Mark joined the SbS team in 2019, and runs the DIGITAL MEDIA class.
Here he tells us how he became interested and involved in the performing arts, sport, broadcasting and helping SbS.
My interest in theatre and performance started during my school years when I appeared in many school performances and enjoyed not only performing but also creating and directing.
Growing up in Birmingham gave me access to a number of theatres and venues and allowed me to experience everything from musicals to farce, pantomime to melodrama. Living next door to Stratford also introduced me to Shakespearian theatre, a continuing love affair. I also began a lifelong love of sport.
I remain passionate about rugby and cricket and sorely missed my annual trip to Lords cricket ground in 2020..
On leaving school I joined the police force as a Cadet and worked within the criminal justice system for over twenty years. Alongside this I trained as a youth worker and remained involved in working with young people in a variety of theatrical and musical ventures. My interest in writing continued and I was lucky enough to write for both BBC radio and TV. I had the good fortune to work with some memorable and talented performers, such as Roy Hudd and Bob Monkhouse and to spend over 20 years involved in Radio.
The need to perform has periodically raised its head and as a result I have presented shows on a variety of Radio Stations and have enjoyed interviewing such artists as Dame Vera Lynn, Toya Wilcox, Noddy Holder, Gloria Honeyford and Robert Plant.
It was during my time as the presenter of The Afternoon Show at Bridge Radio that I was fortunate to meet and interview members of Side by Side to talk about their award-winning efforts and exciting future performances.
Throughout the nineties and into the noughties I continued working in youth productions, both writing and directing. On one memorable occasion I directed a mixed language group of young actors on a mountain top in the Czech Republic. We even built a full-size pirate ship as part of the scenery!
The urge to perform has taken me from drum workshops and storytelling at the MAC (Midlands Arts Centre) through Native American Chanting and Storytelling workshops, with me in full regalia! - to occasional stage appearances. I fondly remember appearing in A Midsummer Night’s dream at Dudley Castle, where I can assure you my Bottom was warmly received. I was pleased to achieve my MA in Creative Writing, and a BA in Humanities and Literature, and in 2012 I became a Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts.
" ... I was fortunate to meet and interview members of Side by Side
to talk about their award-winning efforts and exciting future performances ... "
I leapt at the opportunity to get involved with the life of Side by Side firstly as facilitator in Digital Media and then this year I was extremely honoured to become a Trustee and advisory committee member.
Through these difficult times it has been a joy to be involved in putting together the podcasts and a real privilege to engage with SbS members in these productions. I look forward to the development of SbS as we move forward and the exciting times we will have at The SideSpace.