Born and raised in Mareeba, Far North Queensland, Mark Sheppard is a Muluridgi/ Mbarbarrum man. Currently working for La Boite Theatre Company as Associate Producer, Mark has been a chameleon in the performance world, making waves in dance, theatre, clowning, circus, and now more recently in the stand-up comedy scene. The creator of Chasing the Lollyman, with Liz Skitch and debase Productions, which toured this little Muluridgi story around the country, Mark is passionate in story-telling and loves a good yarn. Mark’s goal is to open a small production company in Mareeba to ensure that more Murri stories are told from this part of the country, and hopes to put this plan into action in 2016.
Mark started studying at the Aboriginal Music Theatre Training Program in Perth, 1996, where he then successfully auditioned for the Bachelor of Arts, Theatre, at WAAPA, Mt Lawley, graduating in 2000. 2001 saw him move to Brisbane where he began working for Kooemba Jdarra Indigenous Theatre Company, and Collaboration Dance Company, as well as collaborating with other organisations, (Indigenous and non-Indigenous alike), to work within the community, producing and choreographing work to travel to Woodford Folk Festival and the Dreaming Festival.
Mark was introduced into the world of clowning through the amazing Brisbane based company, debase Productions, which saw him performing and touring around the country with The Clown from Snowy River, a history of Australia told in forty-five minutes, and then writing and devising his one-man show with the company, Chasing The Lollyman, which opened at the Sue Benner Theatre, Metro Arts Building, on the 28th January 2010, and then toured around the country to places such as La Mama (Melbourne). A remount was coproduced with HotHouse Theatre (Albury/Wodonga) in 2011. Chasing the Lollyman went on to tour Queensland and Australia in 2012.
2013 saw Mark move to Melbourne to join Circus Oz, where he toured with the company in their production of From the Ground Up, which started their tour travelling through Arnhem Land, Victoria, South Australia and West Australia. The show then toured through America and Montreal, Canada. Mark has also been involved with the Blackflip program through Circus Oz as both performer and mentor.
In 2014, La Boite Theatre Company was lucky enough to receive an Indigenous Creative Residencies Grant from the Australian Council for the Arts. This allowed the company to connect with the community and employ Mark as Associate Producer, and become one of their Artists in Residence for 2015. Aside from contributing artistically to the company, Mark’s wish is to gain Producing and Arts administration skills with the goal of establishing his own company working within his community of Mareeba and Kuranda in Far North Queensland.