Arts & Drama

If you are passionate about the arts and drama, you are in good company here at Newnham. Famous Newnham actors include Emma Thompson and Miriam Margolyes – the Newnhamites even starred in the Harry Potter films together.

We have a number of thriving societies and dedicated art and music facilities to spark your creativity. Our very own drama group, the Newnham Anonymous Players, is a rising theatrical force with a history of experimental theatre and some daring performances.

We are committed not only to bringing great drama to Newnham, but to making play production more accessible for all the budding theatrical talent within and outside our College – whether you have a lot or a little experience.

The Old Labs in the College grounds (now a spacious Performing Arts Centre) are used regularly for concerts, plays, workshops and talks. We also have a well-stocked Art Room and for photographers, a darkroom.

The Art Room

Release your creativity! At Newnham we have our very own Art Room that is equipped with drawing easels, tables, art supplies, sink, sewing machines and other craft tools.

The Newnham Arts and Photographic Society is a very informal and friendly society that keeps the Art Room fully stocked with supplies for you to use and to arrange classes and workshops for anyone to attend. There is no formal membership. If you would like to use the Art Room just fill in a form from the Tutorial Office and give it to the Porters.

The Old Labs
Newnham has its own Performing Arts Centre in the College grounds.The Old Labs were converted some years ago to create a dedicated building for concerts, plays, workshops and talks. They are equipped for plays, with a full set of lighting equipment, but also house two grand pianos that can be used for practice, and also a harpsichord.

Performances are often open to the public. We also use the building for other occasional events, such as master classes, art exhibitions and as practice rooms.

Newnham Anonymous Players
The Newnham Anonymous Players are an up and coming theatrical force, with a history of producing some daring performances.

They are committed not only to bringing great drama to Newnham, but to making play production more accessible for all the budding theatrical talent within and outside our College.

The ADC and Corpus Playroom
The ADC is a vibrant theatre in central Cambridge. During the term there are usually two shows a night at the ADC – the main one at 7.45pm and a late show at 11pm. There is always a lively programme of drama, music and comedy and they aim to provide opportunities for experiencing and learning about all aspects of theatre.

The ADC is the oldest University playhouse in the UK so, just like Newnham College, it manages to combine a long and proud history with a modern outlook and a focus on the future. It is run almost entirely by students with no Faculty involvement.

The ADC Theatre has helped to launch the careers of many theatre luminaries, including Sir Ian McKellen, Rachel Weisz and our very own Emma Thompson.

The Corpus Playroom is a smaller and more intimate studio space in Cambridge. It is owned by Corpus Christi College and managed by the University through the ADC Theatre. The resident company is the Fletcher Players. The L-shaped studio is Cambridge’s primary fringe space where a variety of new productions are showcased.

Acting alumnae
Hollywood star Emma Thompson was a member of the famous Footlights amateur theatrical group during her time at Newnham and she has won two Oscars, several BAFTAS and countless other awards since. One of her most popular screen incarnations is Nanny McPhee who, in two films scripted by and starring Ms Thompson, magically turns up to transform the lives of a widower’s nine children.

Miriam Margolyes OBE was also a Footlights member while she was at Newnham and her illustrious career has spanned five decades and led to countless awards including a BAFTA.

Lydia Fox, of the Fox acting dynasty, is also a Newnham alumna as is Eleanor Bron, who inspired Paul McCartney to write the song Eleanor Rigby after she starred in a film with The Beatles. Olivia Williams, who co-starred in The Sixth Sense with Bruce Willis, is another Newnhamite who is also a successful film, stage and television actor.

Our recent graduates include Genevieve Gaunt, who starred as The Face of an Angel in Michael Winterbottom’s 2015 film (and Genevieve graduated in English with a double first, showing that it is definitely possible to succeed both academically and on stage).