Thameside Theatre bids farewell to much-loved manager after thirty four years

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YOU know, some people are just nice.

On Saturday night, friends, colleagues and family of Thameside Theatre manager, Mark Allinson gathered for a night of music, laughter, tears and speeches as he steps down after thirty-four years in charge.

A son-of-the North East, Mark came to the theatre back in 1985. Since then he has seen thousands of acts appear on the stage.

More importantly, he has encouraged so many people to take their first steps on the stage.

His colleagues also paid tribute, telling Mark he has been so supportive in their careers.

There was a host of video tributes from artists and members of the community. They included X Factor winner Louisa Johnson.

An example of Mark’s encouragement bringing rewards perhaps is as follows. Back in 2011, singing teacher Shana Elliott had an idea for a singing showcase at the Thameside. She wanted to give some of her tutees the first experience of being on a stage and all that came with it such as soundchecks, dressing rooms, audiences etc.

Mark Allinson gave Shana every encouragement. Among the acts was a shy twelve-year-old from Chafford Hundred called Louisa Johnson. That experience paved the way for her success.

We are sure there is a “Mark Allinson was so supportive” story for every year from 1985 to 2019.

Here is Louisa Johnson at the Thameside Theatre. For the record, it is the most viewed YT film with 492,000 views.

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