Saturday, 14 November 2015

Red Riding Hood - film

Here's a little film to get you all excited about Red Riding Hood

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Grass Reviews

Well, we're well into our run of GRASS so I thought I'd share some audience reviews.  If you want to see more go have a look here

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Grass, Snitch, Nark, Blabber.

Grass by Mark Whiteley

When I was 20, I witnessed an horrific beating in a pub in Nottingham.  Two young, alcohol fuelled, angry men on a Friday night out, I knew both the victim and the perpetrator.  What followed was one of the scariest times in my life. I was threatened, stalked and even arrested. 

After the fight I was asked by the Police Officer what I’d seen, we all know what can happen to a grass on the council estates of England.  What would you do?  I did what I thought was right and decent and ultimately, I ended up paying a high price for being a snitch. 

Before the Crown Court case I was regularly visited by gang members wanting to know “what I was going to say” in court, under oath.  As the date loomed I didn’t know where to turn or what to do, so on the morning of the case I ran away.  Of course as a 48 year old I look back on that ridiculous decision with mature eyes, but I was caught between a rock and a hard place.

On the run from the Police and living on friend’s sofas I battled between my conscience and my fear for my safety.  In the end, Iaughably, I was “on the run” for just three nights. I had a chance meeting with an old lady on a park bench, who had far more life experience than I did at that time.  She listened and told me about her brother, a conscientious objector, who ran away for six months during WW2 then bravely returned to face the music. 

The next day I walked into Nottingham Crown Court and was arrested for Contempt on entry.  I gave evidence and the accused was found guilty and given 12 months, suspended for 12 months.  I left Nottingham pretty soon after that.

25 years later and the ghosts of my past are back.  GRASS is a new British crime drama from award winning Manchester theatre company HARD GRAFT. 

Venue -  KAVA 17 - 21 Mumps, Oldham, OL1 3TL
Tickets from £6*
Dates 30th Sept. - 17th October 2015
Time 7.30pm
*£6 preview tickets on the 30th September

Wednesday, 5 August 2015


This Box could be yours
For your chance to win this shoebox from our production of The Christmas Elves and Shoemaker, just book your Grass tickets before Monday to be entered into our FREE competition.

How to make a feature film with £150

We've got a new podcast

20 odd years ago filmmaker Julian Kemp left the London drama school RADA. After three years training to be an actor with the likes of Michael Sheen, Mark Benton and James Dreyfus, Julian decided he wanted to work behind the camera. In his final year at college he wrote a screenplay and over the next few years went about trying to get his dream into a reality.

Listen to the podcast

Friday, 31 July 2015

Time to wake up

If you want to be in on the bottom floor here's a look at our new venue in Oldham.  We open in September, but I'll try and keep you up to date with how it's all going on here.

Better still, join the email list here  and get offers, inside info and nude portraits of me to savour.

This year it's GRASS a comedy drama, based on a true story about me and our rit.  It was first performed in the 24/7 festival in 2010 and was nominated that year for MEN Award (obviously I didn't win or you would have heard).

Anyhow, I'm really excited about this project and I think you will be too.

Share me with a friend and my love for you will never end.

peace people

Friday, 24 July 2015

Coming your way very soon..

September 2015

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Heads Vill Roll

New Republican frontrunner for the president of the United States Donald Trump, tweeted  a photo of himself on Tuesday with Nazi soldiers in the background.

He used the hashtag #MakeAmericaGreatAgain

All I can say is God Bless America, cause you're going to need it.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015


Just remember, I only bought the microphone last week it can only get better from here on in.
Here's why we need to talk to you.
Coming up....
I will be talking to Film Director Julian Kemp who made his first feature length film with £150.
If you fancy a chat about something/anything you're passionate about get in touch. Cars, holidays, family, death, camping, dumping people, dating, overcoming adversity, facebook, builders, hitchhiking, birds, trees, sky, acting, writing, jobs, ghosts, bands, telly, eating, diets.....We mean anything and the less famous you are the better x

Friday, 19 June 2015

Inspiration will come, I found mine on a bus.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill on stage in Richmond North Yorkshire

In 2007 I was coming home from London to Nottingham on a National Express coach.  I’d been auditioning for yet another tv commercial.  It was a strange time in my career, I have had some really successful periods as an actor. I did TV, Films and Theatre but I was never really satisfied.  I’d had enough of playing “cheeky bloke next door” or “the thick bloke on Heartbeat”.  If you don’t know heartbeat just google it.  So as I was looking out the window on the back of the bus an older fella came and sat next to me.  I don’t remember his name, I don’t remember what he looked like, I just remember what we talked about.  He told me that he had just walked across England, coast to coast.  From St Bees in Cumbria, on the Irish Sea across the Lake District, the Pennines, the Yorkshire Dales, the Vale of York and the North York Moors to reach the North Sea coast at Robin Hood's Bay 192 miles later.  192 miles of beautiful English countryside and adventure.  This chance meeting inspired me to move away from mainstream storytelling and took me on to one of the most exciting journeys of my life, a journey I'm still on.  

That spring (2006) Daniel Hoffmann-Gill and myself started walking from Bangor to Boston with no money, no accommodation and no food.  All we had was a 90 minute comedy that we performed to try and make friends.   We walked across the country in 16 days, we never slept rough or went without shelter.   

It goes to prove that you never know where inspiration will come and if you sit and listen long enough things will change.

If you want to know where the next adventure will take me join the mailing list and I'll let you know as soon as it happens.


From the 2006 advertising bumph 

This year we’re back with Coast To Coast.  A brand new show about how we survived, who we met and where we slept en route, from the Buddhist retreat deep in the Welsh mountains, to the mosquito infested Shropshire mere.  Hear about the man whom God told to leave for America to find his future or the street sleeper who taught us how to forage food from the skip at the back of Tesco.  Fast, funny and forthright this is a show not to be missed.

Coast To Coast is an extraordinary story by two outstanding storytellers, with video diary footage from our coast-to-coast theatrical odyssey.  This innovative show will entertain and encourage the whole family to pull on their boots and have an adventure of their own…

Wednesday, 22 April 2015


This is Annie Kenney, a mill worker born in Saddleworth, to get her vote she was imprisoned several times and went on hunger strikes.  

What did you have to do for your right to vote?  
During a Liberal rally at the Free Trade Hall, Manchester, in October, 1905, Kenney and Christabel Pankhurst interrupted a political meeting to ask Churchill and Sir Edward Grey if they believed women should have the right to vote. Neither man replied. The two women got out a banner declaring "Votes for Women", and shouted at the two politicians to answer their questions. Kenney and Pankhurst were thrown out of the meeting and arrested for causing an obstruction and a technical assault on a police officer. Annie Kenney was imprisoned for three days for her part in the protest, and 13 times in total.

Whoever you vote for, vote.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

What your finger length says about you.

Ever thought what your fingers say about you?  

A.  You are a thoughtful person with much time to waste.  Your favourite food is probably meat.  A Charmer.  If you were a dog you'd be a labrador puppy.

B. The boss.  You are the one who always gets things done, the one everyone puts on, but you will always get the job done.   

C. You are a walk over.  Everyone thinks you are a knobhead and no one listens to a word you say.  If you were a country you'd be France in 1939.  

Of course this is made up and only my opinion I have no scientific knowledge whatsoever.   In fact I don't even know why you are here reading it.  

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Listen up.

I've just found this and thought I'd share it with you.  It's a little story about marketing and what happens when you tell a small white lie.

Listen to my story of about lying.

Here's a good test, put the words "reformed burglar" into a search engine and see who you find.

And they're off!

Last night I was lucky enough to be invited to Oldham's first general meeting of artists and professionals involved in getting the town's independant quarter moving.

The idea is to invite small businesses to make use of a number of empty retail units in the eastern lands of the town.  Music makers, theatre companies, artists, clothes shops, boutiques and large department stores made up of smaller companies were discussed.

I take my hat off to the council, who are putting their money where their mouth is and doing good for a town by securing an incredibly bright future.

They have already been very supportive of Hard Graft giving us two shops and offering us this year's venue for GRASS in August.

If you have an idea and want a low cost way of starting your future business in Oldham, I urge you to take a look


Can I just tell you that Hard Graft theatre has turned 63 shops into theatres, 63!

Wednesday, 11 March 2015


3 Is the magic number.

Hello and welcome to the Hard Graft Theatre Company email service.   Someone called me last week and asked what we were doing next, so here I am.

I am currently putting together 3 shows that I think you are going to love.  If you likedThick As Thieves, then the follow up GRASS is right up your alley.  Oldham Council are once again supporting us by letting us use another empty building in the town.   GRASS is based on the true story of what happened to me when I was witness to a fight in a pub.  It's funny, moving and was nominated for MEN Award when it was first performed in 2008.

Along with GRASS I am working on bringing you all something very special later in the year, I'm not going to say it out loud yet as I don't want to tempt fate, but it should be amazing.

And finally, we are now taking group bookings for our excellent Christmas show RED RIDING HOOD Getting bigger and better every year a must for the under 9's and their family and friends.  To book a group booking call me on - 0161 764 4972 or
Mobile 07956913 666

And finally, thanks to your ongoing support we have been nominated for aManchester Theatre Award this week.  Fingers crossed.

See you soon

Best wishes

Mark Whiteley
Hard Graft Theatre Co. Ltd.

Facebook Don't you dare
Facebook Don't you dare
Twitter - Rude
Twitter - Rude
Website - everything you need to know
Website - everything you need to know

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Signs of my times.

This week (along with putting grant applications in) I have been mainly messing about with signs.
The Church around the corner in Bury

The estate agent left this outside.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Facebook Group

From our Facebook group, something you too can join.

Dear Hard Graft Theatre group followers (is that what we're called?)
I have been thinking about this group for a while now and I don't know what it's for. Is it for marketing? Is it for my ego? Or is it to support the theatre lovers and story makers? Some of you are here because I've roped you in, some for professional reasons. However, there are 437 of us and 437 is the biggest audience I, as Hard Graft theatre company, has played to. So, I am inventing a purpose for this group.
The most fun I have had in this business was when there was no money, no fear, and no responsibility. The times (and there were many) when I had an idea and wanted to get it on, through necessity comes invention.
I have lost a lot of good actors/writers/producers to commercials, soaps and the corporate world. I have been seduced by that world and it brings no satisfaction, no real riches and no stories. Who is the most successful, you or the bloke who plays Ian Beale in Eastenders?
Out there in the world there are millions of story lovers, they consume stories in which ever way they can, on the bus, on the radio, in the papers, on the internet, books, films, podcasts, TV, Youtube, theatre.
This group is for the story makers. This group is for the people who love stories. People, who consume them, create them, write them and tell them.
If you need help with your story, then ask the group. If you have a stupid idea then tell us. If you want to leave the group go now.
Can a revolution start with 437 followers?
Let’s find out…..