Hello and welcome to Carlton Theatre Group (formerly Carlton Dramatic Society) or just Carlton for short! We are Wimbledon's longest running amateur dramatics group and we're still going strong 90 years later!
The Carlton Dramatic Society was formed in 1927 by a group of theatre enthusiasts based at St Barnabas Church in Wimbledon. The Society flourished during those early years, presenting two major productions a year and eventually finding a permanent home in the newly built Wimbledon Public Hall. War time brought a cessation of activity, but on reformation in 1945 the Society embarked on a series of major productions, often playing to capacity in the vast theatre.
Undoubtedly, the highlight came in 1963 when the Group performed the morality play Everyman in St George’s Chapel Windsor in the presence of Her Majesty The Queen and many members of the Royal Family – the first and only time a dramatic presentation has been mounted in that magnificent church. This was followed in the following year by the production of The Vigil in the main house of Wimbledon Theatre – the only time an amateur group has presented a straight play in that venue.
We began a new chapter in 2015 when we made the huge decision to change our name from Carlton Dramatic Society to Carlton Theatre Group but we did not change our approach to putting on brilliant shows and having a laugh at the same time.
Like most other amateur theatre groups, we are run by a group of motivated volunteers who are members of our group. You can reach them by emailing
Chair - Joe Dillon
Joe has been Chair of Carlton since July 2019, following on from his previous role as Media Communications Officer.
Following an audition for November 2018’s production of The Winter’s Tale, Joe joined Carlton to play the part of Cleomenes, a lord of Sicilia sent to the island of Delphos to consult Apollo’s Oracle. Since then he has played Roger, a ploughboy turned jittery servant in She Stoops to Conquer, and Amersham, faithful lord of King Henry in Henry The Tenth (Part Seven), as part of Life After Shakespeare.
Away from the stage, Joe enjoys a drink in the pub after rehearsals (or at any time really), watching a variety of sports such as football and snooker, playing video games and, of course, performing Chair duties for Carlton.
Stage Management - Jackie Chapman
Jackie joined Carlton in 2012, looking for a friendly amateur theatre company for whom she could help backstage. Carlton certainly delivered, and she has made lasting friendships within the group.
She has been Stage Manager for the majority of Carlton's productions since 2012. There have been many laughs along the way, and experiences that could not have happened anywhere else, including having to take responsibility for First World War guns for Accrington Pals, helping an actress disappear from the stage in The Seance, and handling and tracking a total of 96 separate props for Calendar Girls.
Jackie would encourage anybody to get involved backstage if, like her, you love theatre, but acting is not your thing. It's very rewarding to be part of a creative team.
Vice-Chair - Patrick Briône
Patrick has been a member of Carlton since the 2015 show Pandemonium, since which time he's played roles including the Fool in Wyrd Sisters, Jeffrey Fairbrother in Hi-de-Hi and Malvolio in Twelfth Night. He also directed the Spring 2019 production of She Stoops to Conquer.
His interest in theatre dates back to his school days when, in Year 3, he was cast as the arch-villain, 'Norbert Nick-it', in his school production of Tom Thumb.
By day he works as Head of Policy & Research at the Involvement and Participation Association and has a love of tabletop role-playing and other board games.
Marketing and Publicity - Elke Desanghere
Elke joined Carlton as a member in 2015, playing Eleanor Tilney in the summer production of Northanger Abbey . Since then she's taken on roles in Time and the Conways (Kay Conway), The Winter's Tale (Queen Hermione) and more recently Twelfth Night (Maria).
After a short break she became part of the committee again in 2019, putting her work experience to good use. Whether it's updating the website, running our Facebook page, sending newsletters or designing programmes for productions, she loves getting creative.
When she's not spending all her time on Carlton, Elke heads out to volunteer at Evelina Children's Hospital or to a dance class. On nights she stays in, it's usually to enjoy a good book (or twelve) or satisfy her Netflix addiction.
Membership - Richard Vaughan-Payne
Richard Vaughan-Payne (RV-P) has been in 13 Carlton main productions since he joined in 2009.
He directed The Private Ear and The Public Eye for Carlton at the TARA Theatre in 2011. For him, his character highlights have been: randy Dr Pinchard in Sauce for the Goose 2010, spiritualist Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in The Séance 2013, John (dead by page 23) in Calendar Girls 2013, ghostly Sergeant Major Rivers in The Accrington Pals 2014, mysterious Bub in Pandemonium 2015, and faithful Camillo in The Winter’s Tale 2018.
He is looking forward to many more chances to put on facial hair.
Social and Fundraising - Phil Wilcox
Phil has been a member of Carlton for four years.
Favourite part during that time, apart from the clown in Henry The Tenth (Part Seven), has been Hi-di-Hi's cantankerous "Punch and Judy Man", Mr Partridge, who hates children!
Phil's first show with the company was the well-received original musical drama Pandemonium. His ambition is for Carlton to take on some more musicals in the future!