Tour of the Building

The auditorium

The auditorium is the biggest performance space in East Anglia and has capacity for up to 1849 people depending on the show. There are four different seating areas - the flat floor, tiered seating, the mezzanine and the balcony.

Each area offers a splendid view of the stage area. There are also designated disabled areas for those with restricted mobility.

As the building is Grade II listed, the balcony is essentially supported on stilts so as not to ruin the original backwork.

The stage

The stage is adjustable and has three possible sizes, with each segment raised and lowered hydraulically.

As the Corn Exchange is a listed building, no structural changes can be made to it.

This means that there is no facility to 'fly' tall sets on and off the stage from above - the building simply isn't tall enough. But most shows get around that restriction one way or another.

The Christmas show is a good example of how the most spectacular sets can be made to fit perfectly well.

Box office

The box office is located on Wheeler Street a few doors down from the front doors of the venue (to the right if you are facing the building).

Here you can book tickets for all Corn Exchange shows plus a host of other events including the Cambridge Folk Festival and the Shakespeare Festival.

Chair store

The passage through to backstage is often piled high with flight cases, instrument cases, stacked seating and crowd-control barriers.

It used to be the skate kiosk when the venue was a roller-skating rink in the 1960s - 1980s.

Disabled toilets

These toilets are located at both main doors. They have space for a wheelchair, and are equipped with a low sink, handrail and emergency alarm cord.

Dressing room 1

Dressing room 1 is carpeted, with four showbiz-style mirrors framed by light bulbs so that the performers can see what their appearance will look like under bright stage lights.

The room also contains a fridge, shower, toilet, sink and comfortable chairs.

Dressing room 2

Dressing room 2 contains a skylight that beams light down onto the room's mirrors - leaving the room with a feeling of air and light.

It also has comfortable chairs and shower/toilet facilities.

You often find this room full of musical instruments waiting to be used by the musicians when on stage.

Dressing room 3

Dressing room 3 is the production office. It is equipped with a shower, telephone and fax line and is usually occupied by theatre company managers and touring managers.

Dressing room 4

This is a large room with mirrors and sideboards running along three of the walls.

This room contains a larger floor space, windows, and shower facilities.

Next door is the catering room with steel tables, stove, sinks and fridges.

Many artists like to bring their own caterers on tour rather than demanding a complicated rider.

Dressing room 5

At the top of the building, this large group space is often used by dancers and choruses as it has air-conditioning, and long padded benches.

This room also contains a fridge and numerous comfortable seats.

Dressing room 6

Dressing Room 6 is the wardrobe where costumes are prepared and repaired by the wardrobe mistress or master of touring theatre companies.

It's equipped with an iron and ironing board, a clothes rail, laundry facilities, a butler's sink, fridge and an airing cupboard stacked high with towels.

Gentlemen's toilets

Well, we were going to censor this bit - men's loos are men's loos and there's not much you'd want to know. But on inspection, they're actually very presentable.

They are equipped with no less than nine urinals, three cubicles, hand-dryer, seven basins and lots of mirrors so you can get your hair just right before strutting your stuff back in the auditorium.

Ladies toilets

Above the Schering Bar, the ladies' toilet offers a delightful green colour scheme.

The PA is transmitted through to the loos so you can keep in touch with the on-stage action while you take a break.

Green room

Just off the stage is the green room where artists wait to go onto stage.

The room contains toilets, a coffee machine and a long mirror.

It is here that the actors try and relax before a show or whilst waiting between scenes.

The green room is said to have taken its name from the fact that its walls were often painted green to rest the eyes of actors after exposure to bright stage lights, although nowadays is just a room used to try and relax the performers before they go on stage.

King's Room

The King's Room is so called because it was sponsored by Cambridge's historic King's College when it was refurbished in 1986.

Formerly the caretaker's apartment when the building was first built, this is now a function room, often used for pre-concert talks and for meetings.

This room is available for hire and is the ideal venue for small, intimate meetings, training sessions and presentations.

The room will seat up to 30 people theatre-style or alternatively is the ideal room for 'round-the-table' discussions.

The space is also ideal for over-head presentations or flip-chart discussions (all necessary equipment provided).

The room is situated directly above the main entrance of the venue and overlooks the main public area (The Schering Room).

A full catering service is available and toilets are also easily accessible from this room.

Lighting box

The lighting box is on the mezzanine floor just under the balcony and is where the lighting operator works during the performance.

Most of the space is taken up by two lighting desks and the lighting manager can communicate with the follow-spot operators up in the rafters through a talk-back system.

A camera on the front of the box relays the stage image to screens in the Schering Bar.

Operations manger's office

This office is next door to the technical office and is a more sober affair with its grey office furniture and neatly placed paperwork.

It used to be a radio room linking the venue with BBC Radio Cambridgeshire - and there are still landlines from it to Broadcasting House.

Technical office

Found on the top floor backstage, the technical office is strewn with coils of cabling, radios, towels, torches and high-tech gear, which sit alongside filing cabinets containing relevant technical information on the shows.

There are bins piled high with food wrappers, coffee mugs, a tiny fridge and all the familiar trademarks of a team who work some of the most antisocial hours in the business.

There are three desks with a computer with internet access, a year planner with everything marked up from Postman Pat to Motorhead, show reports, paperwork, and a larger-than-life station clock.

And far from being isolated from the action, the office has live sound relayed from the stage, so they know exactly what's happening.

Piano store

Our Steinway grand piano is stored behind the stage in a sealed room with controlled temperature.

Schering Bar

When you walk through the main doors of the venue, this is the first place you'll experience - a space that has 300,000 people walk through it every year.

In the evening the bar opens to those attending the shows, serving drinks throughout the evening.

This is also where you will find any merchandise that is on sale for that night's performance.

St John's Bar

Leaving the stage area, St John's Bar is up the stairs on the first floor, a long red-carpeted gallery that gives access to the two boxes overlooking the auditorium.

Many after-show parties take place in this bar as well as a number of TV interviews - Debbie Harry, Boyzone, David Bowie, and Ash have all been filmed here.

The St John's Bar also provides additional overflow space during sell-out events at the venue and for conferences providing an extremely versatile space which can accommodate up to 100 people.

A platform lift is available to allow customers in wheelchairs to directly access this space.

High level walkway

Not a place for those with vertigo! The 'techies' access the lighting rig via the dimmer room which is located on the top floor of the building.

As well as the walkway around the walls of the hall, there is a black catwalk right across the middle.