Wednesday, 23 December 2009

The show always goes on.

Since I started Hard Graft we have only ever cancelled one show back in 1999 when we were doing Thick as Thieves in a shop in Nottingham. The first night was packed with friends and family and went down a storm. however, someone forgot to tell the population of Nottingham that we were on for three weeks and our second night was supported only by one lady. The Equity rule I think has something to do with the amount of cast out numbering the audience so Dan and I decided to cancel and offer the lady a ticket at a later date. Word soon spread and we played to packed houses for three weeks.

This week Saddleworth has been covered with snow. our sell our houses have been diminished to those willing to walk to the theatre in ski suits. My mobile and the office phone has been rung off the hook with people asking if we've cancelled. I will never cancel a show Clare comes from the other side of Manchester and David drives from Leeds, so I feel if they can get through the blizzards we must go on.

I'll leave you with these words

There's no business like show business like no business I know
You get word before the show has started that your favorite uncle died at dawn
Top of that, your pa and ma have parted, you're broken-hearted, but you go on

There's no people like show people, they smile when they are low
Yesterday they told you you would not go far, that night you open and there you are
Next day on your dressing room they've hung a star, let's go on with the show!!

Merry Christmas and thank you all for your support.

See you next year


Monday, 14 December 2009

Elves and the Shoemaker opening day

Hard Graft Theatre Company's second Christmas Cracker opened this morning in Uppermill Saddleworth with the elves and the shoemaker and what a show. An audience is so important to a show, they are one of the magic ingredients that finishes off they process of making theatre. today to two sell out houses magic was made and an old hall in Saddleworth became a theatre. Children laughed, grown ups groaned and I sat with a grim ear to ear listening to the lines that before today had only lived in my head.

Best thing today was - I play Santa after the show and a little girl came into my grotto and I asked her, " what did I bring you last Christmas?" She said, "I'm polish you didn't see me last year". Now, if you didn't know I've been touring the country with Dan doing a show called Poles Apart and Dan taught me about 6 words of Polish, one being Hello, How are you? You should have seen the smile on her little face when I spoke Polish to her -

Jak sie masz

Oh and I nearly forgot - Holly our helper over heard a kid telling a teacher "It's not the real Santa, I went to Lap land last year and he's tall and thin, not fat."

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Elves and the Shoemaker

Well, what a hectic week. We started rehearsing for the Elves and the Shoemaker our second Christmas show with Claire Lever and David Crowley magnificently directed by Judith Barker. I'm doing what I do best - collecting props and building a set.

We have now had to put on two extra performances to cope with demand on Sunday 20th and Christmas Eve. both shows start at 4.00pm -

I thought I learnt last year about how best to run these shows, only thing I didn't consider was the popularity of this year's show. We have sold out many shows and probably doubled last years audience, we can only build and learn from this experience. Costumes are nearly made, lines learnt lights ordered. The Elves and the Shoemaker will be a great Christmas show, see you there.

Update - I watch a run this afternoon and it was lovely. It's going to be the best childrens show we've produced

Thursday, 26 November 2009

I'm living in beautiful mono again.

You may remember my dog ate the hearing aid and left me sad and deaf, well thanks to the NHS I know have an aid for both ears. Unfortunately the left ear is so damaged I can't really get any noise I recognise from it.

Rehearsals are going well for Poles Apart. Dan has been up all week and we open tonight at the Lowry to a sell out crowd. The promoter there emailed me yesterday to tell me they had one seat left, thank you Manchester. Dan has written a load more material about the BNP and last night I dreamt a load of Brown Shirts were waiting for me outside the theatre. Hope dreams don't come true.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009


Could I play his Dad? Answers on a post card.

We've nearly sold out at the Lowry, I'm so excited. Poles Apart is the most successfully show we've done. I know Dan reads this, (just in case I write about him) so listen. What you doing messing about in London when the world wants to see and laugh with you. 'Get on board the friendship train.' Write a show and tour with Whiteley, you're both good at it.

If you live in London though buy a ticket for Rich Mix

Enough already. I auditioned today for Hollyoaks as a dad with MS. If I got the gig I'd have to act in a wheel chair. Deaf and disabled - is there no limits to my talents? I spent all day learning the script all three scenes only to be told by Dorothy Andrew not to bother.

The Elves and the Shoemaker is also exceeding expectations. It's going to be an excellent show.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

What is it about people?

I got this facebook link sent to me from someone thinking that Poles Apart is a racist anti-Polish show. have a look.



I made this for you

I made a film for Poles Apart here. It's to publicise our next shows later this month.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

News for November

Hello Everyone,

I have just finished writing a play today so I'm in a very good mood. I'm
so happy I'd thought I'd share some of the love with you.

Right, I've got loads of stuff to tell you. Firstly Dan and I (if you
didn't know) are performing Poles Apart again at the Lowry in
Salford and the Rich Mix in Bethnal Green
*LONDON*. I've had my hair cut specially. If you didn't catch this show
earlier this year I urge you to go, it's funny with a serious message & and
with One Eyed Nick Griffin popping up every where this message of racial
harmony needs pushing.

Next - I've started a facebook group for people like you. I'm not very good
on Facebook so bare with me. To join the group click on this link here - no
here - no over here

It's going rather well isn't it?

Okay, if you really want to get in the mind of a world class actor/writer
you know can, by searching Alan Bennett on Google for everyone else I now
write me own BLOG . * "It's all
about me, it's all about me baby."*

And finally, this is where you're supposed to come up with a light hearted
story to finish the news, well sorry. The play I've just finished today is
called Knife Edge. If you
saw GRASS last year it's a step in
that direction. It's very scary, very serious and very dark story about a
fatal stabbing and how a family deal with aftermath. It tours next year so
look out for it.

That's it.

I nearly forgot. For all you fun loving 3-7 year olds out there we're doing
a version of The Elves and the Shoemaker this Christmas. Well, to be honest it's more like Shrek meets the Elves and the Shoemaker. It's at the Civic Hall Uppermill 14th - 24th December then
at Helmsley Arts Centre on the 7th January

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

My Dad's Dead.

You go on holiday in Newcastle for half term and everything kicks off.

I haven't seen my dad for years, to be honest I didn't like him but nobody did. He was a nasty, violent alcoholic. He died on 16Th Oct but I didn't hear the news until the 29Th Oct. He had 7 children that I know of, 2 wives as well as 8 brother's and sister's and not one person came forward. The local council put an advert in the paper asking if any one knew him and still no one could be bothered to come forward.

They bury him next week, he's having a paupers funeral in Nottingham. This is a warning to all you nasty people out there - you will die sad and lonely and be buried in a card board box.

The best thing about this is my new family coming out of the woodwork that I've never met. I now know I have an aunty Mavis and Sheila -

Friday, 23 October 2009

Open Letter to BBC

Dear Director General of the BBC,

Thank you. After last nights "advert" for the BNP I have been brain washed. Nick Griffin hypnotised me with his glass eye and turned me into to raving racist. One minute I was finishing off a bottle of wine the next I awoke, dribbling with an urge to run outside and shout "you white Bastards"! at the top of my voice, which is loud because as you know I'm "Trained".

Earlier today whilst I was in a supermarket check out I turned to the white girl serving me and said "What" in a really nasty way, this isn't like me. This I put down to Nick Griffin and the evil glass eye.


John Prescott (name changed to protect me from reprisals)

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

which witch would you want?

Adele Parry Actor, choreographer, teacher and my sister in law is doing a fantastic witch and wizard workshop next week. It's half term so I suppose it'll be down there with stuff to send your kids on to get them out of the house for a day. It's a fantastic idea to help people in the creative industry feed themselves without asking for handouts or lap dancing.

It's really difficult as a free lance to keep you head above water. We hear so much about big company's in trouble during our crunch la credit' I mean if Martin Kemp is doing the SCS Sofa advert what hope have we lesser mortal actors got?

Good luck Adele I how you make something of it.

Monday, 19 October 2009

A Producers lot....

I'm really pleased. If you don't know I'm producing a version of The Elves and the Shoemaker this Christmas in Uppermill Saddleworth. I decided last year that there should be a Christmas show for younger children in Oldham, as I thought Panto is a bit too old for them. It's very nerve wracking producing a show when its your own money. Thousand of pounds to bring actors, directors, choreographers, venue not to mention Santa, advertising and marketing.

Well, its starting to sell. We have two sell out performances already and tickets are shifting, not fast, but they're shifting.

I've been invited to a wedding, I love weddings - mine was particularity good - but can you believe it, I can't go, I'm rehearsing Poles Apart

Thursday, 15 October 2009

I'm all alone.

I've been left all alone with a baby and a four year old boy. Surely there must be a law about it?

This is fine, but I'm supposed to be producing two shows and writing another.

Thick As Thieves from Hard Graft Theatre on Vimeo.

Good news for all you "Old Skool" Whiteley fans. Our friend Keith Hukin from reform theatre has got the means to buy me to develop Thick As Thieves . Dan and Me toured it for years you can read the story of the play here.
I'm quite looking forward to re-visiting Steph and Barry

I rang t mobile today and told the girl who was annoying me that I was recording her. "I don't want to be recorded" she said "tough" I said "you record me, I record you".

Thursday, 8 October 2009

The Last Chance to See

Poles Apart Trailer from Andonis Anthony on Vimeo.

This is it. Your last chance to see Mark and Dan on stage together.

Dan (I'm going to blame him) has decided enough is enough and wants spread his theatrical wings and go and work with other people (who aren't me)

Me (Mark) am ...sad - but seeing a chance to exploit the situation have booked on the "Last Chance to See Tour"

Basically we're doing the Lowry in Manchester and Rich Mix in London.

To buy tickets for this historic event look on't me website and follow the link. or go to the venues websites above.

Oh yes, the show is called Poles Apart a cracking Polski comedy about two blokes who travel 2000 miles to Poland to get a job.

Still no hearing aid.

Monday, 5 October 2009

The dog is off his food!

I can see it now, I'll have to take him to the vets to have him operated on (which will cost me a mint) and they'll find my Starkey S Series blocking his esophagus. I'll put a new battery in and it'll whistle away all day.

In the mean time I've dug out an old NHS Hearing Application Set and stuck that in my ear.

Magic our Morris

I've lost my director for Knife Edge. Judith Barker is a class act. Many years experience and over 250 plays under her belt, she knows what she's on about. she directed GRASS for me last year found a fantastic cast and made it good. She's off to tour Calendar Girls.

I did however have some luck today. I've been selling Poles Apart again, the show that just keeps on giving. It looks like we might well be on our way back to Shropshire again. Last time we went was with Coast to Coast and we made the from page of the Shropshire Star. Then Dan and I walked across the country with nothing more than a piece of comedy theatre.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

hearing aid

For the last two days I've sieved through our dogs muck looking for my hearing aid. I'm hoping that the strong case on the thing will be enough to see it through his small intestine.I was doing the dirty deed this morning and my neighbour walked by. I've got two children's spades and I'm chopping through shite. One more morning then I'm booking an appointment for the nhs audiology dept in Oldham

I hate being hard of hearing.


I SAID....Funny.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Deaf - What? I said I'm deaf.

I've lost my hearing aid.

Let's just stop and read that again. I have lost my hearing aid. I can't hear a thing, well a buzzing noise the surgeon left behind when he messed up my one poor sense.

I don't know what to do. £1000 and I haven't got it. Jess (my wife) said she heard the dog crunching on something at the top of the stairs last night. Do I wait till the dog does his business and sieve through it? and if I do sieve through it what will I find there?

The worst thing is that Jess goes away on Wednesday - I've got two small kids and I can't hear a thing.

for sale - border Colly with excellent hearing

Monday, 28 September 2009

On ya bike

A few years ago I was asked to work for three days on a new play in Nottingham. There was no money involved but because I wanted to be an actor and I wanted to meet the writer and the directer I say yes.

Yesterday I organised an audition for Elves and the Shoemaker with local agents, this was the info I sent to them.

We're looking for a boy (20's 30's) to play the shoemaker and an elf. The show is for age 3+ we need a good mover and singer. the dates are 1 DEC till Christmas eve the one show on the 7Th January. Can you help? This would be a great job for a graduate.

The agents knowing that their young clients will be working with a fantastic director (Judith Barker) submitted actors - most of them with hardly any CV. I looked through the suggestions and invite actors come and meet us for an audition. Of the 10 actors I invited 7 come back to us and turn us down, two graduates (who'd be lucky to make the tea) said "they'd earn more money from their temp job.

The three days I did as a young actor straight from drama school led me to be offered the lead part in the play at the Nottingham Playhouse, then numerous adverts and finally a feature film in Rome.

Moral - make as many ripples as possible as you never know where they lead.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

What's on in Saddleworth

I went to the saddleworth business association the other night. as it says on the tin its business's based in saddleworth who meet up every now and again to talk about business in Saddleworth. confused?

This week a lady from Visit Manchester came to talk about marketing events in Saddleworth - that's why I went, to market or get help marketing the Elves and the Shoemaker this Christmas. We were talking about the lack of visitors to Saddlewoth and one chap pipes up "It's because they moved the tourist information into the library" quick as a flash the lady says "I don't think the half dozen visitors to the tourist information are really going to help you, you need an Internet presence, we had 1 billion hits last year on our website, maybe you need to try and draw some of those into Saddleworth?" He shut up then.

Monday, 21 September 2009

life and art

Funny old day. I was on the street trying to make a few quid this morning when a beautiful woman approached me. "how much?" she said looking me up and down. I've been busted a couple of times recently so I'm cautious if I don't recognise people. "Who wants to know?"

no,no,no stop making it up.

I found an E.T. tonight - they can bleddy eat! I did a big shop yesterday, gone. I was glad when his mother ship got here.

Why are drugs illegal? Gordon Brown could make a fortune if he legalised them.. Stack em high sell em cheap.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

The Elves and the Shoemaker

Well we've had our holiday, gone back to school, work or life so now it's time to think about Christmas. Time for the endless rows about who's house you're going to end up at this year, whether you want a turkey again (too dry) or a goose (too fatty). "We could go out to a restaurant but that costs proper money.

Whatever you decide to do bare a thought for all those entertainers up and down the country in Pantos and Christmas shows making life a little more colourful.

This year in Saddleworth, Oldham Hard Graft present A GREAT christmas show The Elves and the Shoemaker, as I write I'm waiting for the set to dry in my back yard - Christmas comes early to the entertainers.

MERRY CHRISTMAS christmas show in saddleworth

If you're looking for somewhere to take the kids this christmas in oldham, saddleworth or dare I say the whole north west get yourself along to Uppermill, Civic Hall, Lee St.

Friday, 4 September 2009

Read all about it

Spent the morning with Ruhubia a journalist from the Oldham Advertiser. Very nice lady and very interesting. She was helping me with research for Knife Edge. I never realised what journalist's go through to get a story, imagine knocking on the door of a family who's lost a son or daughter and asking for photo to put in the paper.

I parked in Sainbury's car park in Oldham today and as I walked to my car a man approached me and asked if I knew who's car this was and he pointed to a green Nissan. Sainbury's car park has parking for hundreds of cars and is used by thousands of people every day. No, I said. Do you have a camera I could use? he said. "Only on my phone". "Good" he said "Take a picture of this" . He had a scratch down the side of his car that he claimed was done by the Nissan. " I've been here two hour waiting, I can't believe they've been gone so long."

I text's the photo to his daughter (his phone didn't do MMS)

I left him waiting, talking to the bloke who collects the trolleys.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

working 9 till 5

Right here we go.....

I've been dossing in France on a beach for too long, I need to get some work done. Went to visit happy cow books in Uppermill today. Lovely man called Neil runs it. We've been trying to come up with ideas to work together on our Christmas Show the Elves and the Shoemaker.

I got a strange phone call today, a man asked me where my heart was? I said in my chest and laughed, then he asked again 'Where is your heart' and hung up. I 1471 him but no number.

I meet the press tomorrow.


Saturday, 29 August 2009

Welcome to the end of August.

Me I've spent the whole summer writing two plays, the first for our Christmas show this year the Elves and the Shoemaker. And in between writing that I've been putting down ideas for Knife Edge a play we're touring in the spring next year. I'm really excited about it, watch this space as they say.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

OK, OK, OK I made a copy of OK

My first appearance in OK Magazine. if you look at Lucy Jo Hudson & Alan Halsall's wedding pictures in this weeks OK about half way through is a photo of Amanda Holden dancing with Chris, her husband - look to the right of them and Jess and I are picture smooching.

Brilliant wedding. Probably one of the most "loved Up" weddings I've been to.

No one has noticed me though (to be fair I didn't notice Amanda Holden rang and told me.)

I forgot, when you go to an OK wedding they strip search you for mobile phones, cameras, lap tops or anything else that could record an image. they employ vast numbers of bouncers and elaborate schemes so as to keep the prying paps from glimpsing her dress or his suit. Buses ferried the congregation across Cheshire to the secret church only to be greeted by the entire village all eager to photo me and the members of Coronation Street. and then when ask to borrow my phone back to ring the kids a bouncers stands by your side to keep his eye on you.

fame, who'd have it?

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

radio killed the video star

They say once bitten twice shy, but unfortunatly I didn't listen. A few months ago I was asked to do the Becky Want radio show on BBC Manchester with Dan as we were preparing for Poles Apart. Becky was really rude to Dan about his qualifications and as I remember Dan got really angry and vowed never to meet the woman again.
Cut to yesterday afternoon and I was invited once again to talk about my fame on her show, my wife told me I'd be stupid to go on again but me being me I tipped up again and low and behold she completly destroyed me and made me sound an arse. As I walked out of the bbc I was livid, swearing and cursing the woman, but now I've calmed down I think she's done me a favour. Yes I dislike the way she treated her 'guest' and yes I don't like sounding a prat, but this is a hard world I'm getting myself into to and I'll have to wise up quickly.

Great day apart from that I met with dentist Phil Broughton, actress Caroline Harding, and agents Georgina Andrew and Jane Hollowood

2231 hits have now been recieved on my website since 29th May 09

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Whiteley Gets Pissed and shows his knob at wedding

The hardest job about being famous is the amount of celebrity wedding one gets invited to. Next Saturday I'm off to Lucy Jo Hudson & Alan Halsall's wedding in Cheshire. So the question is, what do you buy the couple that have everything? I mean the last thing you need is OK magazine taking a picture of my Russel Hobbs teas maid and everyone knowing how tight I am. The other funny thing is how they list you in the magazine, you know Actress Amanda Holden or England and Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney or wannabe and bit part actor Mark Whitney (they're bound to spell my name wrong). As long as they don't list the parts I've played I'm laughing, imagine Policeman 2 in Heartbeat, the fat bloke that stood behind Kevin Wheatley in Peak Practice.

I've got lots of meetings this week for my Fame documentary, Casting Director, Agents, a Dentist and a photographer. I'm very excited. I'll let you know how it went as we go. right off to watch the Goonies with the lad see you.

Sunday, 31 May 2009

Fame By Association

Theatre Patron Amanda Holden

Amanda Holden has been Hard Graft Theatre Company's patron for a few years now, she helped me get to meet Piers Morgan and I'm sure she'll help me meet many other A listers. I've just been looking at my hit counter and made 378 hits last night on the back of Britains Got Talent, my association with fame is starting to work.

She's on the Larry King show this week so watch this space to see if America

Saturday, 30 May 2009

The Clock Has Started

I started my six months countdown on Thursday. I now have until 30th Nov 2009 to become famous. I don't know how to measure such a thing so I've decided to go on Hits on the website.

If I can get 10,000 hits I'll consider myself cult.
20,000 C list celebrity
30,000 B list celebrity
50,000 + Famous

My hit counter was on 43,000 hits on Thursday since January 2004 so I've got to pull my finger out. So far I've had 328 hits so wish me luck.

Friday, 29 May 2009

End of the Piers Show.

Piers Morgan meeting Mark Whiteley on Britain's Got Talent.

Our new project As Seen On TV has got off to an amazing start with a fantastic interview with judge and tabloid legendMr Piers Morgan. Our friend Al sent me some questions to ask Piers Morgan. I haven't done any presenting on camera and Al has more experience than me (thanks Al) . Anyway Andonis and I turned up at Fountain studios where they are filming the finals of Britain's Got Talent outside hundreds of screaming girls were waiting for a glimpse of me, but we managed to sneak in the back entrance.When Piers Morgan finally tipped up he was very charming, very entertaining and he answered every question with clarity and honesty, his advice to this wannabe was also very good (more on that soon).

The interview in the bag, I moved into the adjoining dressing room to see the beautiful Amanda Holden. You can see why Simon Cowell would want her on the show, she's stunning, intelligent and loves everything about the show with a passion. She too is off state side next week to co host a TV show over there. Good luck Amanda.

After champagne with Holden and her team (Jane and Ben) Amanda suggested I knock on the door of last year's winner George Samson. In the car park area of the studios was a massive Winnebago. I don't think Andy was too fussed and didn't want to push his luck, but I thought it'd be a great interview with a great star. I knocked on his door for 5 minutes until a massive body guard appeared - "hello" I said,"is George in?" I felt like a kid next to this gorilla, maybe what I should of said was "Is George coming out to play?" He looked at me and Andy, who was standing behind with the camera and grunted "He's resting". "It's just Amanda Holden, said he might like to do a quick interview with me, I'm making a documentary about fame and he's famous isn't he?" I turned round to get some reassurance from Andy, but he'd disappeared over to a gang of school kids to get some cut aways. "He's resting" the body guard reiterated. "Okay, thanks, sorry to bother you".

I've got loads of people to meet next week including Chris Gascoyne, Sue Johnston, celebrity hair stylist Ben Cooke and celebrity dentist Phil Broughton from The Mall

If you've got any questions for them email me
If you've got any ideas how to make me famous email me

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

thick as thieves

If you're interested I've put the full version of thick as thieves on the web. We made this film about 5 years ago when I was loads slimmer. The play was performed over 100 times all over the country to critical acclaim.

Monday, 25 May 2009

I start a new project on Thursday. I'm trying to become famous in six months and on thursday I have an interview with Piers Morgan from Britains Got Talent.

I have no idea what I'll talk to him about - wish me luck.

Saturday, 23 May 2009


I've just come back from Gdansk. It seems that since Poles Apart I've become a polish expert in the UK. A company over there found me on google and asked if I'd go and do some voice over for them. They were recording tourist information, you know the type of thing, you hire them and a voice (me) tells you amazing things like - "you see that wall, Neville Chamberlain pissed up it on a night out with a gang of Polish sailors".

Go to Gdansk though it's my favourite city in Poland thus far (I've only been to two)

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Dogs Life

Our dog, Kit dislikes the Costco own brand dog food we've bought him. With the normal 'branded' dog food he'll empty his bowl in seconds, but with 'Doggo Biscuits' I feed him in the morning and it sits there all day. It must be the dog equivalent of lard or Haggis or sick. Unfortunately I bought the 25kg bag so he'd better get used to it.

I can't believe I've just written a blog about dogs.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009


There you go. I've sat here all week thinking of what to do next and it's sorted. Our next lot of work is here.

I'm going comedy and Kids mad. All this talk of ression and doom I know just what people need. a good laugh. I'm doing Charity Begins at Home, The Elves and The Shoemaker and As Seen On T.V.

Off to see When We Were Married tommorrow, I'll let you know.


Friday, 20 March 2009

The Hardest job touring must be the driving, I say that as the driver on our tour, but I have driven 6000 miles so far which after a 2 hour show is bloody knackering. In my head is a 2 hour rule, if I'm more than 2 hours from home I stay out in digs.

The other bone of contention is the radio/CD/tape

I'd listen to radio 4 or 5 live. Dan wants hard music and Sam's easy.

the rule is always - driver's choice.

every day we had the Archers followed by the play for today.

the second hardest job whilst touring is sitting in a car listening to the Archers and Play for today with me driving.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

The Notts and Have Notts

Here's the thing. We were a Nottingham based company for 10 years, we've worked at the Playhouse, the Arts Theatre and the Lakeside. We have a massive support base in the city yet nobody invited us to perform there. Last night we gave a good account of ourselves in Derby. If you don't know Derby is Nottingham's whipping city and local east midland rival. For 2 Notts lads it is hard to take that the theatre's you've ground up with, supported and been a part of so long don't return the love.

Anyway, on a positive note all the Nottingham friends got a day trip to Derby.

I received this from Adam who saw the show in Taunton


I watched your show on Tuesday in Taunton and wondered if you'd accept some constructive criticism from someone who has no business giving it. If you don't then please ignore the following paragraph. I enjoyed the first half very much and found it very amusing and informative but felt quite let down by the second half. There seemed to be an attempt to combine information and comedy throughout the show but there were very few laughs after the interval with only the football re-enactment sort of thrown in at the last minute and very little about your trip after the Q&A. It felt at times like it was becoming a lecture on the evils of Racism and less of an entertainment show. There was also the sense that you were also kind of preaching to the converted, I wasn't expecting many Racists to pay to come and see a show that was going to attempt to dispell their bigotted views using facts and logic. That's not the sort of thing racists enjoy. It felt like something you'd get in a school assembly at times.

I don't want to appear too negative as I did enjoy it very much, I just felt that you professed at the beginning to be entertainers and the entertainment seemed to be missing from the second half, a bit. I will definately be coming to see your next production if you bring it down this way next year. As I said before, feel free to ignore all this as I'm not an actor so you probably know a lot more about what you're doing than I do.

Cheers Adam

I though long and hard about this then set Daniel Hoffman-Gill on him.

Dan's reply

Hi Adam,
Mark forwarded your email to me and I felt compelled to respond because the work is close to my heart and any critique demands a level of response, at least to present the other side of the argument.
The second half is indeed a combination of comedy and facts, that is intentional and the pay-off for the first half, an effort to educate and inform. As for few laughs, indeed Taunton was an audience that did not buy in as the majority of our audiences have but I can assure you, the second half in the majority of our gigs has been the funniest for many of our audiences. The joy and terror of art is that it is so subjective, there is no perfection, what you dislike, many like and vica versa.
As for it becoming a lecture, good entertainment contains thoughtful messages to in-act change in the spectator, the accusation of preaching to the converted is the furthest one from the mark and perhaps shows that you've missed the point.
We were illustrating the thin end of the wedge, it starts with many leading newspapers and media outlets perpetuating xenophobic myths, I can assure you that many audience members will read those newspapers and those headlines, including in Taunton and take those myths on board, it does not make them racist in the sense you think of, the stereotype racist we depict but rather it makes them racist in the insidious and 'quiet' fashion. This is a problem and if people disagreed with these headlines they would stop buying the newspapers, as you can see from the circulation of the Daily Mail, The Sun and other media outlets that spread xenophobia and lies, they do not. These are the people we are talking too and this is, based upon our audience demographic, most of our viewers.
Indeed, we have had people walk out, offended by their attitudes being challenged, so the idea that 'racists' don't come and see theatre is way off.
I think perhaps the idea that the second half wasn't entertaining was due to you switching off and refusing to engage with the naunced content and engaging with your own prejudice, which we all have, preferring instead to see broad brush strokes. You may accuse us of failing you, not entertaining you but live art is a two way process, engaging with the content and us giving you our all and you in return doing the same, our show exposes those that will hold back, we'll try and take you with us but if you resist to much, we can't force you.
Daniel Hoffmann-Gill

See you soon

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

In my opinion

Is it the modern disease to criticise or have we always been the same? I was watching something on ITV1 (I need to get out more I think) it was about Jade Goody and they showed and read critics of her using her death to make money for her kids future. Jade, love her or hate her is doing what any parent needs to do for their kids, with very little real talent she has to use whatever she can.

We, the arts get it more than most. If you pay your tenner you feel you can give an opinion. If you come and see Poles Apart I read an email from a Polish man here. He didn't even pay a tenner.

Tonight my mate Matt Aston will welcome the press to his opening night of Empty Blue Beds at the Lakeside in Nottingham. He's sat in a dark room for 3 weeks toiling over details with sweaty actors only to be made or broke by the critics

good luck Matt

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Banging on the floor

they were banging on the floor last night in Goole. full house again with many poles and as we finished they went mad. I do feel good doing a show for the Poles they are so appreciative about everything. I suppose no-one stands up for them like we do. Bussiness is still very brisk, we're manageing to keep up with companies like Hull Truck numbers wise. two more weeks to go off to devon, somerset and Bury (amonst others) this week

see you soon

Thursday, 5 March 2009

If you sit back you're left behind

I find it interesting that audiences sit on their hands during the "audience participation" parts of a show. It's these people that don't sing at pantomime song sheet, these who refuse to shout "he's behind you" the ones who turn up at our show and refuse to play. I have noticed that during most shows as I'm running around the auditorium that 2 or 3 people close down and decide not to play. I find not playing very hard to take - if you can't play any more what hope do you have.

But, I would like to raise a glass to all those that do play and laugh and join in, the young hearts, the silly, the radiators. the half full - thank you - thank you.

Monday, 2 March 2009

to be or not to bee funny.

if you ran a theatre company what show would you do next?

it's a hard question. I need to decide quickly and be decisive and move, but i'm not. do i do a comedy or a drama?

answers on a post card.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

2000 miles of silence

If you know nothing about hard graft over the next few thousand posts I'm going to explain what it's like running a small/mid scale touring theatre company.

We're on tour at the moment traveling the United Kingdom's theatres and arts centres performing Poles Apart. this week I've driven 2000 miles most of which with out my co-star Dan (co - star sounds funny). most of my trips this week have been with Sam our 19 year old technician who on our 1,200 miles together this week has only said one thing. driving back from Oxfordshire the other night at midnight in the driving rain he says "your phones ringing".

we're getting popular, the act, Dan and I are starting to grow a fan base last night in Newark 200 people came to laugh with us - from small acorns