A very busy, but ultimately, rewarding weekend. Saturday morning was spent at Richmond Theatre going through the first of the recorded interviews brought in by the team, including chief executive Karin Gartzke, who'd gave us some smashing stories about the way in which the theatre works hard to ensure actors feel at home when they come here on tour. The interview did reveal how clever we're going to have to be to persuade our interviewees to divert from their pre-arranged stories and offer something unique. Karin, of course is an expert at promoting the theatre and her staff, but we need to keep going beyond that to find the personal, the touching and the meaningful. It's a good start, however.
Afterwards I drove over to Didcot, where Lara's Barbershopera show, started their national tour at The Cornerhouse. They've added some material since I last saw the work back in January, but it's still a brilliantly tight and funny show. Afterwards in the bar we talked about bringing it into St Mary's for induction week which would not only be a great coup but also a brilliant way to welcome a new cohort.
On Sunday most of Oxfordshire came up to town to watch Oxford United take on York City in the conference play off final at Wembley. It's only our second appearance at the famous stadium. The first, which I went to as a scruffy haired fifteen year old, was in 1986, when we beat QPR 3 -0 in the Milk Cup Final. Today, as back then, thousands of fans in yellow and blue filled the stands. The day was full of nostalgia and childish anticipation as, for the second time in a quarter of a century, United rose to the occasion, playing with verve and panache to record a spectacular and rewarding 3-1 victory. We're back in the league after a torturous four year exile and for an hour or two I was a teenager again! .
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.