Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

It All Added Up for Mark

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

It All Added Up for Mark

Article excerpt

Byline: Marie Turbill

If Mark Stobbart had been better at physics and maths his life might have taken a very different turn.

As an A-level student at Stockton Sixth Form College he planned to go on to become an engineer.

But, he says, while sitting in the exam room looking at the papers in front of him, he realised this just wasn't his niche in life.

Instead, he decided to make a complete U-turn and become an actor.

"Up until then acting had only been a hobby," says the 25-year-old from Norton.

"I had been in a few amateur productions but that was all."

Suddenly, there he was choosing to go off, determined to make his fortune at what had always been just a fun pastime.

It was obviously the right move because today, Mark is living in London and making it.

He has starred in several West End productions, performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company and last year appeared in the new series of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet as Oz's drag queen son.

Now he is about to return to our television screens in a new one-off drama/comedy, Reps.

Mark explains he got a foothold in the profession by getting a place at the Mountview Theatre School in London.

"It was tough to get in, I went through recall after recall," he says about the college application process with hopeful students competing for just 30 places.

But Mark must have shown some innate talent, for despite his only acting experience being from the odd musical at school and "a bit of amateur stuff", he was accepted.

He says his previous brush with acting stemmed from secondary school.

"When I was at Blakeston School we got a new music teacher who thought we should do musicals.

"I got involved because I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to woo as many women as possible. I played Danny Zuco in Grease.

"We did singing and dancing. I never took it serious until the physics and maths started plummeting at A-level time."

While he says it was hard to get into theatre school it was even harder once he graduated.

His first break came just months later with a part in the RSC's The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe at Stratford Upon Avon. From there a series of West End musicals followed.

"I did Napoleon," he says, a part for which he was grateful.

"Parts where being five foot seven is a good thing don't come along too often," he jokes.

However, further success came hot on its heels with the part of Oz's son, Rod Osborne, in the Teesside-based new series of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet.

"That was just under two years ago now," says Mark.

But despite being set in Middlesbrough all of Mark's scenes were filmed in London.

"That was a shame because it would have been nice to come home and see my family," he says.

He describes the part as his best role to be screened so far but the 25-year-old admits that he did get some stick from his mates. …

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