Who was Mark Kingsford
Mark Kingsford (London 1952-Amsterdam 2020) was a physical theatre comedian, actor, director, scriptwriter and drama teacher. During his early years he was inspired by Monty Python, Spike Milligan and Peter Sellars. Mark lived in Amsterdam since 1974. There his father-in-law saw in him a natural mime artist and introduced him to mime teacher Rob van Reijn. After 9 months in Rob’s theatre company, Mark was hired by Technical Theatre group Perspect in Haarlem. Here mime players, artists and theatre technicians co-created absurdist live comic strips. Together with sound-effect comedian Michael Helmerhorst he created his favourite performances of their duo comic act Spin & Marty.
One of Marks strongest assets was his ability to improvise to the reactions to his audience. A fully structured group theatre performance did not give him much opportunity for this, and therefore he experimented with solo street performances in the 1980’s. He managed to catch his audience’s attention without government subsidies and theatre decors. This resulted in performing at summer theatre festivals all over Europe, together with violinist Lucas Amor and guitarist Auke Hofstra in ‘Limited Company’. Mark’s cartoon theatre performances belonged to the Festival of Fools tradition and he was one of the initiators of the Oerol Open-Air Theatre Festival. Mark’s way of interacting with his audiences has led to many successful comical performances in the corporate world.
For 25 years he worked closely together with actress/dancer Jantine Kraayeveld in opening congresses, fairs and comical farewell speeches for CEO’s and Medical Specialists (see CV). Later he was often hired as a presenter and master of Ceremonies. Together with Bink Events, Mark performed at 20 worldwide events for Company Managers.
Mark’s experiences during a 1990 theatre tour through Siberia and Mongolia were the inspiration for his best received tragi-comical solo performance ‘Zoll’ (The Border). In Zoll he plays a lonely customs officer on the desolate border of an Eastern European dictatorial regime in the 1980’s, just before the fall of the Berlin Wall. Zoll’s direction and sound effects were done by Michael Helmerhorst. ‘Zoll’ performances traveled to Finland, Poland, Denmark, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands.
Over the past 25 years Mark directed a lot of theatre companies: comedy groups, music- and puppet theatre. Also in Germany, where actors were inspired by Marks perfomance in ‘Zoll’. Mark has written a great number of scripts for these companies, and awards have been won.
Mark was a very hard worker as well as a warm, interested and exquisite human being. And above all a great children’s friend. He is deeply missed and will be happily remembered by many.