Uplifting musicals, inspiring talks, wild cards and fun family shows hit Cambridge’s theatres this month
On 10 and 11 May, The Town and Gown brings us a thought-provoking production set in the Soviet Union at the height of the Space Race. Inspired by true events and untold stories, Tales from Star City follows Polina Semyenova as she reflects on her dreams of being part of the great communist movement, as Cold War tensions escalate to dramatic levels. Also at The Town and Gown, on 17 and 18 May is Somewhere to Belong, a quirky 60-minute piece of theatre that shines a light on the misconceptions surrounding bisexuality. It centres on CK, who finds herself unwittingly taking part in a strange and invasive game show, where she must complete humiliating tasks in a bid to win a grand prize. The play acts as a simile for sexuality, throwing light on hurtful perceptions of the bi+ community and inviting a celebration of queer voices.
From 10 to 21 May at the Cambridge Arts Theatre, don’t miss the joyous and uplifting Beautiful – The Carole King Musical, the award-winning West End and Broadway show about the chart-topping music legend. This inspiring true story traces the talented musician’s extraordinary journey to fame, from co-writing songs with husband Gerry Goffin, to becoming one of the most successful solo artists in the history of pop. Packed with classic hits like You’ve Got a Friend, (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman and The Loco-Motion, this uplifting journey is bound to be a hit!
The Arts Theatre will also host inspiring talks from much-loved poet Lemn Sissay and national treasure Barry Humphries. On 22 May, hear Lemn Sissay share his moving life story in My Name is Why, featuring extracts from his Sunday Times bestselling memoir. He reflects on his experience of growing up in care and tackles issues such as race, family and the meaning of home, offering a stirring tribute to the redemptive power of creativity. On 31 May and 1 June, Humphries brings his revealing, riproarious show The Man Behind the Mask, sharing stories from his extraordinary life in theatre, from the hilarious to the heart-wrenching.
What’s life without a few surprises? This month, a handful of unorthodox shows are on the cards, offering thought-provoking and sometimes challenging performances that may take you out of your comfort zone, or lead you to discover something you fall in love with. Here are our top wild card options…
Fault Lines | Cambridge Junction, 3-4 May, 7.30pm
A fashion show that shines a light on the tension between feminism and fabric. Five diverse performers take to the catwalk to parade fashions ranging from haute couture to bargain bin. As you watch, you’ll control the music and stories you listen to using an app on your mobile phone, allowing you to curate your own unique experience.
Penguin Cafe | Saffron Hall, 14 May, 8pm
Avant-pop band Penguin Cafe is known for creating stunning soundscapes through a distinctive combination of folk, classical and minimalist styles. The ensemble was founded by Arthur Jeffes, who spent time exploring the Antarctic before settling down to make music, inspired by the vast, silent icy landscapes he encountered on his travels.
Secret Cabaret Club | The Town and Gown, 14 May, 7.30pm
Step into the Secret Cabaret Club, where top-quality performers unite for a melting pot of entertainment. Your host will be the gloriously sassy Gloria Squeezers, who’ll guide you through a series of acts – ranging from burlesque artistes to singers and comedians.
Showwomen | Cambridge Junction, 17-18 May, 7.30pm
Award-winning performance maker Marisa Carnesky is ready to address the untold herstory of British working-class entertainment, giving voice to immigrant, queer, activist and occult perspectives. Featuring performances by hairhanger and comedienne Fancy Chance, sword and spoken word artist Livia Kojo Alour and physical fire performer Lucifire, interspersed by interviews and archival footage.
Family fun at Cambridge Junction
Experience an innovative retelling of classic tales like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The BFG and The Twits through performance, games and creative play in the thrilling interactive theatre experience, Roald Dahl and the Imagination Seekers on 8 May.
On 15 May, discover Indian storytelling, dance and shadow puppetry with Apple ‘n’ Spice. Interactive and multicultural, it tells the story of two stepmothers – one from the East and one from the West – whose stories become entwined in a captivating story.
Get lost in a world of pure imagination on 22 May with Mischief and Mystery in Moomin Valley. Young audiences will be enchanted by magical puppetry and an interactive play, with a pop-up book Moomin Valley set – a place buzzing with nature, where everyone is welcome and adventures await!
Book your tickets now from the Junction’s website.