Father for Justice

Written by Mark Wakeman

Totton, Hanger Farm Arts Centre: Wednesday 25th March 2009

Teignmouth, Carlton Theatre: Saturday 16th May 2009

Directed by Peter Corrigan

An act of violence leaves a man forever altered. Now, driven by love and hate in equal measure he seeks for a reckoning. But the lines between justice and revenge are blurred, how far will he go to find his answers? How much blood will quench his rage?

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 (b 1972)

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.

His novels (as yet unpublished) include works in the detective, comedy, thriller, fantasy and sci-fi genres and he hopes to one day see one of his screenplays for sit-coms, TV detectives or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.

Wakeman won Best Original Play for 'Stand and Delivery' (2008) and The Madge and Stanley Williams trophy for Best Script for 'Father for Justice' (2009) both in the All-England Drama Festival. 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. Mark Wakeman currently has four cats and lives in Havant.

PlayFather for Justice

'Father for Justice' was originally written in 2005 for the Supernova 3 Festival, Bench Theatre's festival of new writing for the Hampshire and West Sussex area. Unchanged from the first draft, (except for a re-write of a big-budget ending) the play was completed in one day.

The plot centres around the interaction of two men, David and John, in a remote holiday home, miles from anywhere. Years ago, David's daughter was raped and murdered. The police's prime suspect was released on a technicality and David never got the answers to whta happened. His family was destroyed and his life was ruined. Left only with a quest for the truth about what happened to his daughter on that terrible day (and a chance for vengeance) David has tracked down the prime suspect, John, after a decade. He has kidnapped John - leading him to a remote cottage with the intention of finally learning the secrets that have been hidden from him. What follows is a battle of wits between two desperate men, one wanting to learn the truth, the other wanting to survive but when the truth is finally revealed it can only end in blood.

'Father for Justice' was revived by Bench Theatre 4 years after its original performance, with a different cast, for the Totton round of the All-England Theatre Festival. The play was awarded "Best Original Script" at that round and second place overall in the judging (with Martin McBride winning Best Actor, and Peter Corrigan winning Best Director). The adjudicators praised the script, then went on to comment that they would have liked to have seen more blood! The play was taken to the quarter-final in Teignmouth in May of 2009 where it was awarded the Stanley and Madge Memorial Trophy for the original script.

The Bench Production

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 2009 competition, and as a winning play, it went on to the Southern Division Final held at the Carlton Theatre Teignmouth in May. It was first performed in 2005 at Havant Arts Centre as part of Bench Theatre's festival of new writing, Supernova3.


DavidDamon Wakelin
JohnMartin McBride


Director Peter Corrigan
Stage Manager Jaspar Utley

Author's Notes

I have written a number of comedies and thought the time was right to try something different. So one, wet, dark and horrible day I sat down at my computer with the intention of trying my hand at something serious and altogether darker. I did not stop typing until it was dark outside and I had created something just as dark. But once I started to tell the tale I felt compelled to finish it, as I hope you will be compelled to watch to the end and find out who is guilty and who is innocent.

Mark Wakeman