Cambridge Junction / Art as Unusual

Wed 1 Apr

Together we are living through the most difficult of circumstances and I continue to offer you strength and solidarity at this time.

I am writing today to all our audiences, residents, associates, board, stakeholders and staff with an update on how Cambridge Junction is working to ensure we best weather the short and longer term impacts of the pandemic and lockdown.

We are hugely grateful for the continued and emergency support of our funders, Arts Council England and Cambridge City Council, as well as that of the many trusts and foundations, companies and individuals that make our Creative Learning programmes for young people with complex need possible. We have been incredibly moved by the understanding and generosity of our audiences, members and supporters. Many people have donated to us the cost of tickets refunded due to cancellations and postponements of hundreds of performances and events, and others given us donations or joined us as members and supporters. Thank you one and all.

We remain committed to supporting artists and as far as we can will be paying fees to them for cancelled performances. We are continuing conversations with our associate artists about ways we can help them through this and are committed still to commissioning work. It is more important than ever for us to continue and grow our support for artist and producer development in what are uncertain times. We are meeting our Troop members online and looking at how to help them access emergency funding from Arts Council England. We want to be a constant friend and collaborator through all this.

We are continuing to support Total Arts, our regularly meeting group for young artists with profound and multiple learning difficulties, and meeting with them online to make work together and provide even a small amount of respite to their parents and carers. We are exploring how to share the fabulous Total Arts Film Festival - Big Trouble Little Pictures - digitally, so look out for some cracking new films made by young people from across Cambridge and Cambridgeshire over the coming weeks. We will also be sharing tools for making your own films at home and creative activities for you to do with your families while spending the longest of times together at home.

As you will no doubt understand and be aware we are unable to present shows and events at Cambridge Junction for the time being. You will see on our website that shows since 17 March and the majority across the next few months have been cancelled or postponed. Where events are not showing as postponed either we are still catching up with updating the website or in discussion with agents and promoters to reschedule dates. I'm sorry we can't give any clarity right now as to when we might reopen but be sure that you will be the first to know when we can tell you more.

As an organisation, only 20% of our income comes from funders; for the rest we are reliant on income from ticket sales, our bars and philanthropy. So you can appreciate that being closed for even a few weeks will have a massive impact on us. We are not alone in this of course and businesses across the arts, hospitality and retail sectors are facing enormous challenges.

In order to be poised to reopen with all the positive energy and vibrancy that you expect of us, we need to take difficult and significant steps. Closing the building on 18 March was the first of these. The team have been working from home since and ensuring we do everything we can in working together with artists and partners through this first phase.

As of 1 April, we are furloughing the majority of staff, both contracted and casual. I'm not going to pretend I knew what furloughing was before this situation, but essentially it means that due to the pandemic, we have a large number of staff who are unable to work but whose services we want to retain and ensure are paid through this period. We are grateful to the government for enabling the funds necessary for this. However necessary this step, it is particularly hard, as our team is so strong, supportive of each other, and passionate about our audiences and our programme. 

We are keeping a skeleton team of staff working to ensure we can stay in contact with audiences, process refunds and payments to artists, deliver our vital Creative Learning programme and continue to drive our plans for whatever comes next. 

This is a time of immense uncertainty and we are, like many others, thinking hard about and working towards how we respond and work in a future environment that might be very different. What we and you can be sure of right now is that we remain constant to our principles, that we will once again be the place where art meets life, and that audiences, artists, young people and community are what we care about above all.

You can contact me if you have any questions and I or one of our team will get back to you as soon as we can.


Matt Burman

Artistic Director, Cambridge Junction

Covid-19 Update

Tue 17 Mar

Cambridge Junction to close until the end of April.

Over the last week the staff and board have been carefully considering our response to the situation around the COVID-19 outbreak. We must do all we can to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our audiences, the artists with whom we work, and our staff. The advice provided by experts has often been conflicting, and leadership from government has been lacking. This is an unprecedented situation for everyone.

Together with our chair Nicola Buckley, and our management team, we have taken the hard decision to temporarily suspend all our programmes with immediate effect and close Cambridge Junction to the public until the end of April. We can do no less to ensure the safety of our community and all those with whom we work. We are pre-empting any decision by government to enforce closure to give confidence and what little reassurance we can to our audiences.

We will review the situation on an ongoing basis and let you know as soon as we can about our reopening. Our staff will work from home and be available to answer any queries you have about our plans.

Hope is a radical act in these times and we want to share all our hope for now and the future with you all.

We will be working with our promoters and artists to reschedule events and we will confirm new dates where possible. Our Box Office team will be in touch with all ticket holders for events between now and the end of April shortly with details of rescheduled dates, or to offer refunds or transfer of credit. Please be patient with our team as it is an extremely busy time.

Matt Burman

Artistic Director, Cambridge Junction  

Help limit the spread of COVID-19 by keeping up to date. You can find advice and resources by visiting Public Health England’s website HERE

These are unusual times and we are doing everything we can to support visiting artists and our staff through this period of closure. If you are in a position to consider making a donation or becoming a member this will help us spring back to life when our doors reopen, thank you.

Stobbs New Ideas Fund & Vision Mixers Commissions

Fri 17 Jan

Photo: Little Wimmen, Figs in Wigs | I'm Here Where Are You ,
Jackie Hagan | News News News, Children from Ridgefield Primary School

Cambridge Junction is happy to announce the call for expressions of interest in both our Stobbs New Ideas and Vision Mixers commissioning programmes.

Stobbs New Ideas Fund 2020
The Stobbs New Ideas Fund offers two artists and/or companies an opportunity to develop and present work, above-and-beyond the opportunities currently offered by Cambridge Junction. The artistic focus for the Stobbs New Ideas Fund is to support contemporary theatre, performance, live art and participatory, community and socially engaged work.

Each Stobbs New Ideas Fund commission is made up of:

  • £5,000 commission fee
  • Two weeks of residency time and space in J3 at Cambridge Junction including technical support.
  • Advice and guidance from Cambridge Junction’s programming and artist development team.
  • Opportunity to present a new work in our arts programme or at DISRUPT (the festival fka Watch Out)

Vision Mixers 2020
Vision Mixers is Cambridge Junction’s producer development initiative for 2018-22. It supports independent producers of innovative and emerging performance as the bridge between artists, venue/programme and audiences.
Cambridge Junction will offer at least two independent producers up to £20,000 each to undertake a programme of activity which:

  • Focuses on an area of emerging artistic practice and / or audience development.
  • Supports the development of producers and artists, in particular those focusing on new and experimental practices.
  • Presents a programme of work in association with Cambridge Junction.

Deadline for submissions of Expressions of Interest for both Vision Mixers and Stobbs New Ideas Fund is 12 noon on Monday 17 February 2020.

Please download the full guidelines and EOI form for further information. Submissions must use the EOI format.

Vision Mixers Guidelines/EOI Form

Stobbs New Ideas Fund Guidelines/EOI Form

Cambridge Junction is committed to commissioning and presenting a representative programme. We welcome proposal from all artists and producers including those from culturally diverse backgrounds and those who identify as disabled. Please contact us if you need additional support to apply or to deliver your proposed project.

Questions about Vision Mixers can be emailed to our artist development producer Catherine Willmore (Catherine works part time for Cambridge Junction and we recommend that you do not leave your correspondence to the last minute.)

Questions about Stobbs New Ideas Fund can be emailed to our arts producer Ema Boswood

Levitt Bernstein appointed as lead designer and architect for Cambridge Junction regeneration

Thu 14 Nov

Levitt Bernstein study

Cambridge Junction and Cambridge City Council are excited to announce the appointment of award-winning architects Levitt Bernstein for the regeneration of the city arts centre.   

Levitt Bernstein will lead the team that will draw up plans to upgrade and expand the complex’s existing performance spaces, while also creating a masterplan exploring options for new complementary uses within the leisure park site. The project, planned to complete in 2024, aims to attract new audiences to Cambridge Junction while also securing its long-term organisational resilience and financial and environmental sustainability. 

Masterplan and design

Cambridge City Council recently approved funds of £250,000 to engage a lead design team to produce a masterplan and redevelopment designs for Cambridge Junction to RIBA Stage 1. The tender for this work was issued in April 2019 and following a procurement process, overseen by Cambridge Junction and Cambridge City Council, Levitt Bernstein has been appointed as lead designers for the project.

This project will be transformational for the Cambridge Junction and the arts and cultural offer in the city. There is a clear ambition for a landmark building to be developed, that will increase accessibility, usability, sustainability and resilience as well as being architecturally important. Both Cambridge Junction and Cambridge City Council have declared Climate Emergency and environmental sustainability will be a key part of the project.

Levitt Bernstein

Levitt Bernstein has a track record of delivering special places for performance and art of all kinds for over 40 years. Amongst the projects the company has worked on are the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester, LSO St Luke’s in London, The Congress Theatre in Eastbourne and recently Colston Hall in Bristol. The team which will be working on the project were awarded ‘Masterplanning and Public Realm Architect of the Year’ in 2018 by Building Design Magazine and will led by Gary Tidmarsh, Chairman at Levitt Bernstein.

£49,900 grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund for 30th birthday reminiscence project

Thu 14 Nov

Stage diver at Senseless Things gig 16.02.93 (CREDIT Richard Chambury)

 Stage diver at Senseless Things gig 16.02.93 (Richard Chambury)

Cambridge Junction has been awarded a The National Lottery Heritage Fund grant of £49,900 to deliver Lost Nights & Love Songs, an arts and community project exploring the history of the much-loved arts centre.

Created in part as a response to the illegal party scene in the county, Cambridge Junction was built on the site of a former cattle market and opened by broadcaster John Peel in 1990 on 14th February 1990.

Over the last 30 years Cambridge Junction and its locality have changed enormously, and the large-scale project will collect people’s memories and create a physical archive of ephemera, engage with audiences and local school children and present creative displays and events. Lost Nights & Love Songs will be delivered in partnership with the Museum of Cambridge who will host the exhibition from the project in 2021. 

More information on Lost Nights & Love Songs can be found here