Backstage! interview with Mark Thomas

Our roving Backstage! blogger, Sophia, meet Mark Thomas in the red dressing room before his show on Friday 9th October.

Mark Thomas is a ‘domestic extremist’ or at least that’s how the police have categorised him, and his show Trespass is indicative of just what he gets up to under the scrutiny of the authorities’ eye. But offstage?

He needs coffee.


Mark Thomas

“I still remember my dad’s reaction when I told him about my college course; I was the first in the family to go to college although they were probably disappointed I wasn’t training to be a lawyer!”

“These Dance & Movement classes, do they wear tights?” he asked.

The oldest of four, Mark has two sisters and a brother, and is married to Jennifer Landreth. He has a son, Charlie who is 20 and studying anthropology and a 15 year old daughter who has bright blue hair!

But had he always wanted to be a comedian given that his father was a builder,

“I tried really hard to fit in, I was sent to the Christ Hospital boarding school in Sussex, but from the age of 16 I knew I wanted to be a performer then a mate of mine got into drama school and I thought if he can do it so can I.
We formed a band called ‘Catch’ followed by a number so whenever someone dropped out the number went up. We reached ‘Catch 3’ then split up.”

His touring schedule is back-to-back all year, so what does he do to relax?
“Listen to loud music and walking my cockapoo Ralph and reading; I’m reading Terry Pratchett’s Mort at the moment.”

Favourite food?

“Coffee. I can survive without food but not coffee; I have a calor gas stove but I’ve been banned from using it because of the fire risk.”

And if you were not a performer, what would you be?

“An assassin, one of the old fashioned sort.”

I wondered if the police have also marked this against him on another list…


Thanks Sophia! More Backstage! news next week.

Sophia’s Adventures in Taste!

Maddy's Madhatter's Tea Party

Cscape Trailer: Taste

No Trolley Dollies at Cscape…


This weekend the Marine Theatre hosts a Cornish dance company with their new show Taste. It is so new that we didn’t know much about it until our roving theatre blogger, Sophia Moseley, tracked down one of the Cscape company who was trundling around with a tea trolly on the Lyme Regis Promenade last weekend.

It turns out that Maddy, who studied at Circomedia in Bristol, is no stranger to our town,

“My sister and I came here as children, she would always go in the sea and always have an ice cream, no matter what, so she always had a cold runny nose. We used to go to Charmouth looking for fossils. So there are plenty of happy memories here.”

….this from Sophia out in the field!


“Are you Earl Grey or Lady Grey and if you were a sweet, would you be a Cadbury’s eclair or Werther’s Original or perhaps a Ferrero Rocher? You are what you are by the things that you eat…”

But Maddy wasn’t talking about a sensible diet; she was promoting the Cscape TASTE show that is all about social class and how each of us categorise ourselves. Her audience were certainly intrigued and curious but not wholly enthusiastic. One grandfather snubbed our courageous artiste by looking the other way, refusing a biscuit and telling his grand-daughters not to take a sweet from the bowl!

A parental warning rang in my ears…never accept sweets from strangers.

Of course even in our multi-cultural society, there is still that oh so British reserve of look the other way, avoid eye contact and pretend you can’t see them when faced with anyone or anything unknown.

“It’s a bit soul destroying” she said as we continued in our search of a receptive audience. But then we met Jenny Short, a local with a cheery disposition sitting by her beach hut and who was in no doubt what sweet she would be, “Oh definitely the Ferrero Rocher, I like the way they’re crunchy, and their squashiness and definitely their nuttiness, oh yes!”

And as we made our way past the Cobb Gate Fish Bar and the Rock Point Inn, handing out large cardboard coasters with a ticket offer, I couldn’t help but wonder about the nuttiness of Maddy, with her knitted tea cosy hat, tweed blazer and neck scarf pushing her trolley noisily along the cobbled road to continue entertaining Lyme’s reluctant audience.


Thanks Sophia! It’s amazing how hard artists have to work hard on and off stage to get audiences in, and keep all of our taste buds satisfied…

More backstage blog news next week.


Ayesha Hazarika: State of the Nation| Friday 5th May




or call the box office on 01297 442138

Please note that a 10% booking fee applies online and via the Tourist Info Centre

On stage 8pm

Full price: £14.00 in advance

Concessions; £12.00 in advance

+£1 on the door


State of the Nation:

Politics, power and how we lost the plot

Ayesha Hazarika, MBE, started her career as a stand-up comedian playing clubs across the country. She then took what she thought was a natural diversion into the Labour Party as a Special Adviser working for Gordon Brown, Harriet Harman and Ed Miliband.

 Since leaving front line politics she’s become a much sought after commentator writing for the FT, Guardian, Evening Standard, New Statesman and Grazia.


Ayesha has also returned to her stand-up roots. Her one-woman show ‘Tales from the Pink Bus’ was a sell-out hit at the 2016 Edinburgh festival and she’s been in huge demand on TV and radio recently starring as a guest on Matt Forde’s Unspun for Dave. Further credits include regular appearances on Good Morning Britain (ITV), Sky Papers (Sky News), The Andrew Marr Show (BBC1), Newsnight (BBC2), The Agenda (ITV) and The Today Programme (BBC Radio4).


Ayesha lifts the lid on what life’s really like behind the scenes at Westminster with brutal honesty and humour and asks what’s next for British politics.


‘The State of the Nation’ is one of the best things to come out of British politics in a long time.


“Hazarika’s return to stand up is also public service, never less than entertaining”
The Guardian


“Insightful, humorous and at times simply ‘hide behind the sofa’ stuff” ★★★★ Edinburgh Reporter


“Patently super smart and extremely eloquent, she offers an intriguing insight” The Herald

Lyme Regis Musical Society present: Thoroughly Modern Millie| 9th-13th May


Tuesday – £12  U16’s   £6   Wednesday – Saturday £15 U16’s £10

7.30pm nightly


01297 442594

Set in New York City in 1922, Thoroughly Modern Millie tells the story of Millie Dillmount from Kansas who comes to New York in search of a new life for herself. Her grand plan is to find a job as a secretary for a wealthy man and then marry him. However, her plan goes completely awry. The owner of her dingy hotel kidnaps young girls to sell to the Far East; her wealthy boss is slow in proposing marriage; and the man she actually falls in love with doesn’t have a dime to his name – or so he tells her. Filled with frisky flappers, dashing leading men and a dragon-lady audiences will love to hate, Thoroughly Modern Millie is a perfectly constructed evening of madcap merriment. From explosive tap numbers to a Fred and Ginger routine on a window ledge!


Othello| Monday 15th May



or call the box office on 01297 442138

Please note that a 10% booking fee applies online and via the Tourist Info Centre





Full price: £12.00

Concessions; £11.00

Schools: £8.00 (from our Box Office not online only)

Running time: 2hours (approx) with interval

SISATA present Shakespeare’s Othello

Adapted and Directed by Charmaine K Parkin

A radical re-imagining of Shakespeare’s tragedy. Set against a backdrop of the 1980s, Hip Hop culture and inspired by the life and work of artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Dorset born SISATA present Shakespeare’s Othello in a bold, bright and brilliant explosion of a performance, giving you a feast for all your senses.

In a fast-paced telling of jealousy, love and ambition, four actors play multiple roles in this masterful debate on the human condition.

SISATA’s mission is to bring engaging and interactive performances of classic stories accessibly to modern audiences, highlighting the timeless issues that are presented.

Bursting with energy and sincerity, in true SISATA style, there will still be laughter and song to tie together this extraordinary play.

Juno Theatre Female Playwriting : Scratch Night |Wednesday 17th May



or call the box office on 01297 442138

 Please note that a 10% booking fee applies online and via the Tourist Info Centre



Full price: £6.00

Concessions: £5.00


Women laugh a lot. They laugh at others, they laugh with others and they laugh at themselves. The Scratch Night is a great opportunity to see the talents of eight women writers whose work is performed by local actors. Juno Theatre is proud to present their work at the Marine Theatre.

Juno image

The Zoots: Sounds of the 60s| Friday 19th May


or call the box office on 01297 442138

Please note that a 10% booking fee applies online and via the Tourist Info Centre




On stage 8pm
Full price: £15.00 + £1 on the door
Concessions; £13.00 + £1 on the door
Running time: 90 mins (approx) plus interval

THE ZOOTS are here with the Sounds of the Sixties!

“The ZOOTS are impossible not to like” – The Stage

Experience THE Sixties show that’s wowing audiences around the world, selling out and headlining venues from the Palladium to Old Trafford – with the spectacular sounds of THE ZOOTS!

THE ZOOTS are here to make your whole family bop to the ’60s beats that everybody loves – with legendary numbers by The Beatles, The Stones, The Monkees, The Beach Boys, The Kinks, Elvis and dozens more of your favourite artists. Feel the groove that’s thrilling audiences of stage and screen, in more than 30 countries! Discover why national critics call THE ZOOTS “impressive”, “authentic”, and “impossible not to like”

“The ZOOTS are impossible not to like” – The Stage

“What an amazing night!” – Stamford Corn Exchange

“The ZOOTS are fantastic” – The Beacon Theatre

“ The type of band we have always been looking for “ – Eastbourne Bandstand


Every Brilliant Thing| Wednesday 24th May


or call the box office on 01297 442138

Please note that a 10% booking fee applies online and via the Tourist Info Centre



Full price: £12.00

Concessions; £11.00

Under 26s: £6.00 (from Box Office only)

Running time: 60mins (approx) 


The worldwide smash hit is back on tour.

You’re seven years old. Mum’s in hospital. Dad says she’s ‘done something stupid’. She finds it hard to be happy.

You make a list of everything that’s brilliant about the world.

Everything worth living for:

  1. Ice cream
  2. Water fights
  3. Staying up past your bedtime and being allowed to watch TV
  4. The colour yellow
  5. Things with stripes
  6. Rollercoasters
  7. People falling over

A play about depression and the lengths we go to for those we love.

Based on true and untrue stories.

“Heart-wrenching, hilarious…possibly one of the funniest plays you’ll ever see, full stop.”
★★★★ The Guardian

“Dual interest in joy and sorrow… a perfect balance.”
★★★★ The Independent

“Absurdly cherishable…fantastically likeable.”
★★★★ The Sunday Times

LYME REGIS JAZZ & BLUES WEEKEND | Friday 26th-Monday 29th May

Jazz2  Jazz4


or call the box office on 01297 442138

Please note that a 10% booking fee may apply online and via the Tourist Info Centre


THE JIVE ACES with AMY BAKER  – Friday 26 May

Doors open: 7.30pm

Onstage : 8pm

Running time: 2 hours (approx)

Tickets: £18 seated/£15 standing

UK’s No1 swing and jive group, The Jive Aces, have an international reputation for delivering a spectacular high energy stage show guaranteed to get you on your feet – or dancing in your seat! From swinging originals to R&B classics, this sextet, and the vocal talents of Amy Baker, promises a night of infectious musical mayhem and rollicking good fun.

RUBY TURNER  – Saturday 27 May


Doors open: 7.30pm

Onstage : 8pm

Running time: 2 hours (approx)

Tickets: £25 (all seated)

Ruby Turner, Britain’s very own R&B queen, best known for her work with the Jools Holland R&B Orchestra, is simply one of the best female singers in Britain today – combining the vocal power of Janis Joplin with the gospel soul of Aretha Franklin. This is a rare opportunity to hear Ruby perform with her own band. A musical treat from a musical powerhouse.



Doors open: 4pm

Onstage : 4.30pm

Running time: 90 mins (approx)

Tickets: £12 (all seated)

The Swing Unlimited All Stars Big Band brings the music of Count Basie bang up to date in their new show, The Count Basie Project, featuring old favourites and new arrangements and originals never performed before. In this hugely exciting, exhilarating and entertaining show, the All Stars swing for all they’re worth to deliver big band bliss.


WILLE & THE BANDITS  – Sunday 28 May


Doors open: 7.30pm

Onstage : 8pm

Running time: 2.5 hours (approx)

Tickets: £14 (seated)/£12 (standing)

The blues-bending band from Cornwall is one of the best live acts in the country, having played with Deep Purple, Joe Bonamassa and Status Quo. This three piece combo fuses the spirit of Jimi Hendrix with the Delta blues, mixing slide guitar, gritty vocals and pulsating beats to create a unique exhilarating British blues sound. Supported by Adam Sweet.





According to Arthur| Wednesday 31 May


Call the box office on 01297 442138

Please note that a 10% booking fee applies online and via the Tourist Info Centre

Half Term Performance

Full price: £8.00

Concessions: £6.00

Wednesday 31st 2pm


Running time: 45mins (approx) plus ‘meet the actors’

This Half Term PaddleBoat Theatre Company present their nationally acclaimed, heart-warming, family show: According to Arthur
Meet Arthur – an old man who lives all alone in his attic. He never ventures into the outside world; instead he spends all of his time with his only friend – the moon.
But now, Arthur needs your help! One dark night, the clouds cover the sky and the moon is nowhere to be seen. Without his friend, Arthur’s life suddenly feels empty, and he feels more alone than ever before.
PaddleBoat Theatre Company invite you to bring your unbounded imagination as together we try to help Arthur find the moon again – with your help, who knows what else he might discover outside his front door…
Perfect for some Half Term Holiday Fun & suitable for ages 4+