Mark Jermin, BA Hons TMD
Director of the Mark Jermin Stage School
How it all started
Mark showed a keen interest in performing arts at an early age winning local and national Eisteddfods in recitation and singing. As a solo boy soprano, singing with Côr Waunarlwydd, he performed in Germany and throughout the UK. Age 10, Mark decided not to accept a scholarship with St Paul’s Cathedral Choir in London, and attended Pontarddulais Comprehensive School, where his theatrical skills were developed taking leading roles in productions and winning the School Drama Award. As a young member of West Glamorgan Youth Theatre, he performed in a number of plays and musicals.
At the age of 15, Mark had established a small drama group passing on his knowledge and theatre skills to his sister and a group of her friends in a community hall in Swansea. Little did he know that this was his destiny!
Mark’s Student Years
Whilst studying at Gorseinon College, he continued to work in various styles and disciplines including dance and gained experience dancing with the BBC Proms in the Park. After completing his ‘A’ levels and winning a Gorseinon College Award for Outstanding Student Contribution, Mark continued to study Theatre, Media and Drama, in his final year specialising in Direction and Acting Techniques at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, University of Glamorgan.
As a drama student, Mark wrote, directed and performed his one man show ‘Aberfan’ which was selected as one of the best student plays and was invited to perform at the National Student Drama festival, Scarborough in 1988, winning critical acclaim in the Sunday Times and Stage Newspapers. Mark was also invited to take his show to the Edinburgh Festival.
Throughout all his training, Mark continued to travel back to Swansea to teach at his own Stage School which was now thriving.
Up and Down the M4
After his degree, Mark moved to London to work at Ravenscourt Theatre School to develop and perfect his teaching skills. After a short time he was asked to manage the Ravenscourt Children’s Agency, which he agreed to on the condition that he could use the agency to also represent his own pupils. Very quickly Mark’s aptitude for training and casting children was recognised among top London casting director along with the talent and standards of the young people trained and represented by him at Ravenscourt and his own stage school.
During this time, Mark put his life personal life on hold and commuted from London to Swansea every weekend to teach at the Pontlliw Stage School. He also put on a number of spectacular productions over these three years including Showstoppers 2000, Annie, Honk, Slice of Saturday Night and A Chorus Line.
During this time Mark introduced GCSE and ‘A’ level Drama classes for his pupils, offering them the chance to study an additional subject outside of their school options. His students have a 100% pass rate and more than 95% of pupils have achieved an A* at GCSE level and grade ‘A’ at A Level. This teaching has encouraged many pupils to go onto study drama or performing arts at some of the top UK stage and drama schools including RADA, LAMDA, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Guildford School of Acting, Laine Theatre Arts, Arts Education and Mountview.
His commitment to teaching theatre skills to children is unwavering. This dedication has been widely recognised within the theatre world at both a national and a local level. Recognition of his talents has resulted in Mark and his stage school receiving a host of prestigious awards and accolades such as being selected as a sponsor and judge for children’s programmes in the BAFTA Cymru awards; Daily Mail Enterprising Young Brit Award winner in 2005 for business acumen, presented by Gordon Brown; nominated for Teacher of the Year in the Annual British Association of Teachers awards; outstanding contribution award for dedication and commitment at the Annual Children in Entertainment Awards; and the High Sheriff of West Glamorgan award for outstanding services to young people.
In 2004, his Stage School was the subject of a BBC fly on the wall, prime time documentary, ‘Star Struck’, following the trials and tribulations of the children during their classes, rehearsing for shows and attending auditions and film shoots.
Stage School Achievements
Mark has produced, directed and choreographed a huge number of events and productions. These include both the opening ceremony at Swansea’s new Liberty Stadium and the closing ceremony of Cardiff Arms Park. Mark Jermin Students also performed alongside Catherine Zeta Jones, Katherine Jenkins and Shirley Bassey in the high profile opening ceremony of the Ryder Cup in October 2010.
His direction credits include Annie, Honk, Cabaret, Slice of Saturday Night, The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Is there Life After High School, Grease, Jerry’s Girls, Blood Brothers, Chorus Line, Les Miserables, High School Musical and Hairspray.
The quality of a Mark Jermin production and the talent of his pupils has been rewarded over the last three years when the stage school has been invited to perform in West End Live, a weekend celebration of all the current West End productions. This has seen Mark Jermin students performing alongside top West End stars including Michael Ball, Kerry Ellis and Lena Salong.
Mark has seen various students grow and flourish under his guidance. Past students have trained or are currently trading at RADA, LAMDA, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Guildford School of Acting, Laine Theatre Arts, Arts Education and Mountview. Others are working within the industry and he is delighted to see a steady flow of past students who are making established names for themselves within the film, theatre and TV industry. He is proud of each and every one of them and his role in encouraging and developing their talent.
Over the years, Mark has opened many more stage schools across South Wales and more recently into England. Today, there are nine individual schools in Swansea, Carmarthen, Llanelli, Port Talbot, Penarth, Pontypridd and Cardiff and London.
The Mark Jermin Stage School is now the largest and fastest growing specialist performing arts educational institution in the UK.
Mark Jermin Management Agency
In January, 2009, Mark Jermin Management officially opened and since then Mark’s feet haven’t touched the ground with children from the stage school being avidly sought after by casting directors on a national and global level. The head office of Mark Jermin Management is based in Swansea with a satellite office in London.
Stage school students represented by the management agency have landed leading roles in key TV productions such as Eastenders, Waterloo Road, Casualty, Tess of the D’Urbevilles, Dr Who, Torchwood, Pobyl-y-Cwm, Skins and Stella.
Students also feature regularly in other media; some examples include the touring theatre production of Romeo and Juliet, musical theatre productions of Joseph and his Technicolour Dreamcoat, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the Michael Jackson Story, and thousands of TV adverts and live television programmes.
Mark Jermin students are also regularly cast in high profile films, these have included: Love Actually, About a Boy, Four Feathers, Mr Nice, the Big I Am, Angus Thongs and Perfect Snogging and more recently featured roles in Hunky Dory, Submarine and The Iron Lady.
The success and reputation of the agency is now so well recognised within the industry, Mark Jermin Management now represents adults as well as young people and often the first choice for casting among the top UK casting directors and producers.
Today the agency is responsible for placing more than 400 performers each week across a variety of roles in the broadcast and stage media. Mark runs regular workshops on behalf of casting directors and when required he personally casts young and adult performers in key roles for tv, radio, film and stage companies.
20 Years 'The Story So Far'
Last year was Mark’s 20th year of teaching children and youngsters in performing arts and he marked this with a celebratory concert held in The Grand Theatre, Swansea in June 2012. Mark produced and directed the concert named ‘The Story So Far’ which was a celebration of the school and its success. With over 800 students performing together and some key past students whom Mark has helped shape and guide in their careers, this was an exciting, star-studded occasion.
Mark is now looking forward to what the future holds for him personally as well as for his students, his stage school and the Mark Jermin Management Agency.