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sept 2019

by Robert Louis Stevenson


A compelling one-man show

adapted and performed by Mark Stratford


Running Time: 80 minutes

"Macready! Dickens' Theatrical Friend"

(Previously known as "Drama King")

The compelling story of the great Victorian actor-manager, Macready

– the man to whom Charles Dickens dedicated Nicholas Nickleby.


A solo show written and performed by Mark Stratford


Duration: 80 minutes (no interval) or two acts of 40 minutes duration each with interval)

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This compelling show - written and performed by Mark Stratford - tells the story of the great Victorian actor-manager, William Charles Macready - the man to whom Charles Dickens dedicated Nicholas Nickleby.

A must for drama fans, this remarkable true tale captures the sheer joy, graft and tribulations (!) of a life lived in theatre.

With passion, humour, emotion, and an array of characters, Stratford takes us on a journey through the fascinating world of Victorian theatre and the extraordinary, yet conflicted life of Macready, from his first tentative steps on stage in a tatty country theatre to his final ever performance at the mighty Drury Lane!


And, as 2023 marks the 150th anniversary of Macready's death, the production also pays a timely tribute to a theatrical pioneer who did so much to influence our theatre of today.


“I wish I were anything rather than an actor – except a critic; let me be unhappy rather than vile!” - William Charles Macready


"A fascinating play about the life and loves of William Charles Macready... Fringe Theatre doesn’t get much better than this"

"...effortless story-telling, Stratford’s pace driving the narrative seamlessly. It is all compelling and charming"


"Stratford’s remarkable ability to tell Macready's story and create characters brings it all to life


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"A fascinating and insightful production"

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"Mark Stratford has come up with a fascinating show which brings Macready to life"

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"An entertaining, informative and impressive production... Stratford’s account of Macready’s life whizzes by in the company of one remarkable actor sharing the story of another"

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"An entertaining portrait...a timeless story of struggle, perseverance and sacrifice in making a living from one’s art" (British Theatre Guide)

"What a performance! Mark Stratford truly becomes Macready, he does not just act it"

(Southwark News)

"A very master class in how to do a one-man play...a joyous tribute to the acting profession... Stratford’s warm, engaging personality shone through each of the many characters he portrayed" (Cambridge Critique)

"Stratford’s great gift is to equally inhabit the life and soul of Macready... The play shows us the many ups and downs of Macready’s career and it’s gripping to watch" (GScene)


"An absolute joy of a production" (Watford Fringe Reviews)


video trailer

DK Video Trailer
Macready! - Show Trailer

Macready! - Show Trailer

Play Video

Filmed at the Abbey Theatre, St. Albans


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