International writer gives inspirational GCSE tips on his groundbreaking play about anorexia to Clevedon students

Mark Wheeler thrilled drama students at Clevedon School, with brilliant tips from his world best-selling play ‘Hard To Swallow’ which has become a popular play across the globe. It is based on  Maureen Dunbar’s award winning novel and film “Catherine: The Story of a young girl who died of Anorexia Nervosa”.

Catherine Dunbar died at the age of 22 in 1984 after a seven year battle against anorexia nervosa. In her novel her mother has written an extraordinarily frank and courageous account of her daughter’s illness. She not only deals with the ways in which Catherine’s illness affected her but also the effect it had on her family and how they reacted to it.

During a day of workshop work the students acted out parts of the play while Mark observed and gave insight and tips.

Student Eden Jones said: “I think that it’s really useful to have Mark in doing a workshop because it teaches us the historical, social, political context of the play and it helps us to perform better.”

Head of Drama Deb Morgan said: “Mark Wheeller is an inspirational playwright and ex-teacher who challenges students to think about the real world and discuss mature issues. It has been fantastic to work with him again and see our drama students performing with engagement and passion.”

Although Mark’s name is not well-known outside schools and colleges, he is one of the most-performed playwrights in Britain. Too Much Punch For Judy has been performed over 6,000 times and Chicken nearly 6,000.  His most recent play I Love You Mum – I Promise I Won’t Die was premiered at the Brit School. Missing Dan Nolan and Hard to Swallow are both set texts for the GSCE Drama 9-1 exams.

Mark has also written a books about his work (Drama Schemes, The Story Behind Too Much Punch For Judy, Drama Club & Hard to Swallow – Easy to Digest).  Marks plays are now released on DVD.

Mark is a full time playwright and part time Artistic Director for the Romsey School Community Youth Theatre (RSCoYT). He runs workshops across the world. In the last few years Mark has worked in the UK, Luxembourg, Hong Kong and Dubai.

Clevedon School’s Drama Department has won numerous prestigious awards. The school is part of the expanding Clevedon Learning Trust.

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