A Day Trip from Cambridge – to Norwich and The Maddermarket Theatre

I went to see John Mortimer’s adaptation of A Christmas Carol at The Maddermarket Theatre over the Christmas break. It was the first time I’d been to the venue and I loved it – in spite of the dark, atmospheric wooden pillar that blocked my view of Scrooge in his bedroom, above the main stage. My seat was up in the gallery, and if you’re planning a visit, it’s worth knowing that the gallery seats nearest the stage do have quite a restricted view.
The gallery area – the throne-like seats at the back aren’t officially for paying customers…

But that didn’t spoil my enjoyment; to quote Bertie Wooster, the place was simply soggy with atmosphere. The building is 18th Century and, according to Wikipedia, saw life as a Catholic Chapel, baking soda factory, grocery warehouse and Salvation Army hall, before it was converted into an Elizabethan-style playhouse. You can read more here, including the lovely story of how it was transformed in just six weeks, with actors using their spare time to help with the decorating.
The performance, by the theatre’s own company, was very enjoyable, and – from the box office and bar staff to the actors – the welcome was warm and the atmosphere intimate and informal.
The set for A Christmas Carol
Booking and seating
From where I was sitting it looked as though the view from the stalls would generally be good, as well as from the gallery seats facing the stage. If you book online, the diagram showing the seating is rather misleading. The seats shown at ground level, side-on to the stage, and – according to the website’s diagram actually reaching behind the stage – are in reality facing the front portion of the stage at a diagonal angle – and there are no seats that actually put you behind the performers.
Getting there
The train journey from Cambridge to Norwich takes just over an hour (quicker than driving) and you can check times here.

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