MCH | BLANK

Official website for Mark C. Hewitt & Blank Productions

For further details and images related to some of these projects, see Projects portfolio and Gallery

October 2016 - June 2017.
Roll Over Atlantic. (John Agard/Crosspath). Directing. Extended tour of the one man show written and performed by celebrated Caribbean-British poet John Agard with music by Thomas Arnold. Dates included (in 2016) Southbank Centre as part of London Literature Festival (4 star review), Cheltenham Literature Festival, Nottingham Festival of Literature and (in 2017) StAnza poetry festival in Scotland and Norfolk & Norwich Festival.

March 2017.
Penned Up at Erlestoke. (LLL Productions.) A second festival in a prison, this time at HMP Erlestoke in Wiltshire, offering prisoners a programme of author events, creative writing workshops and performances. the festival included a performance of 'Diving into the Wreck', the multimedia work developed by Mark C. Hewitt with poet Maggie Sawkins in which addicts in recovery tell their own story plus a version of David Mamet's Duck Variations, developed by MCH with a group of prisoners as part of the festival.

October 2016 - February 2017.
10 Mistakes Every Girl Makes in her Twenties. Directed R&D and first performances of a new spoken word performance for small audiences by poet Rachel Shorer. The work explores making a mess of the first decade of adulthood in the age of social media. Performances at The Writers' Room, New Writing South, in November 2016 and a private flat on Brighton seafront in February 2016.

September 2016.
Civilization (and its discontents). Theatre writing. Further development of the work in progress at Norwegian Academy of Music, Oslo, with composer Thomas Strønen.

May 2016 – September 2016.
This is always the result. Directed further development on Gus Watcham's live literature production leading to a second tour that began with a four star review for Brighton Fringe performances at Komedia Studio. Further performances followed in Sheffield, Hastings, Birmingham and Salisbury.

May 2016 (ongoing).
Diving into the Wreck. (Tongues & Grooves). Directing. A socially engaged production developed in Portsmouth with individuals in recovery from addiction. Written and performed by the group with support from poet Maggie Sawkins, the production evokes the secret worlds of addiction with honesty and humour. The work combines video interviews, recorded voices, live performance and live music and was first performed as part of Hampshire Festival of the Mind at The Square Tower, Portsmouth, on Sunday 15 May 2016. There have since been further performances at Portsmouth Festivities, at recovery centres in West Bromwich and Brighton and at LLL's prison festival, Penned Up at Erlestoke.

February 2016.
Congregation. Lucy Bell Gallery, St Leonards-on-Sea. First showing as work-in-progress of an obliquely autobiographical video installation by photographer Malcolm Glover with accompanying text / narrative by MCH. 'Congregation' depicts a row of parishioners saying the Our Father at a Mass in Drumkeeran Church in Ireland, (where Glover's mother was born), and in St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex, (where the artist now lives).

September – November 2015.
My Mother’s Laugh. (Directing). A theatre monologue written by Jewish writer Leah Roshinsky and performed by actress Eleanor Buchan leading to two rehearsed readings at JW3 in London and Lewes All Saints Centre.

November 2015.
Penned Up. (LLL Productions). Artistic direction of two week literature festival within the walls of HMP Lewes, offering prisoners a programme of author events, creative writing workshops and performances.

August – December 2015.
Roll Over Atlantic. (John Agard/Crosspath). Directed one man show written and performed by celebrated Caribbean-British poet John Agard with music by Thomas Arnold. A satirical reimagining of the voyages of Christopher Columbus. Preview tour included dates in Portsmouth, Ilkley Literature Festival, Tristan Bates Theatre in London and elsewhere.

September 2015. Setting up of
ZoA poetry productions with poet Maggie Sawkins to support the touring of Zones of Avoidance and the development of future projects.

April 2015 – September 2016.
This is always the result. Directing. Live literature production featuring two narratives written and performed by Gus Watcham, with film sequence by artist/filmmaker Abigail Norris. Previewed to v positive audience feedback in Brighton, Lewes and Shoreham in September 2015.

January – September 2015.
Wandering Words. (Ideas Test). Creative Producer. Managing a series of writer commissions and overseeing the development and launch of a website offering local writers in Medway & Swale areas of North Kent an opportunity to publish work in response to sense of place.

January/February - June / July 2015.
Dora vs Picasso. (Crosspath). Directed development and previews of a highly theatrical live literature production written by poet Grace Nichols and featuring live Flamenco music and dance, acted dialogue and projected images. Previewed to enthusiastic acclaim at sell-out events in Pallant House Gallery, Chichester and other venues in Sussex with further summer performances in Eastbourne, Lewes and London.

November 2014 – ongoing.
Civilization (and its discontents). (Blank Productions). Theatre writing. R&D of a new full length work for theatre with music by Norwegian sampling percussionist Thomas Strønen (of contemporary jazz ensemble, Food). Dramaturg on the project was Katalin Trencsényi.

November 2014.
Baron Samedi & Maman Brigitte. (Crosspath). Dramaturgical role. R&D of a new play by poet John Agard directed by fellow Guyanese, Marc Matthews. Steeped in Caribbean folklore, the work received two work-in-progress performances at Goldsmith’s College, London and All Saints Centre, Lewes.

November 2014.
The New Cockaigne. Directed Arts Council England funded R&D of the live adaptation of a new work by poet Catherine Smith. Performed by actors Laura Freeman and Andy Sykes with live music arranged and performed by Sam Walker. A rollicking in-yer-face 30 minute pub poetry performance.

October 2013 ongoing.
Zones of Avoidance. Directing and R&D of a multimedia live literature production written and performed by Portsmouth poet Maggie Sawkins rooted in her personal and professional involvement with the Portsmouth recovery community and telling the story of her daughter’s heroin addiction. The work combines poetry and prose with the audio testimony of former addicts. First performed at Menuhin Room, Portsmouth Central Library, 30 October 2013. In January 2014, Zones of Avoidance won The Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry.

Feb - July 2014.
Live Literature R&D. (LLL Productions). Development work on a range of new works as potential live literature productions, including Crush by Gus Watcham, The New Cockaigne by Catherine Smith and The Difference Engine by Kim Lasky.

June / July 2014.
Puff. (Crosspath). Directed summer tour of John Agard’s Elizabethan satire to local festivals and rural venues in the south of England. Performances in Portsmouth, Chichester, Eastbourne, Robertsbridge, Hastings, Hailsham, Lewes and London.

May / June 2014.
Future Dreaming. (Writing / performing / visual art) Group installation at The Foundry, Lewes, curated by artist Guyan Porter. MCH contributed an audio installation and a site-specific performance: it’s time to consult the captain of the ship of dreams.

February – June 2014.
Learning to See (Portertales). Directorial project - researching and developing an autobiographical production by visually impaired storyteller, Liz Porter. Described as a theatrical storytelling, the work features video animations by Abigail Norris and Rachel Gadsden and was performed as a work-in-progress at The Nightingale Theatre, Brighton and mac in Birmingham.

January - March 2014.
Future Dreaming - education project. Project with A-level film students at Southdown Community College to develop responses to the theme of ‘Future Dreaming’ ahead of a group exhibition curated by artist Guyan Porter.

December 2013.
Puff. (Crosspath). Directed co-developed a new play by poet John Agard. A satirical imagining of the tobacco-fuelled flirtations of Elizabeth I and Sir Walter Ralegh. Previewed with live Elizabethan music at the National Portrait Gallery, London.

November 2013 – January 2014.
Making Innovative Live Literature. (New Writing South / LLL). A second development course for writers wanting to develop texts for performance.

June - October 2013.
The Lost Room. (FrancisKnight contemporary arts practice). Writing commission. Interacting with service-users of Porchlight homelessness charity in Canterbury. Wrote blog, led creative writing workshops, conducted interviews and contributed text for an installation at The Beaney House of Art & Knowledge in collaboration with artist Nicola Flower. Read the blog.

May - September 2013.
Expiry tbc. (Peter Copley / LLL Productions). Writing and performance. Experimental production initiated by composer Peter Copley. Movements and improvisations for looped cello written and performed by the composer with text written and performed by MCH. Lighting design by Kristina Hjelm. Previewed at Nightingale Theatre as part of Brighton Fringe Festival. Accompanying ‘creative collaboration’ workshops for school students in partnership with Eastbourne College.

April – May 2013.
The Revenge Fantasy Club. (MCH Productions). Writing/producing. Spring tour of Mark C. Hewitt’s two-hander play to café venues and festivals in Brighton, Eastbourne, London and Manchester. Performed by Kathryn McGarr and Jo Bowis. Directed by Jeremy Stockwell. The play was shortlisted for Brighton Fringe ‘Best New Play Award’.

January – April 2013.
Artists International Development Fund. (British Council / Arts Council England). A grant to initiate an international collaboration with composer / jazz percussionist Thomas Strønen as part of the development of a new theatre work. Only 25 grants issued nationwide in each round.

September – December 2012.
Experiments with Live Literature. (New Writing South / LLL). A development course for writers wanting to develop their writing for performance leading to a showcase of works-in-progress at Nightingale Theatre, Brighton, in Dec 2013.

July-September 2012.
Promenade. (East Sussex Arts Partnership/Word County). Collaboration with photographer Malcolm Glover to create an installation at Eastbourne Station combining a large panoramic timescape photograph of people on the benches on Eastbourne prom alongside text drawn from snatches of overheard conversation on the seafront. The project was developed through LLL Productions as part of Word County.

May 2012.
scrublands. (Blank Productions). Brighton Fringe Festival 2012. Writing / Performing. Previewed an experimental live literature / theatre production with live music for string sextet by composer Peter Copley. The work was performed over three nights in the basement store room of the Old Police Cells Museum beneath Brighton Town Hall with Mark C. Hewitt as The Protagonist and Kathryn McGarr as The Guide, directed by Jeremy Stockwell. The work also featured slide projections by Tom Walker and video sequences by Abigail Norris and Tim Britton.

March 2012.
The Revenge Fantasy Club. Writing. Preview performances of a new play by Mark C. Hewitt as part of theplaygroup’s Eat Theatre series at Farnham Maltings, Surrey. theplaygroup was a writer-led theatre project in partnership with playwrights Matthew Wilkie and Sean Tyler. The Revenge Fantasy Club was performed by Kathryn McGarr and Jo Bowis and directed by Joe Douglas.

March / April 2012.
Altered Egos. R&D'd and directed previews of a one-woman live literature show written and performed by poet Bernadette Cremin. Sound design by John Avery. First performed at New Venture Theatre, Brighton, March 2012 then Eastbourne Festival.

June 2011 - February 2012.
Can-do signage / Resting Points. Writer-in-residence on Leysdown Rose-Tinted public art project in Leysdown-on-Sea, Isle of Sheppey. Developed text for two sculpted resting points by Alun Heslop on the Isle of Harty Trail, a cycle route through Leysdown Coast and Country Park. Interacting with local people to discover the village's finer points also developed text for directional signs and a village sign (designed by artist Laura Boswell). Installation planned for early 2012. Project commissioned by FranisKnight for Swale Borough Council and Kent County Council.

December 2011.
Calibania. (Crosspath Theatre) Dramaturgical support for a rehearsed reading at Tristan Bates Theatre, London, of a John Agard play revisting Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Directed by Jeremy Stockwell and involving an all-star cast including the late Roger Lloyd Pack.

2008 - 2011.
Dementia Diaries. (LLL Productions). Produced and directed Anglo-Polish literary theatre piece for five actors written by Maria Jastrzebska with incidental music by Peter Copley (sometimes played live in performances) . Previewed with a sell-out run of rehearsed readings at Little Polka Café as part of Eastbourne Festival 2009. Extensive research & development in 2011 funded by Wellcome Trust Arts Award leading to performances at Schools of Medicine and other venues across the UK, including London, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Cardiff and Southampton.

March 2011.
The Space Programme, (Residency.) One of nine artists on a curated international artists’ residency exploring collaboration and interdisciplinary work hosted by Irish site specific theatre company, The Performance Corporation, at Castletown House, County Kildare.

December 2010.
The Pied Piper of Londinium / Crosspath Theatre. Co-founded intercultural theatre company Crosspath Theatre with poets John Agard & Grace Nichols. Co-produced and co-directed John Agard’s 'The Pied Piper of Londinium', a pantomimic verse satire set in Roman Britain, exploring issues of multiculturalism.

July 2010.
Weight: three stories about secrets. Produced and directed live literature show by poet and writer Catherine Smith featuring three short stories adapted for the stage. Performed by Catherine Smith and actress Kathryn McGarr with incidental music by Peter Copley, lighting design by Clare O’Donoghue and sound design by John Avery. Previewed in Reading and Brighton, July 2010.

June 2010.
Hamlet Residency. Weeklong residency as theatre practitioner with 1157performancegroup exploring and deconstructing aspects of Shakespeare’s Hamlet and developing an experimental performance with local teenagers and arts centre staff.

April 2010.
Tao of Hamlet. (1157performancegroup) Performing. Work in progress performance at The Mill, Banbury.

September – October 2009.
Floor Plan. (Visual art collaboration.) Group exhibition. Phoenix Gallery, Brighton, Collaborated with artist Rowena Easton to create an installation - a strange house my voice the walls the silence. The show featured textual fragments in charcoal on plasterboard, spatial interventions such as a very small entrance door and a river of copper sequins. The aim was to evoke the atmosphere and context of some of the dream buildings documented in an earlier project, The Dream Library.

May – June 2009.
Free Speech. Creative Producer for young people’s festival in East Sussex themed around 'free speech’ and comprising a range of artists’ residencies in schools culminating in multimedia performances as part of a wider festival programme. Developed for Lewes Live Lit in association with East Sussex Arts Partnership and Festival of Words consortium.

May 2009.
Important Please Listen To This Tape. (Writing.) Audio drama for two female voices created as one of six site specific interventions for one-day-festival, Farnham Creates. Also presented at Benjamin Franklin House, London, as part of the Red Velvet Curtain Cult’s evening of installations: Kill no more pigeons than you can eat.

April 2009.
Polska by the Sea. (LLL Productions.) Creative Producer and text collaboration with photographer Lisa Barnard as part of Eastbourne Festival 2009 resulting in an installation in Eastbourne Station featuring banner portraits of some of the Polish community living and working in Eastbourne. Accompanying collection of 24 postcards with images of domestic ephemera and snippets of interview texts. Supported by East Sussex Arts Partnership.

January – April 2009.
Consequences. Creative Producer on a Made in England project for BBC South and Arts Council England South East, involving four writers working in different locations in the south of England. Outcomes included a website, a print-on-demand publication, local radio and a televised projection of text onto the roof of Salisbury Cathedral. www.madeinthesouth.co.uk

January 2009.
Untitled (exposure 1). (Writing for theatre.) Contribution to new writing showcase, malt(ings) extr-acts, presented by Farnham Playwrights Collective at Farnham Maltings in Surrey. One of five writers working with a director and actors to present a short extract of a new work-in-progress.

September – December 2008.
89% and Rising. (Performance) One of five performers in an experimental touring production taking the form of an absurd panel-show exploring attitudes to HIV/AIDS and sexual morality amongst young people. Devised and directed by Matthew Scott and Jo Dagless. Performances in schools/colleges, arts centres and theatres, October – December 2008.

September 2008.
The Butcher’s Tale. Brief appearance in short independent film by Turtleclub Productions playing the top half of an evil one-legged butcher, Written and directed by Drew Hewitt.

June – September 2008.
Caught in the act – Reading reading. (Production / text.) A collaborative project with photographer Anna Mitchell for the National Year of Reading culminating in a town centre installation of images of people reading in public spaces and text responding to interviewees’ description of their reading habits. Accompanying exhibition at Reading Central Library as part of Reading Festival of Crime Writing. Developed through Blank Productions.

June 2008.
Gridshell Symphonies / The Incredible Architectural Musical Picnic. (Creative Producer.) An exploration of music and architecture. Gridshell Symphonies, for Four Trombones and String Quartet was composed by Peter Copley in response to the architecturally award-winning Jerwood Gridshell Space at the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum, near Chichester. An audience came with picnics to hear the first performance, The afternoon included sideshows for children and additional entertainments. A Blank Productions commissioning project for ‘architecture08’.

June 2008.
Dream Library. Online archive of personal accounts of dreams submitted by a range of contributors. Launched as part of architecture08 festival in a joint event with conceptual artist and writer Rowena Easton at Aspex Gallery, Portsmouth. One section of the site focused especially on dreams involving buildings.

May/June 2008.
Ruin. Steyning Festival 2008. Second exhibition and event related to a collaboration with photographer Paul Thomas, responding to the ruins of Shoreham Cement Works. Also part of architecture08 festival.

January – March 2008.
Crea+ive Maids+one. (Text.) Interviewing, editing and drafting content for a book profiling a range of arts and creative industry practitioners living and/or working in the Maidstone area alongside photos by Manuel Palomeque. Linked to a billboard project as part of Art At The Centre Maidstone.

January 2008.
Beauty in Stone. (Writing for performance.) Text created in rehearsal for disability-led dance theatre company, Prefacemorn, referencing Greek mythology and exploring concepts of ideal beauty in relation to disability. First performed, Camden People’s Theatre, January 2008.

June 2007.
Ruin. A collaboration with photographer Paul Thomas responding to the ruins of Shoreham Cement Works in West Sussex. Project culminated in an exhibition – Ruin – at thirtyfive-a gallery, Brighton, and a talk with projected images at the Ropetackle Centre, Shoreham, as part of the Adur Festival and Architecture Week, South East.

December 2006 - March 2008.
AQQ. (Artists’ Quarter Quarterly). Writing / Editing. Quarterly arts publication linked to regeneration project Art At The Centre Maidstone in Kent. Editing, writing, commissioning and overseeing design.

October 2006 – October 2007.
Directing Live Literature. Linked to a Cultural Leadership Bursary awarded by NALD (National Association of Literature Development) – a professional development project exploring the role of the director within the sphere of performed literature. An accompanying development grant from Arts Council England South East allowed a period of shadowing work and mentoring in the process of developing a performance featuring Irish poet and novelist, Martina Evans.

September/October 2006.
Farming Stories. Writing / Facilitation. Commission from East Lindsey District Council in Lincolnshire to develop a new piece of community theatre with teenage performers based on conversations with local farmers. Led to highly successful scratch performance at the Riverhead Theatre in Louth as part of Wolds Words Festival 2006.

May – July 2006.
Embrace. (Usanu Theatre Company.) Writing for theatre. A text was commissioned based on Italian writer Frana Rame’s provocative feminist monologues. First performed at The Pauper’s Pit, Buxton Festival Fringe, July 2006. Devised / directed by Tamara Allen-Cousins, performed by Karen Ødemark.

April – July 2006.
Life Studies. (Writing / performing.) Solo show based on ‘life study’ writings, first performed at Norden Farm Centre for the Arts (under the title, 'Body Language') directed by Matthew Scott of 1157performancegroup.

May 2006.
City Running. (Text / Installation.) Mark C. Hewitt was one of over 40 artists contributing to award-winning gallery project, City Running. Devised and curated by the late Greg Daville for Brighton Fringe Festival 2006, the project involved practitioners working in a range of disciplines who, on different Saturdays over a five week period, set out from the Phoenix Gallery, Brighton at night to absorb, record, collect, collate and reflect upon the city, returning at 2.30am to exhibit or perform work created that night, the results contributing to a cumulative exhibition.

April 2006.
Farmed Out. (Writing for theatre.) Commissioned by Farnham Maltings and developed by 1157performancegroup for Upstix/Pride of Place Theatre Festival 2006, Woodbridge, Suffolk. Play for one actor and film sequences exploring decline of UK farming and the poetry of industrial rural landscapes.

March / April 2006. (Writing for broadcast.)
Funny Couple. Five minute radio story as part of new writing series commissioned by BBC Southern Counties. Broadcast in April 2006.

September 2005.
The Temptation of St Antony. (Writing for theatre.) Rehearsed reading of experimental monologue. Nightingale Theatre, Brighton.

August 2005:
Stage Fright. (Action research.) Contributed to research project at Aberystwyth University into managing performance anxiety.

2002.
Songs of Tenderness & Violence – a cycle for soprano and nine solo instruments. (Writing for performance.) Short texts evoking contemporary scenes of dysfunction, perversity and violence written to accompany new music by composer Peter Copley.

2001/2002.
Theatre R&D. Development work on a visual theatre piece involving two large red leather wingbacked armchairs. With visual artist Lindsey McGown, photographer Magali Nougarede, actors John Cullen and Jo Howarth, assorted life models, lighting technician Martin Chandler and a furniture reupholsterer.

May / August 2001.
Catastrophe. (Komedia Productions.) Performance. Acted in three of a sequence of four Samuel Beckett dramaticules (Rockaby / Ohio Impromptu / A Piece of Monologue / Catastrophe) over a 10 day run at Komedia, Brighton and three weeks at Edinburgh Fringe. With actors George Dillon and Denise Evans. Directed by David Lavender.

July 2000 – May 2001.
Hypnotrash. (Text project.) Year of the Artist residency exploring the use of hypnosis / hypnotherapy as a creative tool, culminating in temporary publication as an internet journal.

April 1998.
The Entertainers – an omnibus of contemporary writing and art. Editor and contributor. Anthology of work by writers, poets, artists, musicians and others that had contributed to the early years of the Lewes Live Literature Festival. Book design by Greg Daville.

February 1998.
Purgations. (Writing / Performance / Collaboration.) Previews at All Saints Centre, Lewes, of a collaborative performance combining a sequence of poems with live music for string sextet by composer Peter Copley and projected images by visual artist Tom Walker.

June 1996.
Hastings in the Imagination. (Text / Facilitation.) School writing project developed with artist / writer Greg Daville, running workshops with Year 9 students in Hastings to create epigrammatic descriptions of imagined scenarios in their hometown. The writings were displayed on advertising spaces in local buses.