Dark Sublime

Dark Sublime

by Michael Dennis

11th to 13th April 2024 | Broadbent Theatre, Wickenby

It was a bold decision for us to stage an unknown play about bad sci-fi and navigating love and friendship in the LGBTQ+ community – but we’re glad we did, because Dark Sublime was one of our best and most memorable productions.

Director Vicky Ashberry first saw Dark Sublime in London in 2019, chiefly because she’s a fan of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and the lead role of Marianne was being played in this world premiere by Marina Sirtis, aka Counsellor Deanna Troi.

Dark Sublime is the title of the 1980s TV sci-fi series in which the lead character Marianne starred many years ago; nowadays her star is on the wane, but she’s reminded of her days as the villainous Ragana when she meets Oli, a young fan who’s as lost in unrequited love as she is.

The play gave us some great roles for older women and the chance to show off some fantastic sound and lighting effects as the action switched from the present day to action scenes from the TV series.

As is often the case with Common Ground, we welcomed a number of new faces: four of the six actors cast in Dark Sublime were completely new to our group, including James Ross playing the rakish Bob (Vykar in the TV show), the ship’s computer played by John Edmondson, Suzanne played by Jemma De Ath, and newcomer Bianca Hutchings, who pulled off the difficult trick of playing the young Oli with panache.

Sadly we didn’t attract large audiences, but those who supported us seemed to enjoy the show, and we got some very good reviews!

* * * * *

“I was a little bit sceptical reading the highlights and the sci-fi element of this play before heading out to Wickenby last night in the dark to see the opening night of Dark Sublime at the Broadbent Theatre, but I needn’t have worried. The play was moving, funny, dramatic and had quite a bit of humour.

“It was fabulous to see one of our previous CAODS actors Pamela Marnie (most recently Sweeney Todd), plus some other friends that many will remember from the Jesus Christ Superstar days in 2015 and a number of other great actors come together to bring such a story to life. Not so much sci-fi but a rare personal drama about an older gay woman trying to find her place and identity in a changing world, with plenty of laughs – particularly aimed at the world of showbiz – and some interesting questions about the nature of ‘fandom’.

“Pamela Marnie was brilliant, and I take my ‘Sweeney wig’ off to her for remembering all those lines while drinking so much alcohol (or hopefully not alcohol) on stage! It was lovely to also see Jemma De Ath and Anita Quigley. In fact the whole cast was brilliant, despite Vykar making me jump coming through the side door!” – Eira Hammond

* * * * *

“I was there as an audience member last night!  WOW!… Love… love… loved – Dark Sublime.  Outstanding performance by all the cast.  ‘Performance’ undersells each and every one playing their ‘believable’ character; they didn’t ‘perform’, they were their character! 

“This beautiful theatre so deserves to be supported.  It’s like a tardis.  The exterior in no way reflects the interior – a quaint, beautiful, real theatre when you first step inside!  

 “I absolutely loved the play. I don’t know what I expected but it wasn’t that! It was so well performed and executed by everyone on stage!” – Sam

* * * * *

“This show is absolutely amazing!”

“An excellent performance”

“Fantastic show – don’t miss out!”

“The show was absolutely fabulous last night and I can’t wait to see it again. The cast is incredible.”

Kate / President

Anita Quigley

Marianne / Ragana

Pamela Marnie

Vykar / Bob

James Ross

John Edmondson

Oli / Vol

Bianca Hutchings

Suzanne / Jaylin

Jemma De Ath
Director Vicky Ashberry
Wardrobe Vicky Ashberry
Lighting Patrick Markham
Stage Manager Jez Ashberry
Sound effects Vicky Ashberry
Set & properties Vicky Ashberry, Su Toogood
Programme & publicity Jez Ashberry
Stage crew Su Toogood, Carolyn Jones
Photography Headshot Toby

Ladies Down Under

Ladies Down Under

by Amanda Whittington

11th to 13th May 2023 | Broadbent Theatre, Wickenby

The cast and crew who staged Ladies’ Day in May 2022 enjoyed it so much that director Su Toogood couldn’t resist getting the old gang together for an encore!

In Ladies Down Under our four fish filleters spend their winnings on the trip of a lifetime to Australia, where Jan aims to be reunited with Joe, their old boss.

Kate Bartlett, Anita Quigley, Fraya Grove, Nicole Doyle and David Hitchings all reprised their roles from the first play in the series, while some new faces were added to the cast, including debutant Jay Harrison.

Director Su Toogood employed a minimalist set which provided a counterpoint to the visual fireworks in the finale set during the Sydney gay and lesbian Mardi Gras.

An enjoyable production for cast, crew and audiences alike!


Pearl                                      Anita Quigley Director & Producer                                    Su Toogood
Jan                                         Kate Bartlett Assistant Director                                        Anita Quigley
Shelley                                  Fraya Grove Wardrobe                                                      Carolyn Jones, Su Toogood
Linda                                     Nicole Doyle Set & props                                                   Bill & Kate Bartlett, Su Toogood,
Joe                                         David Hitchings Sound & lighting                                          Kev Gillingham, Andrew Newton
Tom, a firefighter               John Leighton Stage crew                                                    Peter Dodds, Andy Nisevic
Bill, an air steward             Martin Noble Programme / publicity                                Jez Ashberry
Ben, an air steward            Andy Nisevic
Shane, a surfer                    David Hitchings
Charlie, a hippie                  John Leighton
Danny, a traveller               Jay Harrison
Koala Bare, a drag queen  David Hitchings
Bondi Bitch, a drag queen Martin Noble




by Patrick Hamilton

2nd to 4th March 2023 | Broadbent Theatre, Wickenby

The term ‘gaslighting’ has never been more current. It describes a manipulative tactic in which a person plants seeds of uncertainty in someone’s mind in order to gain power and control over them.

The origin of the word used in this sense can be found in the play Gaslight, written in 1938 but set in Victorian London. The villain Jack Manningham is brought to justice in part because his wife Bella sees the gaslights in her home going up and down, a curiosity which leads her to suspect her husband is up to no good.

Our first attempt at staging this tense thriller in the autumn of 2022 was defeated by several bouts of Covid-19 among the cast, so we postponed the production until the following spring. With a new Jack Manningham in the male lead role and a short rehearsal schedule, we had to pull out all the stops to make sure the play was ready for an audience at the beginning of March.

As it turned out we needn’t have worried, as the experienced cast rose to the occasion, as did our set builder and stage manager Nick Dunnett, whose Common Ground swansong this was. His ingenious set drew a good deal of admiration, featuring as it did a realistic fire in the grate and two authentic-looking gas lamps which glowed and faded as the plot required. 

Jason Hippisley brought a deliciously sinister playfulness to the role of the villain Jack, contrasting his wicked levity with occasional flashes of frightening menace. Laura Turner, making her Common Ground debut, skilfully portrayed a young woman who fears she is losing her mind but who triumphs in the end over her own doubts and her husband’s evil plan. Jez Ashberry brought experience and gravitas to the role of the retired detective Sergeant Rough, and Vicky Ashberry and Flo Harrison introduced some comic relief with pitch-perfect performances as the domestic help.

Credit must go to our director Julia Ross who overcame numerous obstacles before staging one of our most memorable productions. 

Jack Manningham Jason Hippisley
Bella Manningham Laura Turner
Nancy, the maid Florence Harrison
Elizabeth, the housekeeper Vicky Ashberry
Muffin seller, Constable Andy Nisevic
Sergeant Rough Jez Ashberry
Director Julia Ross
Producer Su Toogood
Stage Manager Nick Dunnett
Stage crew Andy Nisevic
Set Nick Dunnett
Sound & lighting Andrew Newton, Nick Dunnett
Wardrobe & props Su Toogood, Carolyn Jones
Programme / publicity Jez Ashberry
Poster / photography Laura Turner

Ladies’ Day

Ladies’ Day

by Amanda Whittington

26th to 28th May 2022 | Broadbent Theatre, Wickenby

After a hiatus of two and a half years caused by the global pandemic we returned to the Broadbent Theatre for the first time since 2008 to stage the well loved comedy drama drama Ladies’ Day.

Covid-19 put paid to our first attempts to stage this play in both 2020 and 2021, so it was a great relief to everyone involved when we finally got the production onto the stage.

Su Toogood did an able job directing an excellent cast, who interpreted the story of four fish factory workers from Hull who go for a day at the races looking to make their fortunes. All four female cast members contributed to an excellent and often hilarious ensemble performance, while special mention must be made of David Hitchings, who demonstrated his versatility by taking on all four male roles.

Audience numbers were healthy – we attracted 210 paying customers over three nights – and the production made a healthy profit which was certainly good news for the company coffers!



Pearl Anita Quigley
Shelley Fraya Grove
Jan Kate Bartlett
Linda Nicole Doyle
Joe David Hitchings
Fred John Leighton
Jim David Hitchings
Patrick David Hitchings
Kevin John Leighton
Barry David Hitchings



Director Su Toogood
Stage Manager Elaine Howell
Stage crew Su Toogood, Carolyn Jones, Nick Dunnett
Sound and lighting Tegh Ahluwalia, Andrew Newton
Wardrobe Su Toogood and cast
Properties Su Toogood and cast
Programme / publicity Jez Ashberry


Waiting for Godot

Waiting for Godot

by Samuel Beckett

6th to 8th November 2019 | The Room Upstairs, Lincoln Drill Hall

Several members of Common Ground have long harboured ambitions to produce Samuel Beckett’s 20th-century classic Waiting for Godot, but none has dared – until now!

We grasped the nettle in 2019 and invited David Thew to direct a play he has long admired – a play many people regard having changed the face of modern theatre forever.

As most of our members are women we sometimes have difficulty casting all-male plays, but Beckett’s estate will not allow any gender-blind casting when it comes to his masterpiece. We were fortunate therefore that two of our long-standing members, John Leighton and Chris Adams, were keen to audition, and they produced excellent performances as the two tramps Vladimir and Estragon respectively.

Our chairman Jez Ashberry played Pozzo, the overblown and pompous slave owner who is nevertheless pathetically tied to his much-abused servant Lucky (played by newcomer Anthony Sexton). The smaller role of the Boy was played by Lincoln College student Dylan Hewis.

We’re pleased to say that Godot was both a commercial and an artistic success, playing for three nights to packed audiences in the intimate Room Upstairs at Lincoln Drill Hall.

Though many people (especially those who have never seen it) consider Godot to be a gloomy and difficult play, we managed to bring out the humour in the language and the visual gags at the same time as giving voice to the playwright’s essentially bleak view on man’s lot on Earth. In doing so we demonstrated that community theatre groups should not be afraid of tackling plays which are thought of as ‘challenging’ and which are rarely seen on the amateur stage.


“It could be seen as a bold, even reckless, thing for amateurs to stage this piece.  Your production was a triumph.  The clear and consistent characterisations from the actors; the maturity of performance from each one: these raised the level to something above the amateur level.

“May I offer my congratulations to you all.  I shall certainly look out for your future productions.” – Greg Wright via Facebook.

“Superb performance by Common Ground Theatre Company of Waiting for Godot at Lincoln Drill Hall.” – Mary Atkinson via Facebook.

“‘Godot was superb, and benefits greatly from intimate setting (really hard not to help Lucky when he fell at my feet!). A privilege to have seen such fine acting. I now see it as marriage between Everyman and Alice in Wonderland. Recommending to other friends who may not have booked yet.” – Anon.

Vladimir John Leighton
Estragon Christopher Adams
Pozzo Jez Ashberry
Lucky Anthony Sexton
Boy Dylan Hewis
Director David Thew
Assistant Director Su Toogood
Technician David Thew
Set / Stage Manager Nick Dunnett
Costumes Su Toogood, Carolyn Jones
Properties Su Toogood, Carolyn Jones
Programme & Publicity Jez Ashberry
Front of House Su Toogood, Vicky Ashberry,
Elaine Howell