Straight into rehearsals after the long flight back from Africa, which included the slightly surreal experience of watching the Man Utd v Chelsea game in a sweaty coffee bar in Nairobi airport. Huge numbers of passengers and airport staff gathered around the bank of TVs split into partisan groups. Although It was all very good humoured, the anticipation couldn't have been any greater or the debates more furious if we'd been watching in Salford or on the King's Road. Football is huge in Africa.
Things have held up well whilst I've been away and the show has obviously moved steadily forward. Certain elements like the Sir Topaz story have been completely re worked and looking much the better for it.
In essence we're looking at four different shows. One for Sutton House, one as a pub tour, as well as a child friendly version and bawdy version for Ham house. The job now is to keep running the different combinations so that everybody is adept and slick at switching from one play to another. It's beginning to look good, however.
Today we moved into the theatre which gave us the opportunity to bring together all the elements - technical, musical, performance. It also meant that Al and Paul had the chance to see the work in full and the performers a chance to work their voices and bodies. It began to feel like a show and we began to see some of the logistical issues that need addressing in terms of taking the work on the road. There's a growing sense of confidence with the material which in turn is generating a degree of excitement within the thirty strong company. Not long to go now. .
Mark is the Academic Director of the Drama Programmes at St Mary's University in Twickenham. He has worked internationally as a theatre director and educator for the past 15 years, focused mostly on youth, community, and conflict resolution work.
As a lecturer Mark taught at Goldsmiths College, Coventry University and was Head of Performing Arts at Canterbury College prior to joining St Mary’s in 2006.
His Professional directing credits include Henry V (One of US?) and Valhalla for RSC Education; The Wind in the Willows, Jack Cade, The Red, Red Robin for Sevenoaks Playhouse; Tender Souls, The Quality of Mercy and Playhouse Creatures for the Ambassadors Theatre group.
Mark is a director of subVERSE Theatre company for whom has directed fringe premieres of Chief, Dinnertime and OxfamC**t at Theatre 503.
Site specific work includes Purka and Shadow on Icelandic volcanoes and Novocento with students from the University of Genoa.