Amazing Experiences & Incredible People – Mark Chard

I was introduced to community theatre as a spectator back in 2001. After seeing Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat at the Capitol Theatre, I said to my wife, “I recognized some of the actors”. I was amazed when she explained how it’s community theatre and anyone can audition. So I said if they were to ever do Jesus Christ Superstar, I’d consider trying out.

Well a few months later my wife came to me with a big grin and told me that Northumberland Players were going to do JCS!! What are the chances?? She then said are you going to s*it or get off the pot? So I gave it a shot.

I got a part as one of the apostles and was in pure amazement of the local talent we had. My wife Lori, daughter Madison and son Teigan came to almost every performance. Madison was in the front row singing along to every song.

A newspaper clipping of an article about Jesus Christ Superstar.
Some of the cast of Jesus Christ Superstar.

The next year the Players were doing Evita. I didn’t know much about it but I had been bitten by the bug and wanted to be in it. I again got a part and was thrilled. Then Madison asked if she could come to rehearsal with me. She was 9 and very well behaved, so I asked Val Russell, the director, and she said sure.

Well Madison quickly learned all the lyrics, the choreography and helped her dad to learn his part. If someone was absent from rehearsal, she would stand in for them. Val noticed how well behaved she was and how she knew all the lyrics, so she decided to add Madison to the cast.

A highlight to any parents life is to share the stage with their child. She did amazing and had the audience in tears as her tiny trembling hand reached out to Evita (Tanya Wills). We continue to do shows together whenever possible.

I have had the pleasure of being a part of the big musical that Northumberland Players have done for almost every year since 2002. I have literally lifted or carried a long list of local talent. I thought I got roles in these shows for my acting but I’m beginning to wonder if it was for my lifting abilities!!!

Mark Chard, centre, in The Full Monty.

But in all honesty, it’s the wonderful casts and crews that have lifted me over these years, that make doing shows most memorable. I have met so many new people that I now call friends.

I was never one to get the post-show blues but not seeing my theatre friends has been tough. Here’s to a future where we can once again perform for a live audience and transform ourselves into a character that entertains. Even if it’s for a short period.

Northumberland Players has opened me up to some amazing experiences and incredible people. 16 big musicals, 1 additional musical, 1 dinner theatre and lots of set work. A large number of friends = priceless!