When the history of 2020 comes to be written, it will no doubt be described as the year of the pandemic. The effects of Covid-19 have been far reaching, and those of us who are engaged in producing drama, whether professional or amateur, have been hit particularly hard by social distancing rules and the requirement to wear face masks. As a result, theatres around the country went dark in late March 2020. Most theatres rely upon minimum 70-80% capacity audiences, and for the Wychwood Players this translates into average audiences of at least 80 per night over a three night run. On a Friday or Saturday night we often comfortably exceed Box Office sales of 100 tickets, even hitting 140 on certain memorable occasions. The current restrictions in place in the New Beaconsfield Hall limit capacity in the main Hall to 40, and it is sadly not economically viable for us to produce a play under these conditions, given that the costs of staging a play are generally at least £2,500.
In March Wychwood Players were in the late stages of rehearsing Play On!, a comedy by Rick Abbot about a group of actors putting on a play, resulting in mayhem. This would have been our 61st production since formation of the group in 1997, but everything was brought to an abrupt halt when lockdown was imposed and the play had to be mothballed.
This is the hilarious story of a theatre group trying desperately to put on a play in spite of maddening interference from a haughty author who keeps revising the script. Act I is a rehearsal of the dreadful show, Act II is the near disastrous dress rehearsal, and the final act is the actual performance, in which anything that can go wrong, does.
When the author decides to give a speech on the state of the modern theatre during the curtain calls, the audience is treated to a madcap climax and a thoroughly hilarious romp. Even the sound effects reap their share of laughter.
The Wychwood Players are a thriving amateur dramatics group based in the beautiful village of Shipton-under-Wychwood. We normally perform two main productions every year at the New Beaconsfield Hall, which has been our base since it first opened.
New members are warmly welcomed and are able to take part in many activities. There are numerous opportunities for involvement in stage craft, backstage work, or front of house. The only limits are those of time and energy! If you are interested in finding out more, please see our contact page.