Odyssey Theatre began as Ignite Theatre when Founding Director, Mark, was still at university completing his BA in Applied Drama. At the time he was studying a module on community theatre practices and was regularly visiting residents of a local dementia ward, listening to them, facilitating workshops, and gathering stories. It was here at university that Mark witnessed the transformational power of drama whilst developing his skills in acting, directing, and workshop facilitation. This led to him wanting to create an independent theatre company to devise plays and workshops that connected drama with social issues. After graduating, Mark continued building the work of Ignite whilst working full-time in primary education.
From 2014 - 2016 Ignite produced a number of successful performances locally, which included both new writing and published works. This included Dear Mother by Mark James, The Railway Bridge Committee by Eleanor Wallace, Colder Than Here by Laura Wade, and As Sure As God's in Gloucester by Rhona Smith. A Saturday Youth Theatre was launched, drama workshops for adults with learning difficulties and holiday drama workshops for disadvantaged children in the Gloucestershire area. In late 2016, Mark decided he needed to take a break and flew out to Thailand to work as an English Teacher and support children from some of the poorest areas of Thailand.
Fast forward to November 2018 and Mark noticed a gap in the market for English speaking theatre productions in the Chonburi region of Thailand. Siam Drama Studio was born out of Mark's desire to continue working in theatre despite being over 5,000 miles from the UK. With the lack of permanent theatre facilities in the area, Siam's specialism was in producing plays for only one or two actors. Launching with Sugar Baby by Alan Harris, this award winning one-man comedy was greatly received. In the summer of 2019 Mark performed Duncan Macmillan's Every Brilliant Thing in England, Wales, Thailand, and was also invited to perform for a number of international schools in the area. This production was directed by co-artistic director, Debi, whom he had asked to come on board to help move the company forward. As Siam Drama, Mark has also taught drama to students aged 2-16 and been invited to hold workshops on character development for school art days.
In 2020 Mark felt that Ignite and Siam should be joined together under one name and with the help of our theatre friends, Odyssey became the new name. As Odyssey, both Mark and Debi are excited about the journey that awaits them.