Don’t listen to lies about the ADC

Accusing the ADC of bitchiness is just lazy stereotyping

actors ADC Cambridge Corpus Corpus Playroom directors Drama Guys and Dolls Homerton magdelene Musicals plays stereotypes techies Theatre thespians Thesps

Let’s not beat about the bush. Between us, we’ve spent a lot of time at the ADC over the last couple of years. Just to clarify – we’re certainly not getting naked at the afterparties.

So we were surprised after reading ‘Thespia Marlowe’s’ recent piece on the ‘insufferable theatre scene’ in Cambridge. Our experience of it could not be more different.

From our perspective as both ‘thesps’ and ‘journalists’, the article was utterly misguided.

We have never experienced any backbiting gossip, animosity between techies and actors or unscripted self-conscious nudity.

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Yay friends

We’ve been able to perform in plenty of great shows and meet absolutely wonderful people. It’s a cliché, but we’ve made friends for life at the ADC. And these have been, yes, fellow cast members, but also techies, the backstage team, and people who work in the theatre.

Were not trying to prove we’re ‘ADC BNOCs’, because to do so would be ludicrous and we’d be laughed out of the bar. But we do value the meaningful relationships we’ve established with some wonderful people.

To write such a vehement diatribe seems blatantly aggressive. Perhaps ‘Thespia’ has been treated badly in the context of the ADC, which is genuinely saddening. But that still doesn’t warrant attacking hundreds of students en-masse, who have done nothing more than enjoy themselves at the theatre.

Those of us who are involved with musicals, which the article condescendingly labels as ‘cute’, feel equally targeted. The reality is that everyone at the ADC mucks in together, and the article essentially lambasted us all.

#loveguysanddolls #justiceforguysanddolls

#loveguysanddolls #justiceforguysanddolls

No student society is perfect. We’ve all heard the tales of self-important Union hacks and annoying drinking society lads and yes, pretentious ADC thesps.

The tribal response of ‘the ADC crowd’ to the article might suggest that the author has a point; 70+ comments in a few hours is no mean feat. But this is not a clique coming together to defend its inner circle.

Rather than getting annoyed or defensive, most people are worried that others do actually experience this kind of thing at the ADC.

We cannot just dismiss legitimate concerns because they make us uncomfortable. If people feel excluded or think that the ADC insufferable, we need to take a look at ourselves and ask are we really doing all we can to welcome people and make them feel at home?

(credit: Johannes Hjorth)

Apparently we’re ‘rather sweet'(credit: Johannes Hjorth)

There are always going to be some people who are unkind, lazy or narcissistic. They might take themselves too seriously or seem cold and unfriendly to newcomers.

These are the kind of people whose response to criticism of the ADC is “you’re just bitter cause you didn’t get a part” or “if you don’t like it, get out”.

One sore point of the article was when the author called out on some bitching she had overheard in the dressing room. This led inevitably to names being bandied about in the comments which wasn’t fair to the individual in question: whoever speculated on it wasn’t nice, and didn’t help matters.

For a lot of people in Cambridge, theatre can feel like a bit of a closed shop. There is a widely perceived problem of nepotism and cliquey behaviour that may put students off going to auditions in the first place.

Nepotism can be hugely disheartening for students. But we’d like to assure any potential actors out there that by no means does this happen everywhere, it is not typical and there are always roles for people who want them.

They might not be in an ADC mainshow but ADC mainshows are not the be all and end all.

Wonderful and poignant productions are constantly going on in venues such as Corpus Playroom, Pembroke New Cellars and Homerton Auditorium and often productions in these venues struggle to find full casts.

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We won’t bite (Credit: Johannes Hjorth)

So please, do not be disheartened by the false perception that you have to know the right people to get a part in a play in Cambridge. The only way you can be sure you won’t get the part is if you don’t audition in the first place.

The ADC might be far from utopia. But please don’t be put off by the stereotype, come and audition for something, apply to be a stage manager, design a publicity poster, pitch a show that you’d love to see put on. Get involved, because you’re welcome here.

It’s that article and venom like it that contribute to the ‘bitchiness of the ADC, rather than the reality.