Capturing Cambridge
  • search
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
1798 Map of Cambridge showing Hoop Inn & Dolphin Lane

Hoop Inn, Union Society, ADC Theatre

History of the ADC Theatre

See Enid Porter’s articles on stagecoaches and coaching inns.

Stage Coaches

Old Cambridge Inns


Once known as the Bell.

1830: March 19th University amateur performance of Much Ado About Nothing given.

The site was once part of the Hoop Inn. It was taken over by the Union Society and occupied by them from 1831-1850 when they moved to the old dissenting chapel in Green Street. The building was then used as billiard rooms until taken over by the ADC in 1860. (A B Gray Cambridge Revisited 1921)

F C Burnand

Florence Ada Keynes explains the early history of the Amateur Dramatic Club in more detail in By-Ways of Cambridge History. The ADC had come up against opposition from University authorities in their search for a permanent home. After their founding in 1855 by F C Burnand there was a performance in the Red Lion in Petty Cury. Other site considered were the livery stables in Jesus Lane owned by Mr Death and Swan’s Auction Rooms, but it was discovered that there were two unused rooms at the Hoop Inn. Underneath the rooms was a storage area for beer and wine casks and access was only by the side gate of the Hoop Brewery. By October 1855 the Club had a permanent home. In 1861 the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII), then in residence at Madingley Hall, consented to be the Honorary President of the Club. This allowed the ADC to be recognised by the University.

The theatre is owned by the Cambridge University Amateur Dramatic Club. The land was bought by the club in 1882 and subsequently developed.



Mrs Stubbings, custodian

William Archie Stubbings


Do you have any information about the people or places in this article? If so, then please let us know using the Contact page or by emailing