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Milestone for Marlowe’s Mark

Fri 26 Feb 2016

Marlowe Theatre Director Mark Everett has reached a career milestone.

Mark (64) celebrated 40 years in the theatre business this month (February). He started his career at the Bolton Octagon as House Manager and then moved to the Duke’s Playhouse in Lancaster in the same role. This was followed by two years as an administrator for Second Theatre City Theatre Company in Birmingham, and then four years as a Drama Officer at the Arts Council in London. While there, he managed the new writing schemes and supported productions including the infamous The Romans In Britain by Howard Brenton.

Mark then went back to working in a theatre with five years at Birmingham Rep as General Manager, working with legends such as Judi Dench, Richard Briers, and Derek Jacobi. At this time, Mark established a comedy club in a pub, compered by the then unknown Frank Skinner.

A four-year stint at Bristol Old Vic as Executive Director followed. This included managing a transfer to the National Theatre of a co-production of Long Day’s Journey Into Night, with Timothy West and Prunella Scales.

In 1994, Mark came to Canterbury to take up the position of Theatre Director at The Marlowe. Part of the team that oversaw the £25.6 million redevelopment (March 2009 to October 2011), Mark has seen the theatre transform – literally – into an award-winning major player. Glyndebourne, the National Theatre, the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Royal Shakespeare Company and the major touring musicals are all regular visitors; the pantomime is the largest in the south east (95,685 people saw Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs, 2015/16); and The Marlowe Studio’s reputation as the home of new writing, comedy and contemporary theatre continues to grow.

Passionate about all types of theatre, Mark understands the importance of respecting the different tastes of audiences and is dedicated to providing them the best in whatever type of show they like to watch. And despite the pressures of being “the boss”, Mark, however busy, will always do what he calls “walking the floor”, where he will walk around the theatre most days to chat to Box Office, Stage Door, backstage etc.

The theatre industry as a whole has much to thank Mark for through his ability to talent spot: the list of people he helped in their early career is considerable and includes: Antony Minghella (writer and director of The English Patient and Truly, Madly Deeply), the writer Hanif Kureishi, and actors such as Sean Bean, Iain Glenn and Alex Kingston. He also actively supported Kenneth Branagh when he started his Renaissance Theatre Company at the Birmingham Rep, his first foray into directing and producing.

As anyone who has met Mark will know, he is good at helping people at the beginning of their careers (and beyond), is always open to new ideas and is certainly a man who can tell a good tale!

At a surprise gathering to celebrate the anniversary, Mark admitted 40 years was a long time but he still had vivid memories of his first job: of it being a steep learning curve and having to wear dinner jackets during the long, hot summer of ’76!

Describing theatre as a “mad but wonderful” industry, Mark said: “I don’t tend to do a lot of theatre history - it’s about the now and what we are going to do tonight, next week, next month and longer term. It’s also about how we can do it better.

“For those contemplating starting in this business, do it! It’s fantastic fun and I have no regrets.”



 

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