Joe Bennett



Joe Bennett is a columnist and author but far more importantly a former Riccartonian. He performed in several shows towards the end of last century, including Teachers, Pack of Girls, Tiggy Tiggy Touchwood and a wonderful absurdist production written by Patrick Evans, and he was several times Master of Ceremonies at the notorious Palace of Varieties.



Meet the 2018 Committee Members.

Giles Wood


Giles works for New Zealand’s largest wine maker, Constellation Brands as an Area Sales Manager in Christchurch. Giles is English and moved here 11 years ago with his Christchurch born wife and their two teenage (now Adult) children.


He joined Riccarton Players in 2009 and is now in his 4th year on the Committee, and 2nd year as President.


An experienced amateur actor, he did drama at Kensington College in London, where he admits he was cast mainly as butlers or policemen. Since joining Riccarton Players, he has had a variety of roles, including a butler and an inspector, in a succession of plays, musicals and variety shows, as well as stints as production manager, FOH, sound and lights, set builder and general dogsbody.


Giles brings a wealth of management experience and leadership skills having, in the past, held a number of management roles with Shell UK and multiple directorships of a number of companies involved in retail, distribution and marketing of wine in the UK.


On being asked for a definition of “Community Theatre”, his response was as follows:


“Coming from the UK the term ”Community Theatre” was new to me – the British refer to it as Amateur Theatre or Amateur Dramatics (commonly “Am-Dram) but the idea that it is largely non-professional theatre would be much the same. That lexicon of our times, Wikipedia seems to have a pretty good definition –


Community Theatre refers to theatrical performance made in relation to particular communities — its usage includes theatre made by, with, and for a community. It may refer to theatre that is made entirely by a community with no outside help, or to a collaboration between community members and professional theatre artists, or to performance made entirely by professionals that is addressed to a particular community.

Community theatres range in size from small groups led by single individuals that perform in borrowed spaces to large permanent companies with well-equipped facilities of their own.

Community theatre is understood to contribute to the social capital of a community, insofar as it develops the skills, community spirit, and artistic sensibilities of those who participate, whether as producers or audience-members.


 For me it is that last sentence that captures the true essence of what otherwise might just be seen as Amateur Theatre.”


Doug Clarke QSM


Doug Clarke has been actively involved in theatre in Canterbury since 1964 and for most of that time has been an ardent proponent of recreational theatre.  While Doug has been involved with several theatre societies, it has been Riccarton Players which has benefited most from his passion.


He is the first to admit that it is not his acting skills which have drawn acclaim.  Rather, it is his extensive work behind the scenes in sound, lighting, stage-crew, props, set design and construction, special effects, playwriting and especially as a director, which have demonstrated his tremendous creative skills.  


Not content with just these aspects of theatre, he has also been dedicated to administration both locally and nationally and is a Life Member of both Riccarton Players & Elmwood Players.


In recognition of his contribution to community theatre, Doug was awarded the Queen’s  Service Medal for Community Service in 2003.

Steve Millar


Steve Millar is the South Island office manager of the country's leading importer of stainless steel fasteners, A NZ champion toastmaster, and below average softball player.  Steve's has been a member of Riccarton Players since 2004, a committee member since 2006.  A broken heart bought Steve to Riccarton players, but it's people, spirit and the feeling of collective belonging that wont let him leave.  Someone once told him that it's like living inside a sitcom, and Steve can't think of a better way to describe Riccarton Players other than that.  Think Friends meets Man about the House mixed with some Steptoe, combined with a Gleeful Big Bang, all served with MASH.  It’s a home for everybody and everybody's home and Steve believes is "community" personified, where anyone can live, laugh, love and learn from people they wouldn't necessarily come into contact with otherwise. 

Michelle Histen



Rachael Chamberlain

Website, Health and Safety, Membership

Rachael grew up on a farm on the Canterbury Plains, but boarding school in Christchurch brought out the city girl in her. She has worked for Christchurch City Libraries since 2007, a job which combines her love of books, technology and good old fashioned chit chat. It was another librarian who suggested Rachael join Riccarton Players back in 2009, and she hasn't looked back. Rachael enjoys performing in the many genres of plays Riccarton offers, particularly musical shows. Rachael has also been a member of the Riccarton Players Committee since 2013.

Donna Buchanan

Secretary, Newsletter & Social Coordinator

Riccarton Players have been an important part of my life for over 15 years. How was I to know that when I shifted down from the North Island, for a teaching position, how much fun, joy and love this group of people would bring to my life.

I have performed in over 25 shows since becoming a member - my favourites being the musicals  (Blood Brothers, Chicago  and Sound of Music my favourites) and ARPOV but I have also performed in plays and once (only once) in children's theatre. I love seeing the audiences faces and hearing the buzz in the theatre after a performance - not the mention the adrenaline rush from giving my all on the stage.

And just as important as the performing has been my involvement on the committee. My key roles include compiling the newsletter and co-ordinating social events. Two jobs that I love doing. To me my involvement on the committee is about giving back so that others get to hopefully feel as blessed as I do.

Colleen Lewis
Darren Sundborn

Health and Safety, Social Coordinator


Emma Gordon

Technical and Online Bookings

I have been involved with theatre since moving back to Christchurch in 2009, mainly working on lighting and sound.  My first show for Riccarton Players was Tortoise and the Hare Playbox at the Mill Theatre and I can’t have done too bad a job since I was allowed to come back again!  After being involved with most Riccarton shows in one form or another over the last few years, this is my first year on committee.  In my other life I work in a medical laboratory part time and am a mother to a very busy wee boy.



Rick Harris
Christina Stachurski


Christina is a playwright and theatre director.  She teaches drama and creative writing at the University of Canterbury.



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