When it comes to high quality, accessible theatre, Lincoln’s Common Ground Theatre Company is hard to beat. An amateur theatre group whose speciality has been bringing like-minded people together for the last 14 years, they are currently in rehearsals for their 28th production and it’s as ambitious as ever.
The Fisherman’s Wife is described by director, Vicky Ashberry as: “a fantastical fable about a young married couple who are having problems with their marriage which are eventually resolved in a very unusual way.” A cast of five includes the couple, Cooper and Vanessa, a travelling salesman, an octopus and a squid – who appear in human form. Intriguing to say the least.
The play was written by US writer, Steve Yockey and this production is its UK premiere. Vicky’s proud of that and the fact that there are three new members in the cast. The Common Ground Theatre company welcomes anyone who wants to get involved; their members are from all kinds of backgrounds and Vicky says just come along and audition for one of its productions. “Every production includes new members,” she says, “we’ve never done a production which hasn’t included them.”
Rehearsals are well underway and I went along to meet some of the cast. Matt Noakes is playing the Octopus and Fraya Grove plays Vanessa, Cooper’s wife – the title role. Neither of them have worked with Common Ground Theatre before but both are thoroughly enjoying the experience. “The play is so funny and there’s great chemistry between the actors,” says Matt. Fraya studied theatre at university and is itching to get on stage again. “Rehearsals are so much fun, we’re always laughing and they’re intense and fast-paced too because we have to fit a lot into a short time.”
As well as directing the production, Vicky has also been involved in making props, including puppets which are all part of the play. Some of the challenges of this production are the fact that it’s very physical theatre, it involves a lot of props and comedy itself can be difficult. “For a small production it’s quite complex so there’s a lot of elements which have to be choreographed quite carefully. Comedy is very difficult, I think, and farce is particularly difficult, so it’s a tricky production to both direct and act in.”
Vicky says audiences should: “expect the unexpected,” from The Fisherman’s Wife, “don’t come with any preconceptions about what you might experience and just enjoy the show. It’s a very, very funny play.”
The Fisherman’s Wife contains adult themes and language and is suitable for over 16s only.
It’s being performed at The Room Upstairs, Lincoln Drill Hall from Thursday April 30th to May 2nd (7.30 pm).
Here is director, Vicky Ashberry, and some of the cast speaking to ArtLinc about the production.