Directing debut for Caius student

  • 06 March 2023

Maya Calcraft (MML (Spanish and Italian) 2021) is excited about her directorial debut at the ADC Theatre this week.

Maya is directing Charley’s Aunt, a Victorian farce, which centres on themes of love, romance and gender. Written by Brandon Thomas and originally published in the late 19th Century and set in Oxford, Maya has changed the location to Cambridge.

“I’m really excited to finally see it on stage as I imagined it in my mind,” Maya says.

“To see the actors stand up and take control of the thing we created together is something I can’t wait to see.

“I really enjoy the escapism of theatre and the communal experience of laughing at comedy. You’re in a room of people enjoying the same thing.

“I looked into different comedies. It’s set in Oxford, but the copyright has expired, so I could set it in Cambridge and I’ve set it at Trinity College.

“It’s a silly love story that gets derailed by a friend in drag pretending to be someone’s aunt.”

A poster for a production of Charley's Aunt at the ADC Theatre in Cambridge

Maya has the support of fellow Caians in the cast and production crew, which totals 27 members. Georgia Beale (Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic Studies 2021; producer), Jessie Wade (History 2020; publicity), Camille Saunders (MML (French and Spanish) 2021; costume), Kit Bashaarat (MML (German and Italian) 2021; actor), Seb Gentile (Law 2021; actor) and Daisy Samra (English 2021; technical director) are all involved.

She decided midway through Michaelmas Term to pitch the idea, with preparations beginning in earnest at the start of Lent Term. The show is on from Tuesday 7 March to Saturday 11 March, with tickets available from the ADC website.

“I’d always been on the acting side of things and here at Cambridge you really get an opportunity to try any of the roles that are needed in theatre,” Maya adds.

“This is my first time directing anything. I went from nothing to an ADC main show, which is quite an ambitious jump.

“I’m proud of where we’re at with the show. I’ve always been the sort of actor where I knew what I wanted from the scene and translating that wasn’t too difficult. I’ve got an amazing assistant director, Nathaniel Gunn, who has been a great help and a great team.”

Maya attended the prestigious Sylvia Young Theatre School and friends from school are attending this week.

Maya, who has ambitions to perform a play in a one of the languages she is studying, adds: “It’s such a fantastic place and I met such wonderful people who I still have in my life. It was where I grew up so to make them feel proud means so much to me.”

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