Past shows at Howard Theatre, Downing College
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- April 2016Join Percy Shelley, Mary Shelley and Claire Clairmont on a pit stop of their Grand Tour, as they discuss the woes of the Grand Tourist and just what the English have brought to the intellectual world.
- March 2016Following the success of last year's festival the Downing Dramatic Society is once again offering a platform for new writing by current students of the University. Eight plays by will be showcased in Downing's fabulous Howard Theatre followed by an open forum with top industry professionals.
- February 2016'You're a divinely mad family!' The Blisses live in the countryside, and they love inviting people over for the weekend - only this time they haven't told each other! The house is soon crowded with friends and lovers who, as they start arriving and meeting each other, realise just how crazy and melodramatic The Bliss family can get. Join the glamourous Judith Bliss and her eccentric family for an awkward, confusing and hilarious soirée at their home. This 1920s farce will surely have you in stitches!
- February 2016“Do you believe in the afterlife?” A young woman dies suddenly and unexpectedly. Her friends plan a cleansing trip to the seaside. All is not what it seems, and the mechanics of death aren’t quite what they should be. Who is Hurtle T., how did Adrianne really die, and why are there ghosts everywhere? Meet jeering Adrian, absent-minded Romania, foppish Birch, the self-proclaimed Ex-Ghost, and, at the centre of it all, Susanne herself and her tragic decline. A comic and unsettlingly dark film heavy with theatrical ambiance, Susanne is a twisted foray into some of humanity's deepest fears. It can be watched on Youtube via the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGSUeDyjSwc
- February 2016Laden with moments of both comedy and searing tragedy, Frank Wedekind's famous double bill is brought to the beautiful Howard Theatre. Combined as "Lulu: A Monster Tragedy", Earth Spirit and Pandora's Box are two of the most striking and famous of fin de siècle sex tragedies: forming a commentary on the destructive potential of sexual and material excess in the turn-of-the-century bourgeoisie. A tale which Wedekind tells through the fatal and enigmatic figure of his protagonist Lulu. Travel from Berlin, to the opulent high society of Paris, to the grimy slums of London, following Lulu and her successive lovers, as, at each shift in setting, the play's world and its characters slowly degenerate, before the play’s now iconic and brutal climax.
- November 2015‘I like this place, / And willingly could waste my time in it.’ This is a story one can hear softly spoken around a campfire in the glowing embers of an evening. It is a tale of ‘the golden world’, disguised lovers and gender swaps. We will be beckoning in our audience to join the company of witty Rosalind; ardent Orlando and wry Jacques in this production's autumnal Forest of Arden.
- March 2015Downing Dramatic Society are hosting a New Writing Festival Downing's Howard Theatre. We are looking for new one act plays, running at no longer than 20 minutes, to be submitted by the end of January. The best submissions will be staged and watched by a panel of top industry professionals and special guests who will then offer advice and feedback. The winner's prize will include an opportunity to develop the writing further, with support from the society. Many exciting surprises to be announced in due course. Get those pens scratching and await further announcements!
- February 2015Not so very far in the future, Paulina Salas, a medical student, falls prey to the repressive regime controlling her country. Whilst captive, Paulina is raped and tortured by a Doctor she never sees, who is obsessed with playing Schubert's 'Death and The Maiden'. Paulina is eventually released when the regime falls, and leads a normal life with her husband, the lawyer Gerardo. But the past remains with her. One night, her husband is stranded by the roadside and is rescued by a kind man, Doctor Miranda, who drives him home. When Paulina hears his voice she is instantly reminded of her rapist and tormentor, and seeks to have his confession by any means possible, while her lawyer husband seeks to ensure Doctor Miranda has a fair trial in the hands of his seemingly deranged wife.... Come and see this play about trauma and the ambivalent nature of guilt and innocence.
- November 2014
- February 2014A pearl necklace broken on the floor. A bloodstained yellow motorcar. A green light always just out of reach. Welcome to the 1920s. In this innovative new adaption of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s famous novel, see a fresh take on the American novel that defined a generation.
- February 2013He's the most contemptible, sly and supercilious slave known to man. A low-down good-for-nothing liar. But when trouble raises its ugly head, a little lying can go a long way. It's 200 BC and in the foetid streets of Athens stands Calidorus, a strapping young man-about-town with his head in his hands. He's in love you see, with a beautiful slave girl called Phonecium. But young love comes at a price, a particularly high one when a sadistic pimp is involved, and the evil Ballio has received an offer that he can't refuse. Our hero has one day to stump up enough cash to save his Phonecium and if he fails, she'll be sold to a merciless Macedonian officer. What can he do but to turn to the one and only person that could help him achieve the impossible, his father's silver-tongued slave: Pseudolus? The Downing Drama Society is bringing back the bad-boy of Roman Comedy, for a three night extravaganza of ribald farce. Enter the salacious world of Plautus, and discover the esoteric delights that have been suppressed and censored for centuries.
- September 2011Now in its fifth consecutive year, Pembroke Players Japan Tour will be taking Shakespeare's Twelfth Night to a range of venues in England and Japan. Visiting schools, universities and professional theatres both in rural and urban Japan during September, the tour will also feature a home run in Cambridge at the beginning of Michaelmas term. Transported to 1940s civilian England, the characters of Twelfth Night resort to music, drink and trickery to distract themselves from death and unrequited love. Dealing with chaos, cons and crossed wires, their lives veer between the comic and the tragic as they look for entertainment and affection in Shakespeare's iconic play.
- March 2011“We’re on a stage, my darling! And what’s a stage? Well, don’t you see? It’s a place where you play at being serious. A place where you act out a play. And that’s what we’re going to do now – play, only seriously....” Pirandello’s ‘Six Characters in Search of an Author’ plunges the audience into a struggle between acting and living. It is an exploration into what makes an actor true and the transformation of a character from paper to play. A small group of unsuspecting actors are abruptly interrupted by mysterious characters who are requesting the work of an author to complete their story. The audience sees the scandalous lives of these characters unfurl in front of them as the line between creation and real life begins to blur and the actors are left with uncertainties...and a body count. But did it really happen or was it all just a play?
- February 2011"Cover her face. Mine eyes dazzle: she died young." Intrigue, incest and murder – Webster’s iconic play centres around the lonely figure of the Duchess of Malfi, her court disintegrating under the web of spying and suspicion set up by her manipulative, deadly brothers. Our production will be set in 1930s Italy, gesturing towards an era of political instability and growing menace. We're also looking to work in some film elements, as well as playing on the hints of drug abuse, mental illness and illicit sexual desire in the play.
- February 2010The Downing Dramatic Society is proud to present The Relapse by John Vanbrugh. First produced 1696, it is one of England’s most beloved Restoration comedies, featuring biting social satire that is still popular today. Vanbrugh contrasts fashionable London life with provincial sensibilities through a menagerie of outrageously comic characters including: reformed rogue husband Loveless, his virtuous wife Amanda, her ardent admirer Worthy, buxom widow Berinthia, peacock beau Lord Foppington, his profligate younger brother Tom Fashion, his perpetually plastered manservant Lory, their lecherous matchmaker Coupler, cantankerous country squire Sir Tunbelly Clumsy, his innocent yet up for it daughter Hoyden, her faithful governess Nurse and the buffoonish parson Bull. To be presented in high period style, at the brand new luxurious Howard Theatre, this show is not to be missed.
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