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Arts and Culture in Cambridge - Theaters, Museums, and Chapel Services

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Thanks in part to its large student population, Cambridge has a vibrant, year-round cultural scene that embraces dance, drama, classical and popular music, and the visual arts. Several theatres in the centre of Cambridge attract well-known performers, while museums and galleries display avant-garde and classical paintings, sculpture, and works of art from every continent. Numerous annual festivals celebrate music, film, and literature.

Music, theatre, and dance


You don't need to stray far from Market Square to find Cambridge's 2 main theatres, the Cambridge Corn Exchange and Cambridge Arts theatre. Other popular venues are Cambridge University's ADC Theatre - where you can catch student productions and rising stars before they're famous - and the Cambridge Junction, worth the short drive or bus ride from the city centre for its live music and contemporary dance shows.


Cambridge Corn Exchange


Cambridge Corn Exchange hosts classical music performances by the resident Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and visiting orchestras such as the Dresden Philharmonic and Moscow State Symphony Orchestra. You can also catch rock, pop, folk, and comedy stars here.


Wheeler Street, Cambridge CB2 3QBTel: +44 1223 357851


Cambridge Corn Exchange website


Cambridge Arts Theatre


Operas, musicals, and pantomimes are all on the bill at Cambridge Arts Theatre, which has a busy program of events including many performances suitable for families. Some shows come here directly from London's West End.


6 St. Edward's Passage, Cambridge CB2 3PJ. Tel: +44 1223 503333


Cambridge Arts Theatre website

College chapel services


One of the most special cultural experiences you can have in Cambridge is to attend a choral service at one of the college chapels. King's College Chapel is famous for its boys' choir, which performs the BBC2-broadcast Carols from Kings, as well as the world-famous Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols service on Christmas Eve. Trinity College and St. John's College also offer regular choral services that are free to attend.


King's College Chapel


The sound of King's College's world-famous boys' choir filling the high-vaulted ceilings of this precious chapel with song is a unique experience. Evensong takes place most afternoons, but do check the schedule before visiting. On Mondays, the college's mixed choir performs.


King's Parade, Cambridge CB2 1ST. Tel: +44 1223 331100


King's College Chapel website


Trinity College Chapel


Choral evensongs take place on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. The chapel may not be quite as famous as that of King's, but the experience is no less moving. Trinity College Choir, a mixed ensemble which often records CDs of choral music, performs regular concerts, too.


Trinity Street, Cambridge CB2 1TQ. Tel: +44 1223 338400


Trinity College Chapel website


Art museums


Museums and art galleries cluster in the centre of Cambridge, many of them free for visitors and several part of Cambridge University. The grande dame of Cambridge museums is the Fitzwilliam with its grand marble entrance and priceless collections. The Ruskin Gallery, by contrast, is a state-of-the-art contemporary venue that specializes in digital art.


Fitzwilliam Museum


Works by French Impressionists, Dutch masters, and British artists grace the Fitzwilliam Museum's huge collections. Those interested in arts and antiquities could spend all day exploring. There's a pleasant courtyard café and gift shop, and the museum hosts regular concerts and talks.


Trumpington Street, Cambridge CB2 1RB. Tel: +44 1223 332900


Fitzwilliam Museum website


The Ruskin Gallery


From art inspired by video games to multimedia meditations on war, temporary exhibits at the Ruskin entertain and provoke. Digital and interactive artworks are particularly prominent, and the area beneath the central space is reserved for photography.


Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge CB1 1PT. Tel: +44 1245 493131


The Ruskin Gallery website


University museums


The University of Cambridge's portfolio of museums spans everything from prehistoric fossils at the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences to statues from classical Greece and Rome at the Museum of Classical Archaeology to arctic explorations at the Polar Museum. Most of the museums have free entry and many have special sections and events for kids.


Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology


Pride of place at Cambridge University's Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology is given to an important collection of art from Fiji. Other exhibits include masks, statues, textiles, and ceremonial objects from Papua New Guinea, West Africa, Oceania, and the Americas.


Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3D2. Tel: +44 1223 333516


Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology website


Museum of Classical Archaeology


This quiet, off-the-beaten-track Cambridge museum has a collection of hundreds of plaster replicas of Roman and Greek statues. The star of the show is the Peplos Kore, a vividly painted copy of a statue from the Acropolis in Athens.


Faculty of Classics, Sidgwick Avenue, Cambridge CB3 9DA. Tel: +44 1223 330402


Museum of Classical Archaeology website