These five brilliant actors have been working with our director and dramaturg Guy Jones for the past week at the Southbank Centre, creating our new theatre show written by the general public all about their bodies!
Meet the team:
Mark has been a professional actor for over 25 years, starting at 17 when he was awarded a Bronze Medal at the Cheltenham Literary Festival for his portrayal of Romeo in Romeo and Juliet. He subsequently trained at the City Literary Institute in London coached, by the Head of Drama Valerie Colgan.
Mark’s theatre credits are extensive and include: Arthur in the Isle of Light at the Royal & Derngate in Northampton; Bona in Heelz on Wheels for Fittings Multimedia and Manchester Royal Exchange, Tiger Brown in The Threepenny Opera for Edinburgh Theatre Workshop. He played Father Hood in Red Riding Hood at the Olivier Award winning Theatre Royal Stratford East, where Mark was the first disabled actor to work in a mainstream pantomime.
Mark’s television work began with an episode of The Bill, followed by the BBC drama series Specials where Mark was the first disabled actor to play a regular leading role.
Mark also worked as a presenter on BBC1’s Playdays, more recently known as Balamory, where he was the first disabled presenter on childrens’ TV. Mark has given a number of live TV interviews including Wogan and Going Live.
Mark’s first film role was Garry in Deptford Graffiti for Film 4 opposite Nabil Shaban. His other roles have included two collaborations with the National Film School, tackling the role of Richard III in ‘Shakespeare’s Villains’ and Steve in Two’s Company. Mark played Pete in Double the Trouble, Twice the Fun for Channel 4, which was the first gay disabled love story on British TV. Mark has also worked on the sci‐fi feature film Gattica as disability advisor/coach to Jude Law.
Mark loves the fact that he is a dead‐ringer for his Dad. Mark would want to pass on his eyes because he believes they are the window to the soul and their one of his strongest assets.
Rhiannon recently finished performing on The National Theatre's production of "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night‐Time" at the renowned Apollo Theatre and National Theatre. She has numerous TV credits including: Midsomer Murders, Doctors, E20 Series, Being Human, and The Bill.
Rhiannon's talents in different dancing styles and her skills as a choreographer will be extremely valuable during the devising process and that has everyone at Body Gossip excited! It's lovely that Rhiannon believes she has inherited her Dad's strength and Mother's ankles. The thing she would like to share with her future generations is her good health.
Jill's youthful looks have afforded her the opportunity to play a variety of characters, including the iconic character of Alice in Royal and Derngate's production of Alice in Wonderland. She is a very diverse , being cast in roles ranging from Hermia in a Midsummer Night's Dream to troubled teens in BBC one's Doctors and Holby City.
Training at Rose Bruford allowed Jill to peruse many of her other talents. As a skilled musician and singer, Jill has a very good ear for accents. As if Body Gossip aren't lucky enough she is a brilliant dancer!
Jill is often compared to her Mother and Jill is very glad to look like her best friend. We love the fact that Jill is so happy about her appearance because we think she looks great! When asked what one feature she would like to be passed on to her children she said it would be her eyes!
Since graduating from The Oxford School of Drama, Peter has worked at many venues and with various theatre companies throughout the UK including: Theatre Royal Bath, The Roundhouse, Young Vic, Arcola, Southwark Playhouse, Look Left Look Right, Tangram Theatre Company, BAC, Lord Chamberlain’s Men, Rough Fiction, Theatre 503, and Eastern Angles.
Most recently he appeared at the Bussey Building in the revival of Tangram Theatre Company’s, Fuente Ovejuna and next summer he will be playing the lead in the feature film, Francis. Peter also works as a theatre director and in 2010 was short‐listed for the prestigious James Menzies‐Kitchin award, which celebrates outstanding young theatre directors.
When asked if he looks like anyone in his family, Peter said that he looks just like both of his parents, there is also a picture of his Grandad from 1953 and he looks exactly like him as well. No worries about the milk man there! He said that he would love for his future generations to inherit the family nose. We, here at Body Gossip, love the fact that Peter likes looking like a hybrid of his parents!
Deborah's 25 years as an equity member makes her experience as a performer a huge asset to us here at Body Gossip. She has a vast range of credits, her favorite being the evil character, Grandma, in Roald Dahl's “George’s Marvellous Medicine”. Although she loved the freedom of playing this grotesque character she also enjoyed playing Nurse numerous times in Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet". As well as working on stage Deborah has been cast in Jesus Christ Superstar and various TV and Radio productions. Not only this she has worked in film with Oscar winning actors such as Michael Caine and Kate Winslet.
Deborah started performing as a child but graduated in Performing Arts at the university of Kent. The course allowed to her to gain experience in not only acting, but in sound and lighting design, directing, and stage management.
When asked what attribute she has inherited from her parents, Deborah explained that her family are renowned for having big eyes and she likes this family feature. Body Gossip love the fact that Deborah wants her children to inherit her muscly legs!
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L to R: Peter Stickney, Mark Beer, Deborah Vale, Rhiannon Harper-Rafferty and Jill McAusland