Meet The Committee

  • Phillip Croxson
  • Anthony Gofton
  • Ralph Wears
  • John Drew
  • Rachel Read
  • Tony Mellerick
  • Richard Hartley
  • Mandyrae Jessey
  • Phillip Croxson

    Phillip Croxson

    Chairman & Treasurer, Actor

    Phillip was a founder member of Wychwood Players, appearing as the eponymous Gosforth in Gosforth’s Fete by Alan Ayckbourn in the old Beaconsfield Hall in 1997.

    His lifelong love of amateur dramatics was kindled when, aged 17, he appeared in the leading role of Thomas a Becket in a school production of Murder in the Cathedral, by T S Elliot. Subsequently, over the years he performed in productions too numerous to mention with drama groups in Naphill, Nr High Wycombe, Colchester and Farnham, before moving to the Wychwoods in the 1990s.

    Phillip joined the committee of Wychwood Players, holding the position of Treasurer for several years, before becoming Secretary, and then again resuming the post of Treasurer in 2012. In 2020 Phillip succeeded Dudley Thompson as Chairman, and, in the absence of a willing volunteer, he also retains the Treasurership. For many years he has also organised the bar for the Group’s productions.

    Having appeared in numerous plays with Wychwood Players it is not easy to select highlights, but the part of failed schoolmaster Crocker Harris in Rattigan’s The Browning Version was a particularly favourite role in 2006. Other memorable productions were Outside Edge, Oh What a Lovely War, Hay Fever, Neville’s Island, Visiting Hour, Sandcastles, Flint Street Nativity, Table Manners, Toad of Toad Hall, Hound of the Baskervilles, Allo Allo (as Herr Flick), Dangerous Corner, Wuthering Heights, Vicar of Dibley, Blackadder (as Captain Darling), Laburnum Grove and several pantomimes, including two turns as the pantomime dame in Dick Whittington & his Puss in Boots (2001) and Treasure Island (2007).

  • Anthony Gofton

    Anthony Gofton

    Committee & Sound

    I've been in the professional audio business for over thirty years in studio, broadcast and live sound. I've lived in the area for longer.

    I was snared into the Wychwood Players via my youngest son who was in the BODS group run by a certain Mandyrae Jessey When he told her I was 'in sound' Mandy asked me to help out with the Players and run the sound effects and music for what turned out to be an award-winning production for the Players - Another Fine Mess. I've been involved in amateur theatre all my life so this was a welcome introduction to a wonderful group and immense fun. I love all things audio, so one of the highlights for me was being able to adapt, produce, record, edit and mix our first audio drama - Resting - and publish it as a podcast. It is my hope we can do more. I also enjoy video editing too so I've been introduced to the Players' extensive archive and I've been putting together showcases and created our YouTube channel.

    Being on the Committee gives me a chance to give something back to the Players and contribute to the community. It is a privilege be part of a friendly and professional team whose common purpose is to bring people entertainment.

  • Ralph Wears

    Ralph Wears

    PR, Publicity, Actor

    I received Drama Training in Guildford, Surrey and have taken part in Drama Workshop training run by Sarah Methuen in Stratford upon Avon.

    I have acted with the Wychwood Players since 2013 having previously been involved with Salford Players in a number of one act plays and reviews.

    I have particularly enjoyed the Alan Ayckbourn plays we have performed, especially ‘Bedroom Farce’. This was quite a physical challenge up and down ladders and trying to stay awake in a very comfortable bed! ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ was also exciting as it was my first play with the group and required a Canadian accent!

    The TV-based plays of ‘Allo Allo’ and ‘The Vicar of Dibley’ were also great fun to be involved in where I enjoyed trying to master the well known characters of Gruber and Chairman of Dibley Parish Council, David Horton.

    I have really enjoyed being involved over the past six years with some really talented actors and directors that make up the Wychwood Players Before ‘lockdown’ I took part as a supporting artist (extra) in two TV productions that are due to be shown in late 2020.

  • John Drew

    John Drew

    Writer, Actor

    Having moved from Devon to Shipton in 1993 I appeared on stage for the first time the next year in a W.I. Daphne Waugh pantomime, subsequently writing and appearing in my first ever panto, Cinderella, in 1995.

    As a Chartered Accointant I became Treasurer and founder member of the Wychwood Players committee in 1997 and ended up as Chairman. After leaving the committee I continued to be a keen supporter of the Players and contributed reviews of their productions for The Wychwood Magazine.

    I have acted in 20 productions and written 7 pantomimes. Memorable plays include Veronica’s Room, An Inspector Calls and Heroes.  I also have fond memories of Treasure Island and the superb direction and set design by Mandyrae.

    After downsizing and moving to The Paddocks I thought my theatrical days were over but Mandyrae persuaded me to write and appear in a “potted Paddocks panto” for the last 4 years. So far, in 2020,  I have written 7 short plays and 1 monologue.

    The Wychwood Players is a wonderful group of talented actors, directors and backstage crews who all dedicate their time freely to provide so much pleasurable entertainment to so many.

    At a time when the live theatrical experience is acutely threatened by current lockdown restrictions it is especially important that the Players should continue to thrive and attract new members.

    The noble aim for the future should be the creation of even better drama to confidently delight a growing audience after the deprivations arising from this present crisis.

  • Rachel Read

    Rachel Read

    Artwork and Posters, Actor

    I joined the Wychwood Players in 2013 after a lifetime of wanting to do AmDram but life always getting in the way

    I was thrilled to be offered my first part in the Three Musketeers as Lady Malady de Splinter and have enjoyed a variety of completely different characters since then.

    I was also hugely humbled to be asked to join the Committee and to be part of such a talented team.

    I hope that many more productions will engage, enthral and entertain our loyal audiences.

  • Tony Mellerick

    Tony Mellerick

    Lighting , Stage Management

    I joined the Wychwood Players in 2017 after moving from London where I had been involved with amateur dramatics for some years.

    I have trodden the amateur boards as an actor and also filled various roles backstage including Sound, Lighting, Stage Managing, Script Writing and Directing. In my spare time I have a casual role as part of the backstage technical team at Chipping Norton Theatre. Anyone would think I couldn't get enough!

  • Richard Hartley

    Richard Hartley


    Sticking to my mantra of being better late than never, my first real involvement with theatrical productions was with the Wychwood Players in 2006, with a very brief walk on part as a camp policeman in the Tony Hines musical Frankenstein. From there on in I quite literally caught the bug and put myself forward into as many productions as possible, gaining experience and learning from everyone around me. For me it’s all about the people so every play has been a joy and so much fun to be part of. I most enjoyed playing the part of Felix Humble in Humble Boy in 2009 in which I had to constantly stutter and recite theories of quantum mechanics. Equally as alien to me in 2013 I had to play the part of Malcolm in “A Bedroom farce” where I had to build a flat pack chest of drawers on stage, fortunately the play required it to be built very poorly so little acting was required!!

    My dream finally came true in 2016 by being offered the part of Lord Arthur in Lord Arthur Savile’s crime, a Constance Cox adaptation of an Oscar Wilde short story. The play is a fast moving farce and is utterly ridiculous but so much fun was had rehearsing.

  • Mandyrae Jessey

    Mandyrae Jessey

    Membership Secretary & Director

    There’s never a dull moment in the theatre and stage world and I wouldn’t have it any other way! I was lucky enough to grow up in the professional entertainment, theatre and TV world. I met the Wychwood Players at their start and soon became a director and general all rounder which I love as it keeps you on your toes and fresh for the next play or event. I have been on the committee for many years and also as membership secretary. We do so many different things and it’s wonderful to bring new people in and let them grow with us in whatever they choose to do. I feel very lucky to have such a fantastic group of friends, we all work together so well and I can assure everyone that nothings amateur about our performances!

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