Behind the scenes of Cambridget Jones

Watch out ADC, I’ll be making my debut soon!

The year is 2019, the day before my 15th birthday, and I’m watching Bridget Jones’ Diary for the first time with my mum. The frazzled English woman style took hold of me in that moment, and I decided I was going to be Bridget Jones (I even received the Colin Firth cardboard for my 16th birthday, thanks Grandma and Grandad!).

Fast forward to January 2024, and I have been cast as Cambridget Jones, in the Medwards play, Cambridget Jones’ Diary.

I sat down with members of the cast and asked their thoughts.

When asking Britt Dewing, our director, how directing has been alongside her degree. She said that “as a Nat Sci, it has been tough to fit everything in”. She is prioritising her well-being, the play and her degree, but finds that the play has been so much fun, that she ‘wouldn’t change anything’ about how she spent her time.

When I auditioned for the play, it was Britt herself who was playing Cambridget. I asked her how important directing was for her, to step down as lead of the play. Britt says she “love(s) watching the play come together- that’s my favourite part of directing”. As an actress, it was more difficult to “get a good overview of the play, so (she) couldn’t effectively coordinate all these brilliant ideas”.

Despite the show being rehearsed during Michaelmas, I didn’t decide to take part until a few days before New Year’s Eve, and I was cast as Cambridget in early January. I asked Britt if this was worrying, but she “wasn’t even considering recasting the role” until she met me. She thought it was “the right thing to do for the play” and herself.

Stella Wilkinson plays the dreamy Mr Fitzwilliam (Will) Darcy, and I’m sure the audience will be leaving with a bit of a crush. For Stella, the audition process, which was their first time auditioning for a play at university, was “nice and relaxed”. “We read extracts from the film and did some improv with the lines, including things like “do your best impression of a Cambridge posh boy”.

Stella was also involved in scriptwriting, which helped to make her character “more relatable”. As a result, Will Darcy has become the “best character” for her, and Stella is “looking forward to playing him”.

This play will have you in stitches with its witty humour and comedic timing, and for Stella, I asked what their favourite part of the play has been: “the dance scene is fun to perform” and hopefully make the audience laugh and have a good time. I agree, this is what makes the show so worth it. And, for Stella, “every moment has been a joy”.

Despite this being Stella’s first time in a play at Cambridge, I certainly hope it isn’t her last; she embodies this “good soul, who is a bit of a heartthrob” perfectly, and I’m sure the audience will love the performance.

I asked Katherine, our producer, what was the inspiration for Cambridget Jones, and she said “the play had a dramatic birth story, in which Britt and I joked about it one evening, then both woke up with the conviction to make it a reality. Some may call it divine intervention. Really, we were inspired by the friendly atmosphere of Medwards to make an equally joyful play for the very talented students here (if I may say so).”

Tickets for the show can be found here. The show takes place Saturday 3rd February and Sunday 4th February, and all the money goes to breast cancer charities! It will be the funniest hour of your life (unbiased opinion, of course).

And in the words of Katherine, “if you’ve ever embarrassed yourself in front of a crowd, accidentally insulted your crush, dad-danced in Revs, wished cold bloody revenge on that one ex, or don’t have anywhere else to be this weekend, then this is definitely the show for you”.

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