADC mainshow run finishes there is the dreaded ‘get-out’ when everyone has to muck in and clear up.

The actors loathe the get-out. They are too good for the get-out. They are artists, they are going to be famous one day, ‘this doesn’t happen in the West End’ (um, love, you’re not actually in the West End, you’re in an Am Dram Club, clue’s in the name), they shouldn’t have to dismantle sets and piss about laundering costumes. Naturally, the tecchies think the actors are melodramatic unhelpful shits.

Backstage is where the real drama happens

Following the get-out, there is the aftershow. It’s a strange bacchanal in the sense that people often get naked, but they do it in such a self conscious, studied way, that its not really a bacchanal. It’s just kind of awkward. Also, their naked bodies are invariably still smeared with warpaint or fake blood or flour or whatever was used in the play – grim.

Even the fun is serious. You’ve got to have seriously good fun, rather than just fun, to release all that fizzing creative energy.

The smug display of satisfaction at the ADC bar every night is nothing short of intolerable. By the way, I’m not really talking about the comedy scene – that’s a tale for another day, children – and the musical crowd, well, they’re rather sweet, aren’t they.


The true thesps don’t consider themselves of the same ilk as the glee gang anyway. If the inevitable question comes ‘so what are you in’ and you reply ‘Guys and Dolls’ or whatever they’ll just smile crisply and say, ‘lovely’, before snorting with laughter behind your back and sucking down more cocktails of the week.

Yes, yes, we all know the ADC is a cliquey hotbed of nepotism, but it’s also just saturated with sheer boundless narcissism.

 It’s an institution so enamoured with its own talent (or lack thereof) that it can’t bear to acknowledge how wanky it truly is.