GRAND DESIGNS: Pelican Playhouse artistic director Mark Conoghan.
GRAND DESIGNS: Pelican Playhouse artistic director Mark Conoghan. Caitlan Charles

Playhouse powering into future

MARK Conaghan met Shakespeare in Year 12 and was hooked for life.

In his role as Pelican Playhouse artistic director, Mark has a long list of accomplishments, not to mention the love of Shakespeare, that make him perfect for the role of determining the playhouse's artistic future.

Having studied drama at Queensland University of Technology, Mark picked up his first professional gig in 1996 before performing his beloved Shakespeare plays in schools in the early 2000s.

"I also had a featured role in the Australian premiere of Monty Python's Spamalot, a Broadway musical, at Her Majesty's Theatre in Melbourne and was nominated for a Green Room Award,” he said.

”In that show I also got to hang out with Eric Idle and be directed by Mike Nichols. Most recently I was in Much Ado About Nothing for Queensland Theatre Company at QPAC, Brisbane, in 2016.”

With a long history of stage acting under his belt, Mark's upcoming production will be of Waiting For Godot, which he describes as one of the most influential and significant plays of the 20th century.

"The cast includes myself, Desan Padayachee, Bill North and Jimm Woodley,” he said.

"It's a play I've always wanted to do and I'm really looking forward to that. We are also relishing the chance to produce a musical in October with Adam Wills from the Clarence Valley Conservatorium as musical director.

"Next to Normal is a Pulitzer Prize-winning musical first performed in 2008. It primarily uses rock music to tell the story of a family living with mental illness.

"It's bitingly funny, deeply moving and has awesome music.

"Kate Joseph will take the lead in that one and anyone who saw her in last year's Long Gone Lonesome Cowgirls should be very excited to hear her sing again.”

Mark said on top of their upcoming plays, the Pelican Playhouse crew had been working hard on their restoration project, which is happening with the help of Bendigo Bank South Grafton.

"We are continuing to do restoration work on the building itself, including the equipment in the theatre,” he said.

”Our reputation as a live music venue is growing for touring artists and we want to build on that.”

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