Meet The Committee
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).
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.
President, Actor, Director
Probably my earliest public performance was to direct and act in extracts from Julius Caesar for my classmates when I was 12 years old.
A lifetime of acting and directing followed in different parts of the country as career moves to different schools necessitated relocation. The Harlequins Theatre group in Cheshire provided many happy hours and a range of roles in their tiny theatre from Greek tragedy to Jimmy Porter in ‘Look Back in Anger’, following which the theatre critic from Manchester Guardian provided a wonderful observation on ‘forgetting lines and adlibbing’. “Don’t worry lad” he said, “the audience haven’t got scripts!”
Gloucestershire gave me the opportunity to play one of the title roles in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead by Tom Stoppard at the Playhouse Theatre in Cheltenham. Soon after another wonderful opportunity presented itself when a new Society was formed in Moreton in Marsh which performed all its plays in the round. Unable to fund their productions the society created an Old Time Music Hall troupe who travelled the villages performing at various functions for a fee which bolstered the society coffers.
A move to Oxfordshire lead to a major life change when a tiny baby came into our lives (herself now a TV producer) and time to spare for acting was no longer available! However, as she grew older her Daddy started his return to the stage. I appeared as Merlin in Chipping Norton along with other crazy characters but the craziest must have been in a Wychwood Players musical version of Frankenstein when I played Igor, servant to the good Doctor.
The Wychwood Players had by this time became a fixture in our lives especially once I was elected Chairman, a position I held for nearly 15 years until health issues made it necessary to stand down from participation in the Players for what I thought was forever. I was touched and not a little overwhelmed when the Committee appointed me as honorary President.
Now there’s a new chapter as I’ve been welcomed back to direct and act, I’m thrilled to be once again with the group of people that I love so much!
Rachel came late to the stage but she has loved every minute of it. Since joining Wychwood Players, Rachel has taken roles in The Three Musketeers, Dangerous Corner, The Vicar of Dibley, Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime and But Yesterday.
Like many people I can trace my love of the theatre back to the days of being in school plays. In later life I had a chance to do a foundation course at the Actors Institute, which then led to a post grad in drama from the Acting Company, part of the Arts Educational Schools in London.
After appearing in some plays in London I returned to my birthplace of Hong Kong where a range of dramatic opportunities presented themselves, from dubbing Chinese films to appearing in TV adverts. I also started a theatre group there and we put on several plays.
I returned to the UK and spent a significant chunk of my life in Wiltshire, pursuing another long-term passion of mine: dressage. This was all-consuming until a bad back and general circumstances persuaded me to draw a line under that period of my life.
By then it was 2015 and I’d bought a house in the Cotswolds. I felt it was a natural time to tread the boards again, and so I joined the Wychwood Players. As a group they were incredibly friendly and welcoming to me, and since then I’ve enjoyed performing in numerous productions with them. I’ve found for me they possess just the right blend of fun and professionalism. A great starting point for producing quality amateur dramatics.
I’m now delighted to be on a committee whose credo is the pursuit of such traditions. All ages and level of experiences are very welcome in this group. There are many, many ways to get involved, be it backstage, set building, prompting at rehearsals, front of house, or indeed acting. Please come along and check us out!
Rose has been a member of the Players since 2002. Her interest in drama stemmed from primary school when a visionary schoolmaster abridged ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ for his class and at the age of 11 Rose played Helena.
In her 20s Rose acted with the Nortonians at Chipping Norton and also did musicals with the Operatic Society there. Since joining the Wychwood Players there have been many exciting roles: O What A Lovely War; Hay Fever; Blithe Spirit; The Hound of the Baskervilles; Table Manners; Time of My Life; Sandcastles; ‘Allo ‘Allo and several pantomimes including occasions when she performed with her son and grandson on stage. She even played the Dame one year! A highlight for Rose was that of playing housekeeper Nelly Dean in Wuthering Heights, her favourite book.
She loves the challenge of learning lines and the tight-knit group that is formed when a play is cast. Rose is equally happy helping backstage or making costumes or serving in the bar.
All of these jobs have to be done!
Since taking my first steps on stage at university, I have loved stage and screen acting and worked with many groups across the country whenever I moved.
I joined Wychwood Players in 2008 and was lucky enough to be invited to act in several productions, including Humble Boy, Deathtrap, Laburnum Grove, Table Manners, The Ghost Train, Blithe Spirit, Men of the World and the online play Something for the Weekend, during lockdown.
In 2022 I was awarded Best Supporting Actor at Henley Festival for Late Entry by David Tristram, a play I truly loved being part of. I am also a member of Spotlight and have acted professionally on stage, film, radio, voice overs, multimedia and also live events including murder mystery evenings.
I am a regular guest speaker performing humorous poetry for WI, U3A, Probus and other networking groups. Recently I started performing with Springline Productions for radio and online plays - great fun and no lines to learn!