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How to spot a thesp

In case you’d ever miss one…

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I am about to tell you something shocking. Cambridge is full, and I mean teeming, with…. wait for it… thesps. *hundreds of teacups clatter to the floor in pure stupefaction*

And I’m not talking about the self-respecting X-rated kind either. Oh no. I mean the poncy, Shakespeare- reciting, Fringe-going typical thesp. Said thesps roam our streets freely and unobserved. Here’s your go-to guide to exposing all theatre enthusiasts to the world, because their subtle ways can fool even the most seasoned of thesp-hunters…

Understated reminders
A thesp will incessantly emit VERY SUBTLE self-congratulatory phrases at short intervals. A few examples: ‘the play I’m in this week’, ‘last year at the Fringe’, or ‘yah I’m soooo shattered after the get out last night’. Listen in for these subtle verbal cues and, with a little luck, you’ll have caught yourself a thesp.

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Didn't you know I do theatre?

Rather ironically, costume
As much as they might try to remain unobserved, a thesp’s attire is one of the key giveaways. Needless to say, wavy garms are compulsory thespian apparel. A true thesp will never be able to conceal their true thespish identity. Those *vibes* will ooze right down from their eccentric shirts to their flared velvet trousers. You’re fooling no-one, honey.

Top tip: the indigenous thesp will make a point of wearing mismatched socks and the most impractical footwear conceivable in the soggiest of Januaries out of integrity to their species.


A certain thesp I am *cough* closely acquainted with was once accused of ‘excessive verbosity’ by their supervisor. And this was an English supervisor. Deduct what you will from this and apply this piece of information to your search for the dreaded thesp among the most loquacious of your acquaintances. Naming no names. Or anything.

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Coming from an English supervisor, ouch

The network
They know everybody. If your new date greets every second person on the street with a demonstratively theatrical embrace and squeal, I’m afraid it’s very likely that you’ve landed yourself a dreaded thesp.
Just back away slowly, and, with a bit of luck, your vocabulary (and fashion sense) will remain uncontaminated. If all else fails, distract them with a couple of tongue twisters, works every time.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the thesp species will conglomerate in dimly lit, claustrophobic rooms known by the intimate community as theatres. Here they marinate in one another’s ingenuity before proceeding to share their enthralment with one another’s unadulterated talent in the ADC bar. Therefore, if in search of a thesp, your best bet is to go undercover in your wackiest get out and most Shakespearean of swaggers to said locations.

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So much thespiness concentrated into one room…

Field of expertise
A thesp will probably do a ridiculous subject like, god forbid, English, or something equally poncy but infinitely less demanding (such as History). Having said that, Natsci thesps have been known to appear, though they are widely acknowledged to be a rare species.

Profile picture
You may have difficulties spotting the infamous breed among the myriad of profiles on Facebook. Never fear, I am here to guide you, my oblivious protégé. You may initially overlook your friend Emma’s new profile picture (in which that *edgy* faded filter, tactical lighting, name of the show and her role in it are superimposed) as your everyday undistinguished individual’s profile picture. I am here to advise you to look twice. There is a chance, merely a chance, however, that this individual may, at their heart of hearts, be a thesp. *cue scandalised gasp*

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Oops! Nearly slipped through the net!

Once again, subtlety

My final pearl of wisdom in this treacherous mission of hunting down a thesp is to always look beneath the surface. Despite being the masters of disguise, with a little effort and discernment, thesps can be found.

Seriously, look out, they’re insidious, infiltrating your lecture theatres, your streets, Facebook and maybe even The Tab…