About Us



The Southwood Players was started in 2009 and born out of a desire to raise funds for local charities, specifically the local MS Society and the Itchen Valley Churches. It began with two acting mad families, a professional actor and a desire by Lavinia to play Madame Arcati ‘just one more time’. Time will tell!


Keep it in the family...


The eagle-eyed among you will have spotted that for Blithe Spirit in 2009 the cast list included two Owens and two Halls. There is more to it than that! Stanhope Owen (a professional actor) is indeed Lavinia’s son but Maddy Woosnam is also her daughter. Mary Hall is married to Robert Hall and Caroline Morgan is Robert’s sister. The only non-related member of the cast was Hattie Stacey. The best tenuous link we can find for her is that her father worked with the wife of our lighting assistant, Patrick Appleby....

In 2010 for The Importance of Being Earnest we retained almost all of our original cast with the exception of Stanhope who took ‘Paternity Leave’ after the birth of his first child. We were augmented, after a desperate search, by four new men, beginning our association with the Chesil Theatre in the shape of Martin Humphrey who played Jack.


In 2012 we decided to have a complete change with Agatha Christie’s Murder at the Vicarage. Lavinia was determined to play Miss Marple against all the odds. Vicars turned up like London buses, in pairs, to be played by Noel Thorpe-Tracey and Charlie Seligman. Also new to the cast were Naomi Ellis, as the impossible Mrs Price-Ridley, and two teenagers, keeping it in the now extended family, Maddy’s daughter, Annabelle as the flirtacious Lettice and David May-Miller as the awkward youth Dennis. It rained on all three nights. We did our usual transfer to Princes Mead School on Friday and Saturday, but for Thursday we tried a last minute experiment of moving to Itchen Abbas Church. That worked admirably and will be our fall back, if needed, for the dreaded rain in 2014..

For our fourth show, in 2014, we played Relative Values, reverting to the ever popular Noel Coward comedy genre. It is no surprise that there were parts for Lavinia and Maddy, both testing their ingenuity a little. Charlie stayed on but sadly Naomi, Caroline, Noel and David were not with us this year. We procured Iain McLeod, maybe out of one of those hospital soaps, to bring the fresh Hollywood approach.

Hobbs Rehabilitation and their neuro-rehabilitation work in Martyr Worthy have been consistent supporters. They were joined as principal sponsors by caterers to all the most discerning people, Creative Catering, and by excellent local and London engineering consultants Upton McGougan. We are very pleased to thank all of them.

They are not alone. We have a changing list of sponsors to cover the costs of printing, programme, costumes and even loos. Thank you to Alresford Salads, Richard Steel and Partners, Claremont Richards Solicitors and Mercia Crematoria Developments. We need you all for the benefit of the charities.

2014 was particularly special because we raised almost exactly £14,000 for our charitable beneficiaries.

2016 is to be different. The two year cycle of plays has been broken for family and academic reasons, hopefully to be restored in 2017. Meanwhile the opportunity has come up to host two evenings of opera and a concert in Itchen Abbas Church in October after the summer feast of events. We will be continuing to raise money for the MS Society and Itchen Valley Churches. We are lucky to have found singers who love to come together to sing in smaller and more intimate venues to bring us two nights of a slightly abridged Don Giovanni, followed by a concert of all our favourites. Two new sponsors have agreed to join us, Carter Jonas and Eric Robinson Solicitors, and we have continuing support from Hobbs and Richard Steel. We are, as ever, extremely grateful to all of them for making this possible.

To make a donation cheques should be made payable to ‘Southwood Players’ and sent to: Nick Owen, Southwood House, Itchen Abbas, Winchester, Hants SO21 1AT.

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