Mark Wakeman

Totton: Friday 27th March 2015

Directed by Jessi Wilson

The first round of the All England Theatre Festival (Western Area, Southern Division) is usually held at the Hanger Farm Arts Centre in Totton. Bench Theatre first entered the festival competition in 2006 and has been a regular contributor ever since.

AuthorMark Wakeman

Mark Wakeman

Mark Wakeman is an amateur author, amateur playwright, amateur actor and an amateur director. He started writing short stories, at the age of 8 and spurred on by positive comments from a teacher, was inspired to write many more. It wasn't until he went to university, however that his writing achieved wider recognition when two of his situation comedy scripts (co-written with Neil Kendall) - 'The Quiet Life' and 'Helpline' were performed by the University of North London Theatre Society. The success of these two works led to a full-length thriller, 'Undue Aggravation' being taken to Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 1995. Following university, he directed his own comedy 'Terror at Blagg Castle', which was produced by Goggles Theatre Company at Portsmouth Arts Centre in 1996, and Bench Theatre has produced several of his his one-act plays; 'The Unusual Suspects', 'Ice Station Zeros', 'Father for Justice', 'Lonesome Pine', 'Unworkable', 'The Big Freeze', 'Stand and Delivery' and 'The Girl in the Corner' for various 'Supernova' festivals of new writing since 2003.

Mark also wrote the 2010 Bench Christmas Production 'Cinderella', the 2012 Bench Christmas Production 'Aladdin' and the 2014 Bench Christmas Production 'Sleeping Beauty', all sell out successful shows!

His novels (as yet unpublished) include works in the detective, comedy, thriller, fantasy and sci-fi genres and he hopes to one day see one of his screenplays for sit-coms, TV detectives or sci-fi/action-spy thrillers accepted by the BBC. As an actor, Mark Wakeman has been performing since he was at school. The first of many acting roles with Bench Theatre was Dr John Jobling in 'Martin Chuzzlewit' in 1990 and he frequently receives excellent reviews. He directed several one-act plays at University of North London Theatre Society and his first directing role with Bench Theatre was 'The Office Party' by John Godber in 1998. As a member of the Soop Theatre Company, he has performed improvisational comedy in their 'Dude, Where's My Script?' shows since 2008.

In the All-England Drama Festival Wakeman won Best Original Play for 'Stand and Delivery' (2007), The Madge and Stanley Williams trophy for Best Script for 'Father for Justice' (2009) and again the best original script in 2013 for 'Pub Quiz of the Sexes'. In 2014 'Grotto' was the Overall Winner (Archie Grey Trophy) and also Best Original Script.Since he joined Bench Theatre in 1990, he has been a member of both the Bench Committee and Artistic Panel, and was Editor of Bench Press for a number of years.


Last year I was roped into writing a script for a student film about two gangsters, an older man and his youthful apprentice on a bungled hit. At one point in the script the older man narrates a story about an ill fated love affair. The film was ultimately never made but those few lines about the man's past stuck with me and I decided to turn those few sentences into a whole play instead. If the film had been made I'd have probably never bothered. Part of me is now glad that it wasn't.

The Bench Competition Entry

This one-act play was staged at the Hanger Farm Arts Centre, Totton as part of the first round of the All England Theatre Festival 2015 competition.

Awards at the 2015 Festival

Runner-up for Best Overall Production:

Winner: 'Choices' by Bench Theatre

Best Director:

Winner: Jessi Wilson for 'Choices'

Best Actor:

Winner: Dan Finch for 'Choices'

This play went into the second round at Shaftesbury


Dan Finch
Claire Lyne


Director Jessi Wilson
Stage Manager Thomas Hall