Marcus Dilly - yes, Dilly. That is his real name and it has indeed been the cause of much mirth and merriment over the years! More on that shortly. Read on...
With only the role of one of the three kings under his belt from primary school, and little drama opportunities in his secondary school years, it wasn't until leaving school and a spur of the moment decision to join the very wonderful youth theatre at the Pegasus Theatre in Oxford, that Marcus caught the acting bug. A bug that first resulted in some rather gut-wrenchingly bad Marlon Brando style performances – but all was not lost!
Realising that the best person to act like Marlon Brando was probably Marlon Brando, Marcus set up his own theatre production company. Directing and performing, receiving a Lottery grant, Marcus had some success at various fringe events, but with performances in rather bleak plays such as Steven Berkoff's 'Harry's Christmas' and the brilliant but sombre 'The Laramie Project', the serious brooding ghost of Mr Brando was still lingering! It was through solo performances, playing up to twelve characters, performing the plays of American playwright Eric Bogosian, that Marcus discovered it was with laughter and audience interaction that were perhaps his true calling. The problem? How do you keep performing and developing, whilst keeping the wolves at the door and paying those endless pesky bills? So began a hugely successful strand in his career in teaching young people the skills and confidence to perform and present, through LAMDA and Trinity lessons, and also running youth theatres, holiday drama clubs and supporting hundreds of young people in their development, not only as young actors, but also improving their self-esteem and confidence.
Alongside this, Marcus saw an opportunity to provide education enrichment for primary schools combining two areas he loves: drama and history. Through Creative Education UK, Marcus offers history and storytelling shows to schools. Writing and performing shows on a huge range of historical subjects and reimagining countless classic tales, Marcus has so far entertained and enriched the lives of over 95,000 children!
In 2016, that name...Dilly... that had been the cause of great hilarity for a large part of his life suddenly took on a new meaning and Mr Dilly’s World of Wonder was born! Theatre, festivals and events beckoned and Marcus has now perfected a unique style of improv, comedy, and entertainment all wrapped up in a celebration of story. His talent for working with an audience and bringing out the hidden performer is something to behold!
This exciting chapter in his career has led to working with fantastic charities such as The National Literacy Trust and The Lily Foundation, museums such asThe DDay Museum, festivals such as The Brighton Fringe and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literaure Festival, to name a few. Marcus is also working alongside the amazing Salariya Book Company and has been bringing to life some of their fantastic best- selling series of 'You Wouldn't Want to be...' books, starting with 'You Wouldn't Want to be an Egyptian Mummy!' The first show previewed at The Times and Sunday Times Cheltenham Literary Festival in October 2019 to a sell-out crowd! And 'You Wouldn't Want to Be a Roman Gladiator!' debuts at the Cheltenham LitFest this October!
With COVID-19 changing the way we all work and appearaces at this year's Guernsey LitFest, Barnes LitFest and others cancelled, Mr Dilly's World of History now brings history to life in a series of online short films, with features and interviews on BBC radio, a new chapter begins! Who knows where this world of wonder will take Mr Dilly next?! Watch this space!