About Us.

Common Ground Theatre Company was set up in 2007 by Pat Whymark, Lynn Whitehead and Julian Harries, to produce new and original shows.

The company raises its money through box office receipts and through funding, mostly through the Heritage Lottery Fund, but also from The Suffolk Foundation, The Seckford Foundation and Suffolk Connexions.

Pat Whymark trained as an actor at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. She worked as and actor/singer for ten years, during which time she helped start Eastern Angles Theatre Company. She devised and composed music for seven shows and continued as their Musical Director even after leaving the company. She then began working more extensively as a MD for Bury Theatre Royal (Much Ado About Nothing, Dick Turpin’s Last Ride), Wolsey Theatre, Hornchurch Queen’s Theatre, Chester Gateway, Northampton Touring, New Perspectives, Suffolk Youth Theatre, Wolsey Youth Theatre, Romany Theatre Co. (The Ursitory, 2006. Killimengro, 2007), New Angles (Eastern Angles youth theatre - The Hostage, 2005, The Sleeping King, 2007) and Croydon Youth Theatre; with Julian Harries (see below) she has created a hugely successful series of Christmas shows for Eastern Angles. In all, she has been involved in constructing some 40 new plays, dramas, musicals and comedies. Pat now works from home as a voice-over artist; her voice work has included talking books for Dorling Kindersley, Ladybird, Mr Men and Little Miss; TV documentary narration; TV and radio commercials; in-flight TV; corporate narration; and voice prompts and recorded message systems for BT, Onetel, Barclaycard and more. Pat says her best voice-over to date is as the BT landline Operator.

Julian Harries has worked as actor, writer and director with Eastern Angles, Southwold and Frinton Theatres, besides acting at Hornchurch, old and New Wolsey (Neville’s Island, Chorus of Disapproval, and as Widow Twankey in Aladdin), Mercury Colchester, Palace Westcliff, Norwich Playhouse, Royal Northampton, Palace Watford and many others.

High points include playing Albany to Ian McKellan’s King Lear (RSC), St. John Rivers/Brocklehurst/Pilot in Jane Eyre (Shared Experience/West End), Pericles in Pericles (NT), “Bel Ami” in The Sensualist (Arts, West End) and working with Arnold Wesker on the world premiere of his Blood Libel (Norwich Playhouse).

TV: Detectorists, Spies of Warsaw, Broadside, EastEnders (twice), Doctors, Night & Day, Undercover Heart, London Bridge, To Play the King, Bomber Harris, Strife. Film: Before You Go, King Lear, Leave to Remain, The Kid (Directed by Nick Moran. Released soon).

Writing: several plays for Eastern Angles, most recently The Mystery of St Finnegan’s Elbow. For Romany Theatre Company, The Ursitory - an adaptation of the first ever Romany novel.

Our Patrons

Sylvester McCoy is probably most famous for playing Doctor Who in the long-running BBC sci-fi series between 1987 and ‘89, as well as two specials in 1993 and 1996. He features in the new feature film The Hobbit. He has performed in numerous stage plays, including the Royal Shakespeare Company’s world tour of King Lear, with Ian McKellan as Lear and our very own Julian Harries as the Duke of Albany, as well as various TV shows. He is very supportive of the work of Common Ground and enjoyed watching the London performance of Gallows Song. He is also an accomplished player of the spoons, which he has demonstrated on stage in both King Lear and the Carla Rose Company’s production of the Gilbert and Sullivan classic, The Mikado.

Eliza Carthy is a renowned folk musician and violin player, though she also plays guitar, piano and several other instruments. She has won several awards, notably Folk Singer of the Year, Best Album and Best Traditional Track at the 2003 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, and Best Group at the 2005 Folk Awards as part of Oysterband Big Session, a collaboration with numerous other artists. She started performing at the age of 13 and has created several albums in collaboration with various family members; she is the daughter of folk musicians Martin Carthy and Norma Waterson