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Brickhouse and Robinson Drama

Brickhouse and Robinson Drama: images show a flyer for ‘Popcorn’, 2004 (Archive ref. RCCS 5/3/2) and a poster for ‘Translations’, 2006 (Archive ref. RCCS 5/5).

Robinson theatrical entertainment began with a revue in Hall in December 1980, showcasing names to become well-known, such as Morwenna Banks, Charles Hart, Neil Mullarkey and Gary Sinyor. Drama at Robinson has continued apace. Reports in the Robinson Record since 1984 chart its history and this is just a canter through the first few decades.

The Auditorium hosted many outside productions during the 1980s, drawing big audiences. Until the early 1990s, however, costs precluded much use by Robinson students, so productions were staged all around College: the Music Room, the Umney Theatre, the Chapel, even the Party Room (Sartre’s ‘Men Without Shadows’ in 1991). Additional lighting, set equipment and staging eventually meant more College productions being staged in the Auditorium, with only major productions necessitating hire of extra equipment.

The first Brickhouse production was Mike Leigh’s ‘Abigail’s Party’ in February 1998. The group became Brickhouse Theatre Company and by 2001 it was a University-wide group. Previous productions had been staged successively by the Dramatic Society and RAD Productions and a group named Brickworks had presented Tom Stoppard’s ‘The Real Inspector Hound’ in 1989.

Original writing by students began to emerge in the 1990s. By the mid-1990s, the profile of Robinson drama was rising fast and ever more Robinson students were entering the drama scene across Cambridge. 1997 was ‘a watershed year… outselling the ADC theatre was just the start’ (Robinson Record 1997), and the ‘blockbuster’ production of ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat’ affirmed the Auditorium as a top Cambridge venue.

The Maria Björnson Theatre has provided a beautiful outdoor venue for Robinson drama since 2004. BTC may have had some leaner times: there are no reports in the Robinson Record for 2003-2012, although the Archive does hold some flyers and posters for this period (as in the images shown here). 2015 saw a big revival and BTC’s own website dates from 2014 - Brickhouse Theatre Company – Brickhouse Theatre Company | Robinson College | Cambridge