Small-scale, high-quality touring theatre proudly based in Exeter Devon
BENCHMARK is a new theatre company formed from and supported by Cygnet Theatre in Friars Gate, Exeter.
Founded by Mark Shorto, Mark Cassidy & Alistair Ganley as part of Cygnet’s Dream Festival 2022.
The company celebrates the wit and wisdom, as well as the challenges, of aging, and aims to create accessible, high-quality, small-scale work for theatres and community venues around the South-West UK.
DUCK VARIATIONS is Benchmark’s inaugural production and began a successful summer tour in June 2022, visiting Exeter, Bristol and Dulverton, Teignmouth and Crediton.
We are delighted to be on the road again this summer, quacking around the South West visiting Exeter, Barnstaple, Shaftesbury, Farringdon, Lympstone, Paignton and Axminster.
We hope to see you soon!
Benchmark Director, Alistair Ganley, introduces DUCK VARIATIONS from the rehearsal room.
Video shot by Elliott Morgan
for Cygnet Theatre's Dream Festival in June 2022
COMING SOON TO A STAGE NEAR YOU
DUCK VARIATIONS BY DAVID MAMET
Book your tickets now!
Darn tootin’… A couple of old guys chew the fat
‘bout existentialism and stuff…
George and Emil sit on a park bench overlooking a lake and talk about life, death and ducks! Their spiky conversation touches on ageing, power, politics, environment, philosophy, mortality, and Sure as shootin’! … ducks!
Witty, playful, sometimes surreal, and occasionally poignant DUCK VARIATIONS is a delightfully combative hour of character led debate by Pulitzer Prize winning American playwright and provocateur, David Mamet (Oleanna, Glengarry Glen Ross, American Buffalo, Speed-the-Plow).
This philosophical comedy features Exeter actors Mark Cassidy (Boo to a Goose Theatre) and Mark Shorto (EXE Ensemble), and is directed by Alistair Ganley,
DUCK VARIATIONS TOUR 2023
Further dates to be confirmed
We are delighted be bringing DUCK VARIATIONS by David Mamet
to BARNSTAPLE and SHAFTESBURY for
FRINGE THEATREFEST June 22 - 24 2023
SHAFTESBURY FRINGE July 22-23
Join George and Emil on their park bench for an hour of banter, bickering, brotherhood and, of course, DUCKS!
Cygnet Theatre, Exeter , EX2 4AZ
JUNE 15th at 8.00pm
Phone: 01392 277189
FRINGE THEATREFEST, Barnstaple
We are performing in the gallery@QT , EX31 1SY at various times through the festival.
JUNE 22nd at 7.45pm
JUNE 23rd at 5.45pm
JUNE 24 at 9.15pm
TICKETS ON SALE NOW!
Shaston Social Club, Bleke Street Shaftesbury SP7 8AW
JULY 22 at 12.15pm PAY WHAT ITS WORTH
JULY 23 at 19.30 pm PAY WHAT ITS WORTH
Farringdon Village Hall, EX5 2HY SEPTEMBER 23rd at 7.30pm
Lympstone Village Hall, EX8 5JY SEPTEMBER 30th at 7.30pm
Stage Left, Palace Theatre Paignton, TQ3 3HF OCTOBER 1st at 3.30pm
Axminster Guildhall, EX13 5NX OCTOBER 8th at 3.30pm
Ticket prices vary with the venue. Please check the website
"Hey! What? Grownups squabbling about birds?"
MEET THE TEAM
All the ducks in a row
ALL THE DUCKS IN A ROW!
MARK CASSIDY plays EMIL VAREC (seated RIGHT)
Following Lockdown Zoom performances with Shake-scene Shakespeare Theatre Company, Mark is delighted to be in front of a live audience again, returning as Emil with Benchmark and - with Shake-scene - as Friar Lawrence, in Romeo and Juliet.
Mark C's previous work includes: Houston Collins (Space Cats), Shipwreck Sam (Dead Ghost Island), and Mr. Forget-me-not (Magic Garden), with Boo to a Goose Theatre. He also appears as Gramps in the family film 'Little Grey Fergie - The Animals' Best Friend'.
MARK SHORTO play GEORGE S ARONOVITZ (seated LEFT)
Mark is from Jersey and trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. He moved to London and performed in various fringe shows, also children’s and street theatre. He came to Devon to join colleagues who had formed cross-cultural Imule Theatre.
Other theatre includes White Horse in Germany, Actors of Dionysus, Orchard Theatre in Barnstaple, Drum Plymouth and Exeter's Northcott and Bike Shed. He is a Cygnet associate and has performed in three recent Cygnet productions.
ALISTAIR GANLEY – Director
Alistair is a director and drama trainer, based in Exeter. Along with founding Benchmark, he is Artistic Director of Cygnet Theatre in Exeter. His work with the Cygnet company includes Shakespeare, Ibsen, Strindberg, Modern Classics, new writing and outreach work with schools and colleges.
Alistair is Artistic Associate with Interwoven Productions, a Participatory Arts organisation in Exeter, and, since 2011 has co-created site responsive promenade performances in parks and residential streets around the city with local artists and communities.
TOUR 2023 / 2024
We are currently looking at venues for a third tour around the South West.
Please get in touch if you would like to talk about DUCK VARIATIONS visiting your theatre or community space!