The Corpus Playroom (sometimes simply referred to as just The Playroom) is a medium-size studio theatre venue in Cambridge. Officially the building is owned by Corpus Christi College but it is leased to managed by the ADC Theatre. The Corpus college drama society, the Fletcher Players, are the resident company. The L-shaped studio is Cambridge's primary fringe space, showcasing a variety of productions, with an emphasis on new writing. Seasons are programmed simultaneously with the ADC Theatre with applications for student productions open about half-way through the preceding term. During term there are normally two shows a night.
The Corpus Playroom is situated below a block of offices and as such, noise inside the building is very much restricted during working hours of the day. You can use the sound system, but not at a level above talking volume.
See ADC website for technical specifications of the Playroom.
- The studio is 'L'-shaped.
- The performance space at the centre apex of the 'L', measuring 4270mm x 5290mm.
- The performance space has one on-stage entrance from the dressing rooms, and the auditorium entrance may also be accessed from backstage.
- The opposite side audience entrance is not accessible from backstage but actors may be preset hidden in it.
- There is seating for a total of 80 persons on fixed benches ranging down both long sides of the 'L'.
- There are two dressing rooms backstage – one large, one small.
- There is a stage relay system which can be heard in the green room and dressing room, and also in the corridor leading to the on-stage entrance.
During terms there are usually two shows a night at Corpus Playroom: the Corpus Mainshow starting from 7:00pm and the Lateshow starting from 9:30pm. Shows at Corpus Playroom generally don't have an interval.
The Playroom, dressing rooms and stage area may be used for rehearsals or meetings dependent upon availability. There is an online booking diary where you can check the availability and book space for your show at . You will need to have created an entry on Camdram before you can log in to book rooms. This facility is only available for productions taking place at Corpus Playroom.
Productions are allocated 12 hours per week for rehearsals. If you require extra time you should contact the theatre's Production Manager.
There are a range of Prelude profiles and Selecon Fresnels that can be used by shows at The Playroom. Control is via a Zero 88 Jester 24/48 lighting desk talking to 2 x 6-way Zero 88 Betapack 2 dimmer racks via DMX. The houselights are on a separate 1 channel dimmer at the control position, also controllable via DMX or by a local fader. Additional cable, gel, gobos, lanterns etc. are available on request from the ADC Theatre – speak to the Technical or Production Managers to arrange this.
The sound system consists of an ART mixer with 3 stereo and 3 mono channels feeding a Thomman stereo power amp connected to 4 x Thomman t.box 104 speakers (two per audience area, paired L and R to each side). There is an iMac with QLab 4 installed as well as a Sennheiser XSW handheld wireless mic. Additionally, there is a 3.5mm headphone jack for laptops/smartphones. Additional speakers, mics and other sound equipment are available on request from the ADC Theatre.
There are two small projectors mounted above stage, one aimed at each wall so that each half of the audience has direct line of sight Both projectors have separate video ties feeds to the control position, with VGA and HDMI splitters available so that the same signal can be sent to both if desired. The iMac has a VGA output useable with QLab or similar.
The Corpus Playroom was opened in 1979 in a pair of disused Corpus Christi rooms by Caroline Oulten and Mark McCrum. The Playroom was run for 22 years by the College drama society, the Fletcher Players. Productions were student-led and the Playroom fostered talents such as Hugh Bonneville, Sam Mendes and Stephen Fry. Stephen Fry wrote Latin! for the opening of the Playroom.
From 2010 to 2011, the Playroom witnessed a radical redevelopment including new seating, drastic improvements backstage, and the addition of a box office.
Individual donations allowed the replacement of the seats, and the significant refurbishment during the summer of 2011 was carried out by Corpus Christi College. The University of Cambridge, through the ADC Theatre, contributed over half of the £85,000 cost.