- March 2020
The story of the Briton who defended human free will against the idea of original sin as the Roman empire collapsed.
Tried for heresy three times and acquitted three times, Pelagius was then condemned as a result of corruption. This is the story of the lie that saw him condemned, and the mix of religion and politics as the world fell apart that installed original sin as orthodoxy in the west.
- March 2020
"The bonds of heaven are slipp'd, dissolved, and loosed."
Seven years into the Trojan War, the two sides are at a stalemate. Dissent is growing in the Greek camp, prompted by the hero Achilles' refusal to fight. Within Troy, King Priam and his generals are beginning to wonder whether keeping Helen - the Spartan queen who has eloped with Trojan prince Paris - is worth the toll the conflict is taking. Against this backdrop, two young Trojans, Troilus and Cressida, are taking tentative steps towards romance, aided by Cressida's boorish uncle Pandarus. Will they be able to carve out a place for their fledgling love amidst the violence and bloodshed, or will, as the clown Thersites puts it, 'war and lechery confound all'?
This production will be accompanied by a symposium bringing together professional theatre practitioners and literary academics to discuss Shakespeare’s play on the page and on the stage. More details to follow.
- February 2020
"Let me give you some advice. Number one - never mix music with politics..."
Alexander Ivanov is imprisoned in a Soviet mental hospital for statements against the government. He shares a cell with another Ivanov, who believes himself to be a conductor with a symphony orchestra under his command. Alexander's son Sacha is in a classroom with a teacher convinced of the genuineness of his father's illness, whilst inside the hospital, a doctor attempts to cure his patients by setting them lines. Ivanov's imaginary orchestra, on stage with the actors, surrounds them all, filling the spaces between their truths with music...
In this rarely performed one-act play with live music, playwright Tom Stoppard and composer André Previn interweave six actors and a chamber orchestra to create a strange and compelling world of authority, artistry and madness.
- November–December 2019
"And still this need to be watched, to be awed, to be loved in each second, and feel my throat close with that need, my heart ache with that need, my stomach sour, my brain tear with that need".
A silent caretaker stands alone in a hotel. This is the location an English couple have chosen to meet with an Irish Woman, offering her an unnamed service. Over the course of the night, each of them must face what they fear. As the music envelopes all, not everyone will live through the night.
A show combining theatre and opera, Donnacha Dennehy and Enda Walsh's 'The Last Hotel' is a poignant and visceral exploration of love and death in modern day capitalist society. Two of Ireland's leading artists, Walsh (multi-award winning playwright, screenwriter and Tony Award winner in 2012 for the book of the musical 'Once' ) and Dennehy (founder of the Crash ensemble and renowned composer) create a truly breathtaking work that reaches the heights of what modern opera can achieve.
"And death falls to the floor - and with new skin - take to the stars. Rise above and float. Disappear into the ether. Past withers. Space eases me to rest. No eyes on me, no words to hear - just this floating. This forgetting. This beginning. This new".
CWs: Depiction of Suicide; Mental Health; Scenes of Violence.
- March 2019
“From ancient grudge break to new mutiny”
Juliet is deciding whether she wants to marry her parents’ idea of the ‘perfect Muslim husband’. Meanwhile, Romeo sits in the local chicken shop with his friends, who are trying to convince him to move on from the girl he thought was ‘the one’. Their summers pass in a blur of parties, violence and love, but they ultimately cannot avoid the roles they are expected to play.
Incorporating the experiences of its all-BME cast and production team, this contemporary adaptation updates Shakespeare’s classic tragedy to explore minority experiences.
- November 2018
“You do not avenge crimes unless you surpass them.”
“Scelera non ulcisceris nisi vincis.”
Thyestes and Atreus are twin brothers, kings of Argos.
His lands stolen, his wife seduced, cast out from his home, Atreus swears bloody vengeance on his brother. Now once again ruler of his land, he is determined to exact such revenge on Thyestes that the sun will avert its gaze, the stars will fall from the sky and people will talk of the horror forever after.
Inspired by the well-established Cambridge Greek Play, the very first Cambridge Latin Play will stage one of the most violent and heart-breaking tales from the Classical world. Exploring vengeance and pity, families and kingdoms, passion and desire, it lays bare man’s cruellest and most base instincts, culminating in a grotesque finale of cannibalism.
No less relevant or brilliant than Greek drama, Latin theatre has been sadly underrepresented – this production will bring to life not only the text but the language too, performed in Latin with English subtitles.
- November 2018
“It’s been there two weeks.
Just sitting there.
In the middle of the pavement…”
Matthew is painfully average.
He lives in a featureless room in a high-rise flat. He has a job he doesn’t understand, neighbours he can hear through paper-thin walls and a little brother awaiting execution for murder.
But none of that matters to Matthew. He's too busy panicking over a table that has appeared on the street outside. No one will touch it. No one will take it away.
And he just can't understand why it's there.
I Need You To Be Quiet Now is an ambitious one-man show exploring obsession and the conversations we try to avoid.
- June 2018
The year is 1968 and the British legal system is as corrupt as ever. The breach of promise of marriage law is still technically in force and Juries remain predominantly male. The arrogant Edwin has been summoned to Court by his ex-fiancée, Angelina, under said law, and against each other they fight to win the trial! Complete with a dodgy Judge, a questionable jury and some dubious decisions, chaos inevitably ensues...
‘Trial by Jury’ is a one act operatic satire of the Victorian British legal system, which will be brought into the 60’s in our exciting rendition of this production!
- May 2018
Artist. Prisoner. Murderer. Genius.
Locked up in Bedlam asylum for the vicious murder of his father, Richard Dadd is a shell of a man who has abandoned his painting. The arrival of an ambitious doctor and a strange new patient called Jane lead him out of his silence and into a world of dreams, fairies and madness. Dadd begins to paint again – but what buried horrors could it awaken in his mind?
Based on the life of an extraordinary artist, Master-Stroke tells a story of art and obsession, of people caught in the most alienating and dehumanising of circumstances. It is a meeting of fantasy and reality at a time of changing perceptions of art, illness and gender, a story of possession by devils and other forces outside our control.
- March 2018
This play offers a striking and, at some moments, humorous social commentary on pre, during, and post Civil War Spain under Franco.
We follow the lives of four families across three generations living in the same apartment block, and watch as they encounter each other on the landing outside their apartments. Vallejo offers us the all the archetypal characters necessary for a Spanish drama. The gossiping spinsters, the ideological Urbano, the idealist Fernando, wealthy Elvira, and beautiful Carmina, and many more. There's love, there's heartbreak, there's death, there's tragedy, and there's joy. Join us for this whirlwind production!
- February 2018
"Such a mad marriage never was before." (III.ii)
This Lent Term for TWO NIGHTS ONLY we will be returning with a BME production of The Taming Of The Shrew! Think fiery, fusion, and full of life as we attempt to traverse one of Shakespeare's most problematic comedies. This will be a diverse and interactive BME production truly built around its cast, crew, and communities. Join us, as we present the play as it has never been seen before!
CN: This play explores themes of domestic abuse which some may find upsetting.
- February 2018
“When Charlie, a young executive, reaches breaking point and decides to disappear, they pay a visit to a master of the craft in a seafront fortune teller’s in Southend. Haunted by visitations from a pathologist who swears Charlie is already lying flat out on their slab, Charlie begins a nightmarish journey to the edge of existence that sees them stripped of everything that made them who they were.”
- February 2018
‘I was happy, very happy. But I needed to come down to earth. The Fringe is over.’
Three actors, a director and a producer emerge from the last night of their show at the Edinburgh Fringe, worn out by their performance and each other. Now they only need to transport their one piece of set, a sofa, from the pavement on the Royal Mile back to their accommodation. But hiring a van on the final evening of the Fringe proves no easy matter, and so, to avoid prosecution for ‘littering on a major scale’, the group must stay on the street with each other, the experiences of the past month, and the sofa they never want to see again.
Sofa on the Mile is a sharp new tragicomedy about youth, hurt and endings, about the things that are gone by morning, and the things that refuse to be left behind.
- February 2018
Are there any cynics in paradise?
When two brothers join a cult, things turn for the worse as Michael and Liam question their mortality, their faith and whether or not they can trust each other.
The pater familias has his own suspicious intentions, the outcast is ostracized yet untouchable and the remainder of the denomination ring out their doctrine in unison.
The Road to Nowhere is Alfred Leigh's debut play, promising to be an irreverent ideological examination.
'Darkly Seductive' - Varsity ★★★★
- January 2018
Seven people, two houses, one street, one terrible moment. How many ways are there to see the ordinary?
Relaxed Theatre Company, the world's first company to produce solely Relaxed theatre, presents their second show: Any Little Thing. Relaxed shows are accessible to a far broader audience than 'ordinary' theatre- by making small modifications to the technical set-up, and having a really switched-on cast, we create a show that people with additional needs (such as those who are Autistic, or have Tourette's Syndrome, ADD, or Social Anxiety disorders) who may have previously felt excluded from theatre environments, can enjoy. We don't create simple theatre; we create accessible theatre.
- November 2017
“Why don't we have a little game? Let's pretend that we're human beings, and that we're actually alive.”
The play that best captures the blistering rage felt by an unfulfilled, neglected generation, Look Back in Anger introduced the world to the ‘angry young man’, an archetype as relevant today as it was when the play burst onto the stage in 1956.
At once a study of isolation and engulfing, poisonous relationships, the play follows Jimmy Porter as he struggles to connect with those around him and rise above the callous monotony of his fledgling marriage. The issues of today’s youth, furiously voiced through those of the past.
- November 2017
'You see, he could see that I couldn't afford the car. Do you understand? It was visible on me.'
David and Jess have debts. Big debts. Debts that are crushing them. They think they're willing to do whatever it takes to pay them off - but how far will they really have to go?
Love and Money explores how our modern relationship with money affects our relationships with each other through the story of young married couple, David and Jess. As their debts spiral, they will turn to unconventional ways of earning money that they'd never even imagined. A dark examination of what lies behind the picture-perfect consumerist life, this play questions whether it is ever possible to connect to others when money will constantly get in the way.
Content warning: descriptions of suicide
- November 2017
Chuck Salmon has played it safe his whole life. He has a 9-5 office job, a mortgage and the latest iPhone. He likes his curries mild and his receipts filed, his sex vanilla and his ice-cream missionary.
But one stormy Saturday-Sunday night Chuck is visited by three ghosts, of past, present and future, who try to show him the error of his ways! Will Chuck turn over a new leaf and grab life by the knuckles? Or will he live the rest of his days as a crustless bread and butter sandwich?
Come and join Footlights Smoker regulars Will and Alex for an hour of sketches and songs in tHE RoUND(!?), featuring guest stars Derren Brown, The Gas Powered Gnome and the elephant in the room.
Don’t be like Chuck, step into the outside world! And then inside the Fitzpatrick Hall to see the show !
- September 2017
"When do we know when we’re happy? Sometimes we say we were happy then or will be happy when, but do we ever realise it now…
All seems well in the Stratton family when husband Gerry, sons Glyn and Adam with their partners Stephanie and Maureen gather to celebrate wife and mother Laura’s 54th birthday at their favourite restaurant. But tensions and secrets lurk beneath the happy, joyous surface - Glyn is trying to rebuild his marriage with Stephanie, Laura disapproves of Adam’s new girlfriend Maureen, and old unspoken feelings lie between Gerry and Laura. Each of these fragile situations needs to be addressed by bringing up the memories of the past, living the uncertainty of the present and coming to terms with the inevitability of the future.
Alan Ayckbourn, in one of his most acclaimed plays, explores our perception of moments through a delicate balance of humour and pathos. Time Of My Life questions whether we spend most of our lives looking forward to things or looking back. All of the characters are in search of personal happiness, but as is so often the case, they find it difficult to recognise it once found. By learning about the family’s lives, past, present and future in a journey through time and human emotions, might we ourselves be able to get a glimpse of how best to have the time of our lives?
First staged twenty-five years ago in 1992, Time Of My Life is now a classic of modern drama, combining Ayckbourn’s dialogues of sparkling humour with a heartwarming sensitivity to the struggles of the human condition."
UCATT will be taking Alan Ayckbourn's "Time of My Life" around venues in China, Hong Kong, Korea and Japan this September for a period of three weeks. On tour we will be performing at universities, international schools and public venues. There is also a strong educational element to the tour, so as well as the performance we will be engaging audiences in theatre workshops and discussions on the play. There will also be a home-run in Cambridge and London.
- June 2017
A Dinner Engagement is this year's CUOS May Week Show, a colourful new take on Berkeley's very modern modern opera.
It's a frothy, delightful, 1950s tale of love amongst the vegetables. The sweet but butter-fingered Lord and Lady Dunmow are trying to prepare for dinner with the Grand Duchess and her son Phillipe. Currently in very reduced circumstances,they hope to marry their daughter to the minted Prince. But as the Very Rich try and navigate their genteel way through the impossible trial of making dinner, absolutely everything goes terribly wrong.
And yet, despite all the parental mayhem, the first buds of young love start to flourish...
- June 2017
And Then There Were None is one of Christie’s most successful murder mysteries and was adapted for stage by her in 1943. Ten strangers are invited by a mysterious host to a large holiday home on an island off the coast of Cornwall. All with unclean pasts they make their way to the house, still yet to meet the host when they arrive. Soon, one by one, they start to be killed off. All of them are victims, and all of them could be the murderer. It seems the host is playing games when he leaves a chilling voice recording condemning them all for various crimes and murders they have committed themselves. More sickening still is the nursery rhyme framed in every guest’s room listing the deaths of ‘Ten Little Soldiers’, and the ten little soldier figurines in the dining hall: every murdered guest sees another figurine go missing. When the last guest is murdered, who could the murderer possibly be?
- May 2017
you don't want to know about actors | actors are depressing
Budge and Wyatt sit in a hospital wing and watch things falling apart. The nurses are impostors, the doctors are frauds, and who exactly is Arno Klein? Why is there a man pretending to be a T.V?
Don DeLillo is our greatest living novelist, yet for too long the world has overlooked his plays. Don't make the same mistake. This black comedy, set in a hospital ward, is surreal, funny, awkwardly insightful, and most importantly, pretentious.
This play in Fitzpatrick Hall will create a theatre-in-the-round, for an experience not often provided in Cambridge. The space will be intimate, bizarre, and messy. Welcome to the day room.
- March 2017
Electra is the child of a broken family pretending it's still holding together. Her mother's lover has taken over the throne and become a tyrant, after her father's brutal murder at his hands. Her sister is weak and her brother has fled. She stands surrounded by blank smiling faces staring at her like masks. She hears the voices of strange people she isn't sure are real. One way or another, there's going to be blood.
- March 2017
Clara and Ben are ‘casually sleeping together’, caught up in a turbulent and destructive relationship, apparently devoid of love. Clara is distracted and distant. Ben is desperate to open her up and develop a closeness between them.
As the barriers between Clara and Ben break down, physical violence and violent love destine the couple for mutual destruction. Set on one rainy afternoon, the intimate bedroom exchange focuses on their unhealthy, habitual pattern and inability to communicate. But, their apparently meaningless and mundane conversation actually delves down into the core, and deeply affects each of them. Here, loneliness takes the form of love.
This play is a one-room drama that combines physical theatre with intense naturalism to portray the familiar struggle of Clara and Ben. With the stage and script both stripped bare: ‘Come Back to Bed’ is a performance of raw emotion and physicality, as two people are pushed to their limits.
- February 2017
"When you're between any kind of devil and the deep blue sea, the deep blue sea sometimes looks very inviting."
The play opens with Hester Collyer's first suicide attempt: originally written as a one-act play in which she was successful, Rattigan ultimately found it more appealing to explore the psyche of a person on the precipice of despair. Hester has left her well-off and kindly husband William in favour of the desirable yet emotionally reticent Freddie, and now finds herself trapped in a loveless relationship without an escape route. She cannot fathom going back to her husband but when Freddie forgets her birthday she can no longer cope with her current relationship. The only exit she sees is taking her own life but, after some bracing advice from the enigmatic and stoic Mr Miller, she finds herself willing to reconsider.
Rattigan's masterpiece and, in the words of Libby Purves, "a bit of a game-changer" when it is first seen or read, The Deep Blue Sea is a challenging and provocative play, encouraging social responsibility and taking an unsentimental but compassionate stance on mental health.
- November 2016
The first performance of the first word of the first piece of absurdist theatre, when put on in Paris in 1896, resulted in a riot.
Before the start of the premiere Alfred Jarry walked onto the stage and said ‘You are free to see in M. Ubu however many allusions you care to, or else a simple puppet – a school boy’s caricature of one of his professors who personified for him all the ugliness in the world.’
The play tells the story of the rise of Ubu Pa to the throne of Baloney and his eventual fall, in absurd mockery of everything from the bourgeois to Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies.
A basement fever-dream, gutter rock, an anarchic farce, Berlin techno… This show really has it all. Wow.
- November 2015
'I've never understood
what it is I'm not supposed to feel
like a bird on the wing in a swollen sky my mind is torn by lightning
as it flies from the thunder behind'
This is not a play. This is a suicide note. This is the fragmented reality of a broken mind.
This is not the answer. This is the question. This is the opening line and the closing breath.
Sarah Kane's final and most personal work opens up the minds of three people suffering from depression, taking the audience on a journey into the deepest recesses of human suffering.
- November 2015
Jephtha was Handel's last oratorio, premièred in 1752. Like all Handel's 'Israelite' oratorios, it was originally presented in an entirely un-staged way, due to reasons stemming from the contemporary religious and aesthetic climate, but we are excited to follow the trend of Glyndebourne and WNO in presenting this oratorio in a fully staged production. Jephtha is intensely emotionally charged, and has the potential to be extremely affecting as a piece of theatre; the story is presented here in a stylised, eighteenth-century, imagined London.
- March 2015
Bernstein's 'Candide' is an operetta set in the castle of the Baron of Thunder-ten-tronckh in the mythical European land of Westphalia. Within these walls live the Baron and Baroness, Cunegonde-- their beautiful and innocent virgin daughter, Maximilian--their handsome son, Candide--their handsome bastard nephew, and Paquette-- the Baroness' buxom serving maid. They are taught by Dr. Pangloss, who preaches the philosophy that all is for the best in "The Best of All Possible Worlds."
Candide and Cunegonde kiss and Candide is banned from Westphalia. As he leaves, Bulgarians invade, kidnap him and slaughter everyone except for Cunegonde, who they prostitute out to a rich Jew and the Grand Inquisitor. Candide escapes and begins an optimistic, satirical journey...
For 'Candide', composer of 'West Side Story', Leonard Bernstein wrote thrilling music full of wonderful tunes. The show is great spectacle, performed by a large cast of thirty talented singers.
- November 2014
Lady Billows is organising the annual May Day festival and desperate to find girls for the coveted position of Queen of the May. However, it turns out none of the girls in the village are virgins – disqualifying them. Thus, Lady Billows and Superintendent Budd decide to select a May King instead of a May Queen. Albert Herring, a virgin, is the perfect candidate. He is crowned May King at the Fete. But, feeling ridiculed, jealous of his colleague, Sid’s relationship with Nancy and drunk from a spiked drink, he heads out into the wide world. The town assumes he is dead, and are deep in tragic mourning when Albert finally, and most comedically, returns to their great surprise and frustration!
- March 2014
"Then, since I am his Ganymede, let me be cut in stars, and set where jealous hate may never come"
Egypt. 130 AD. The emperor Hadrian, accompanied by his wife, court, and secretary, Suetonius, is on a diplomatic tour; all eyes are on Antinous, Hadrian's young lover and pin-up boy of the Classical world. As the party floats further down the Nile, the stage is set for tragedy.
"I have my wife's contempt, my friend's decease, and now my lover's enmity to weigh upon my soul: what is an empire to these cares?"
- November 2013
A group of young English cavaliers head to the Med for the mother of all hedonistic holidays, but they’ve more than met their match in the girls they encounter. Belvile thinks he’s found true love with Florinda, but an arranged marriage and a protective older brother stand in his way. Blunt thinks he’s found true lust with Lucetta, but he’s about to be given a rude awakening. Frederick just wants to find somebody, anybody. And Willmore, the rover, causes chaos wherever he goes, trailing broken hearts and broken bottles in his wake. Can this “rampant lion of the forest” be tamed? Or will events take a darker course?
- November 2013
Cambridge. 1986. Wracked by ambition and stress, and disillusioned with his studies, Faustus makes a deal. Knowledge, power, reputation - the price: his soul.
What would you give to have all the answers?
- March 2013
It is the year 500 BC. Rome is at war. In an army camp on the outskirts of the city, the Generals Collatinus and Junius have been drinking with the Etruscan Prince of Rome, Tarquinius. But whilst the men fight and drink, what are their wives up to? Earlier, some soldiers had been sent back to Rome to see whose wife had remained the most faithful, with disastrous results. Now as wine flows and tempers rise, the resentment towards Collatinus, the only one whose wife was loyal, begins to boil over. Collatinus' chaste and beautiful Lucretia is more of a temptation than the hot-blooded Tarquinius can stand. What follows is the deeply disturbing psychological portrait of Lucretia's downfall.
Double-Olivier award winning actress Samantha Spiro and Britten scholar and broadcaster Dr Kate Kennedy have come together to direct "The Rape of Lucretia" with a thrilling ensemble of Cambridge University's most talented young singers and musicians.
- March 2013
- February 2013
French Without Tears is a larger-than-life comedy about what it means to be young. When Commander Roger, grizzled Naval captain, arrives a school for young men attempting (and failing) to learn French, he sets of a tangled love affair involving the naive Kit, Alan the self-styled intellectual and Diana: the focus of their affections.