Hobson’s Choice

Hobson’s Choice

by Harold Brighouse

23rd to 25th February 2012 | Lincoln Drill Hall

Our production of Hobson’s Choice at Lincoln Drill Hall was a record-breaker for two reasons: it was our most profitable show since we set up Common Ground in 2001 and we sold more tickets – 542 – than for any of our previous 21 plays!

Su Toogood volunteered to direct one of her favourite plays and all her hard work and dedication paid off, as the production was described by many in the audience as one of the best we have ever staged.

Su and her wardrobe manager Carolyn Jones surpassed themselves again by producing a set of costumes which would have graced a professional show, while stage manager Nick Dunnett worked miracles to design and build a set which provided three different locations and a functioning trapdoor on a budget that was counted in pennies rather than pounds!

As has become customary for Common Ground we welcomed several new members onto the stage: Jose Bruce was excellent as Alice, one of Henry Hobson’s three daughters, Simon Harvey gave a nice cameo as the lawyer Albert Prosser, and Zeph Brown and John Kirsopp entertained in the roles of Fred Beenstock and Timothy Wadlow respectively.

Other parts were played admirably by some of our more seasoned actors, including founder member Vicky Ashberry who excelled in the mammoth role of Maggie, the oldest daughter who upsets the status quo by marrying Hobson’s best bootmaker Will – expertly played by Jason Hippisley. John Leighton brought the right amount of lugubrious humour to the central role of Hobson.

Henry Horatio Hobson John Leighton
Maggie Hobson Vicky Ashberry
Alice Hobson Jose Bruce
Vickey Hobson Holly Eggboro
Albert Prosser Simon Harvey
Mrs Hepworth Ruth Andrews
Timothy Wadlow John Kirsopp
William Mossop Jason Hippisley
Jim Heeler John Beverley
Ada Figgins Lisa Hewitt Smith
Fred Beenstock Zeph Brown
Dr Macfarlane Christopher Adams
Director Su Toogood
Producer Carolyn Jones
Stage Manager Nick Dunnett
Lighting Ed Purle & Chloe Canton
Set design & construction Nick Dunnett, Kevin Brown, Adam Holman,
Gemma Crane & Andrew Simms
Stage crew Nick Dunnett, Kevin Brown, Dave Asher, Lisa Hewitt Smith, Adam Holman, Karen Gerlant, Sasha Drennan, Faye Jones, Andy Nisevic, Rachel Taylor & Emma Taylor
Wardrobe Carolyn Jones, Gemma Crane, Marie Leighton & Su Toogood
Properties Carolyn Jones, Gemma Crane & Faye Jones
Programme Jez Ashberry
Publicity Jez Ashberry
Photography Rob Brookes, Photos4All
Front of House Juli Charlton, Laura Davies, Elaine Howell, Dave Milling,
Ros Roe & Sheila Thomas

Gigi

Gigi

Adapted for the stage by Anita Loos

From the novella by Colette

9th to 11th June 2011 | Lincoln Drill Hall

Director Vicky Ashberry transported audiences back to the Belle Époque of 19th-century Paris with our summer 2011 production of Gigi.

Colette’s novel was made internationally famous by the musical screen adaptation which starred Leslie Caron and Maurice Chevalier. This stage version, which starred Audrey Hepburn as Gigi on Broadway, has no songs but it does retain the period charm of the original book.

The production was notable for introducing 14-year-old Megan Brewer to audiences in the title role. Megan is a veteran of school productions but this was her first experience treading the boards in an adult show, and she passed the challenging test with flying colours.

We welcomed back Irene North in the comic role of Aunt Alicia and cast Ruth Andrews for the first time as Gigi’s mother, Madame Alvarez.

Excellent costumes and an inventive set helped to recreate the stylish era of fin de siècle Paris, and while the play was a light, comic affair the underlying themes of male power and female emancipation were never far from the surface.

The play was undoubtedly an artistic, if not a commercial, success. The Lincolnshire Echo described Megan Brewer’s performance as ‘brilliant’ and the set as ‘elaborate but very impressive’ and declared that ‘the entire show was packed with laughs’.

Gigi Megan Brewer
Gaston Lachaille Stephen Gillard
Madame Alvarez Ruth Andrews
Alicia de St Ephlam Irene North
Andrée Sasha Drennan
Sidonie, the maid Holly Eggboro
Victor, the valet Christopher Adams
Director Vicky Ashberry
Set design Vicky Ashberry
Stage Manager Nick Dunnett
Lighting Chloe Canton
Incidental music George Thompson
Stage crew Nick Dunnett, Lisa Hewitt Smith, Martin Noble, Adam Howlett, Cathrine Herrick, Jez Ashberry
Wardrobe Vicky Ashberry, Marie Leighton,
Ruth Andrews, Su Toogood, Carolyn Jones
Properties Carolyn Jones, Su Toogood
Programme Jez Ashberry
Publicity Jez Ashberry
Photography Courtney Louise Howson
Front of House Laura Davies

Great Expectations

Great Expectations

by Charles Dickens
Adapted for the stage by Nick Ormerod and Declan Donnellan

25th to 27th November 2010 | Lincoln Drill Hall

Our 20th production was an ambitious one: an adaptation commissioned by the RSC of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations.

It required a cast of 27, countless changes of Victorian costume, complex sound and light effects, original music and a set which had to transport our audience to the Essex marshes, a prison, a forge, a country mansion, a London lawyer’s office, the river Thames by night and much else besides.

Director Dave Lintin, ably assisted by producer Su Toogood and a hard-working cast and crew, achieved a production which ranks among the best Common Ground has staged.

The play also gave us an opportunity to welcome a number of new members who made a name for themselves on stage, including Dom McAndrew as Bentley Drummle, Adrian Snow as Herbert, John Beverley as Magwitch and Janet Marshall as Miss Havisham.

And we mustn’t forget youngsters Alfie Lewis and Emma Street who acquitted themselves admirably as young Pip and young Estella.

Young Pip Alfie Lewis
Magwitch John Beverley
Mrs Joe Vicky Ashberry
Joe Gargey Tony Smith
Compeyson John Leighton
Mr Pumblechook Ian Smith
Mr Hubble Dave Hewitt
Mrs Hubble Eileen Finningley
Wopsle Graham King
Sergeant Dom McAndrew
Young Estella Emma Street
Miss Havisham Janet Marshall
Young Herbet Jacob Grantham
Pip

Steve Gillard

Orlick

Dave Hewitt

Biddy Lisa Hewitt Smith
Mr Jaggers Tim Bradford
Petitioners Dave Hewitt, Honor & Jacob Grantham
Wemmick John Leighton
Herbert Adrian Snow
Bentley Drummle Dom McAndrew
Startop Dave Asher
Molly Alison Clubley
Estella Alex Thornton
Watchman Dave Hewitt
Young Magwitch Jacob Grantham
Counsel Graham King
Beadle  Ian Smith
Officer Dom McAndrew
Bailiff Ian Smith
Company Helen Fleshbourne, Karen Ryan, Sheila Thomas, Holly Eggbro, Katie Gray, Su Toogood
Director & Stage Manager David Lintin
Co-Director & Producer Su Toogood
Assistant Stage Manager Nick Dunnett
Lighting Ed Purle
Sound and original music Mark Scales
Set Dave Lintin, Pete Swift & family
Wardrobe Carolyn Jones, Su Toogood, Anne Culling
Props Carolyn Jones, Su Toogood, Anne Culling, Ian Smith
Programme Jez Ashberry
Publicity Jez Ashberry
Front of House Jez Ashberry

Be My Baby

Be My Baby

by Amanda Whittington

7th to 8th May 2010 | Croft Street Community Centre, Lincoln

Be My Baby is a short period piece featuring an all-female cast and a nostalgic 1960s sounddtrack. For our small-scale spring / summer production in 2010 we returned to our spiritual home – Croft Street Community Centre in Lincoln – and paired up this touching play with a cabaret-style selection of music and comic turns.

Dave Lintin directed the first half of the evening, bringing together many of the women who had made their Common Ground bow in Cider With Rosie. Alex Thornton took the lead role of Mary, the teenager who falls pregnant and has to give her baby up for adoption, while newcomer Val Petty played the matron at the home for unmarried mothers.

The second half of the evening featured comic monologues by members past and present, a tribute to Flanders and Swann and a guest appearance by folk singer and musician John Pape.

Writing in the Lincolnshire Echo Sheila Jamieson described the show as ‘a sparkling night out’ which was ‘the perfect antidote to the damp weather’.

Mary Alex Thornton
Mrs Adams Vicky Ashberry
Matron Val Petty
Queenie Lisa Hewitt Smith
Dolores Katie Gray
Norma Holly Eggboro
Director Dave Lintin
Producer Su Toogood
Stage Manager Shelagh Gillingham
Sound & light Dave Lintin
Set Dave Lintin
Publicity and programme Jez Ashberry
Wardrobe Carolyn Jones, Su Toogood, Ann Culling

An Inspector Calls

An Inspector Calls

by JB Priestley

29th to 31st October 2009 Bishop Greaves Theatre, Bishop Grosseteste University College, Lincoln

Common Ground Theatre Company had a new director, four newcomers on stage and a brand new venue when we staged the JB Priestley classic ‘An Inspector Calls’ in autumn 2009.

Tony Smith, who had taken a leading role in ‘Cider With Rosie’ in the summer, took his place in the director’s chair for our first appearance at the Bishop Greaves Theatre at Bishop Grosseteste University College in Lincoln.

Appearing on stage with us for the first time were the inimitable Mary Scott and Nicola Stocks and Stephen Gillard, most recently seen appearing with Indulgence Theatre and the Lincoln Shakespeare Company respectively.

The new venue proved a great success, with 470 people attending over four nights – including a special performance for students from Lincoln Minster School.

The Market Rasen Mail described the production as ‘one of Common Ground Theatre Company’s greatest success stories to date’ – and in financial as well as artistic terms it certainly was.

Mr Arthur Birling Maurice Raphael
Mrs Sybil Birling Mary Scott
Sheila Birling Nicola Stocks
Eric Birling Luke Niemic
Gerald Croft Stephen Gillard
Edna, the maid Helen Fleshbourne
Inspector Goole Christopher Adams
Director Tony Smith
Assistant Director Su Toogood
Producer Su Toogood
Stage Manager Alex Thornton
Crew & props Kate Townsend, Nick Dunnett
Wardrobe Carolyn Jones, Su Toogood
Sound & lighting Bill Bartlett
Set Tony Smith, Bill Bartlett, Dave Lintin
Publicity & programme Jez Ashberry
Poster design Mark Scales
Front of house Lucy Housego, Ray Longmore