It’s a Wonderful Life

by Mary Elliot Nelson and Ian B Smith
Adapted from an original short story by Philip Van Doren Stern

16th and 17th December 2004
Lincoln Drill Hall
18th and 19th December 2004
Nettleham Village Hall

Arguably the most popular Christmas movie of all time, ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ began life as a short story penned by a hopeful writer and has now been adapted as a play for the theatre. Ian Smith chose this stage version of Frank Capra’s movie masterpiece when he made his directorial debut – an ambitious choice but one which was fully justified.

The production broke new ground in a number of ways: it was Common Ground’s first appearance at the Drill Hall, Lincoln’s new community arts venue; it was the first time we had staged a play at two different venues (we took it to Nettleham Village Hall for two evening performances and a matinee); with 22 actors it was the largest cast we had assembled; and it was our most ambitious production yet in terms of the size of the budget and the technical challenges of the set and the sound and lighting cues.

In the end we pulled it off, though not before what was left of the director’s hair turned grey. The show was well received, attracted over 400 spectators during a run of five performances – easily a record for Common Ground Theatre Company – made a small profit and significantly raised the profile of the company.

The Lincolnshire Echo praised the ‘strong performances’ which ‘brought to life the feel-good story’ while the Lincoln Chronicle rated the show as ‘a production which took time to thaw but warmed into a spirited re-telling of a Christmas classic’.

Narrator Jane Bird
Mary Bailey Jennifer Martin
Bert / Harry Martin Noble
Mr Martini Keith Archer
Mr Gower David Stubbs
Uncle Billy John Reeve
George Bailey Jez Ashberry
Clarice Oddbody Su Toogood
Violet Bick Sheryl Tribe
Sam Wainwright Jason Hippisley
Jethro Potter Maurice Raphael
Mrs Thompson Francesca Gugliotta
Mrs Davies Julie Cartwright
Mrs Randall Clair Dewison
Mrs Mueller Rebecca Coulton
Ruth Dakin Bailey Jenny Davidson
Charlie / Mr Welch
Mrs Kaspowski Shana
Mrs Martini Alex Gray
Zuzu Bailey Sadie Davis
Jeanie Bailey Sophie Davis
Tom Bailey Alexander Ashberry


Director Ian Smith
Stage manager Graham Botterill
Sound and lighting Aaron Spowage
Props and costume Carolyn Jones, Su Toogood
Set construction Edd Simpson, Ian Smith
Stage crew Charles Spowage, Margaret Botterill, Steve
Guilliatt, Richard Jones
Front of house Charles Newby
Publicity Jez Ashberry
Programme Jez Ashberry
Poster photography Andrew Weekes
Incidental piano music Anne Nugent