About Wychwood Players

Dudley was perhaps best known to most people locally as a stalwart of Wychwood Players, the drama group that he joined in 1998, shortly after its formation. It is no exaggeration to say that over a period of 25 years he made a greater contribution to the success of the thriving group that exists today than anyone else. Not only did he direct 15 productions during that time, but he performed in 18 plays. On other occasions he took on the job of Producer, Publicity, Front of House Manager and even, on one occasion, Prompt. As a talented actor he will be remembered, among others, for Neville’s Island (2005), Heroes (2009), Men of the World (2010) and, in 2012, playing the eponymous Mr Toad in Toad of Toad Hall.

He was Wychwood Players Chairman for 15 years, standing down in 2020, just before the first Covid lockdown, and with his boundless enthusiasm, love for and knowledge of the theatre he was an inspiration to everyone. As a former Primary School Head Teacher, Dudley was a brilliant facilitator and mentor, as well as an able administrator, and he always drew out the best performances from his cast when seated in the director’s chair.

As recently as June 2023, despite suffering increasingly debilitating ill health from cancer, Dudley directed two One Act Plays, including the world premiere of Women Only, which was attended by the author, David Tristram.

Dudley lived for many years in Fifield with his wife Gill, who survives him, their daughter Hannah and his beloved cats. Having retired early from teaching, both Dudley and Gill developed a shared passion for antiques, most particularly china. As a regular dealer, Dudley was frequently to be found in the sale rooms, auction houses and at the NEC Antiques Fair in Birmingham. His knowledge and expertise with antiques was legendary, and he was generous in the support and encouragement that he gave to his many friends and colleagues in the business.

Another important strand in Dudley’s life was his passion for the environment and the natural world. He and Gill enjoyed many walks around the Cotswolds, and Dudley’s natural curiosity led to him becoming a true expert in the flora and fauna of the area. He loved his garden, pruning the roses or tending the dahlias, his favourite flowers, and he was proud of his prolific vegetable plot. At twilight he would be absorbed in watching the bats or swifts, and delighting in the constellations of the clear night sky.

Dudley was truly one of a kind. The lives of anyone who knew him will have been enriched by the experience, but most of all he was a wonderful loving and supportive husband and Dad.

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