Our Patron

John Wood

John Wood has been a part of the Australian entertainment industry for over 40 years, earning himself a long list of credits for varied roles on stage and screen. His TV career was launched in 1976, playing “Sugar Renfrey” in the ABCTV Production of Power Without Glory, for which he won his first Logie as Best Supporting Actor. In the 1980s he went on to star in the hit drama Rafferty’s Rules as Magistrate “Michael Rafferty” which saw him become a well known and much admired television actor, taking out the Most Outstanding Actor Logie two years running.
From 1994 and for the next 12 years, he played the role of “Tom Croydon” in Blue Heelers, one of our highest ever rating TV dramas. It culminated in John winning the prestigious Gold Logie in 2006, after 10 consecutive nominations as most popular person on Australian television.
Away from acting, John showed his personality as one of the very first contestants on the popular Dancing with the Stars and shared his passion for food and wine as host of Wine Me – Dine Me. We travelled with him as he researched his family history on the SBS Series Who Do You Think You Are? and laughed with him on Peter Hellier’s comedy program, It’s A Date alongside Denise Scott.
As a regular face on Australian television, John has become a national favourite among all age groups. His more recent television roles include “Patrick Tyneman” throughout the ABC and Seven’s The Doctor Blake Mysteries and appearances in The Full Monty, True Stories, How To Stay Married, Mad as Hell and The Yearly With Charlie Pickering.
His stage career has included everything from Shakespeare to Williamson and a few musicals in between, again winning a number of Best Actor awards along the way. He spent 2018 and 2019 touring nationally in Senior Moments and also performing in Summer and Smoke, Carpe Diem and Bakersfield Mist. He then performed in David Williamson’s Crunch Time at The Ensemble Theatre and in The Wizard of Oz in Sydney. He toured the play Mono with great friends Max Gillies and Noelene Brown in 2022.
His autobiography “How I clawed my way to the middle” was released through Penguin in 2020.

Past Patrons – we thank them for their contribution and support.

2014 – 2022, Hannie Rayson

Hannie Rayson is an award winning playwright, screenwriter and columnist. Her many plays include Life After George, Falling From Grace, Hotel Sorrento and Extinction. Her works are regularly performed by many of our member companies and enjoyed by our audiences.

Hannie accepted the invitation to become Patron of the VDL in 2014 and quickly showed a warm and genuine interest in the League’s aims and activities. She was a very welcome presence at our Annual Awards dinner on several occasions where she spoke strongly in support of Australian theatre companies telling our own Australian stories rather than falling back on the British and American plays that feature so often in our seasons.

Hannie ran a successful playwriting workshop for members and worked generously alongside VDL President Bruce Cochrane in 2021 to boost post-Covid morale amongst our member companies.

2001 – 2009, Charles ‘Bud’ Tingwell

Charles ‘Bud’ Tingwell was a much loved film, television, theatre and radio actor with a long career both in England and Australia after serving in the RAAF in WW2. His many film roles included Kangaroo, The Desert Rats, Breaker Morant, The Shirralee and The Castle.

Television roles in Australia included the long running series Homicide, A Country Practice and Changi and many more.

Bud was an active supporter of amateur theatre particularly in Melbourne. He first became involved with the VDL in the early 1970s through Harold Baigent.

He served as Chairman/President from 1978 to 1999. He was made a Life Member in 1998 and became our first Patron in 2001 until his death in 2009. Bud conducted many VDL workshops for the VDL, personally helped with the promotion of the League, attended our Annual Awards dinners and supported us financially at times.