Mark Willshire

Mark Willshire was one of the original swings in Waitress the Musical on the West End and was an understudy for Cal and Earl Hunterson.

Mark is also a photographer, and has photographed many of the West End cast.

On joining the show, Mark said: “I actually joined a little bit later than everyone else but they were all very welcoming. I had a lot of catching up to do as a Swing but it was a great experience and it was great to be in work again. I hadn’t actually worked for just under two years before joining Waitress and that was a tough time for me. I loved that it was a great cast and had a great mentality, even with all the different ins and outs of cast members. It was such a good cast to work with, and it’s quite rare that you get both a cast and show that you love at the same time, so just the general experience of the show with the people as well was great.

“Cal and Earl are both really good parts to play, though I made it no secret that Earl was my favourite! Cal was fun, and he was the first one I got on for. I hadn’t rehearsed too much, and there were two covers for each role so they shared out the workload as much and as fairly as they could. I’d been rehearsing as Earl and had only been watching Chris McGuigan (the other Cal cover) in rehearsals, and obviously I’d seen Steve Leask in the role. The first day I went on for Cal was a Saturday. On the Friday night, it was looking like the actor playing Joe was possibly going to be off the following day, which would mean that Steve would have to play Joe, and Chris was also off, so it was looking very, very likely that I would be going on as Cal. I left my house in the morning and got to the theatre at about 10am on the Saturday, just in case I was going on. Then when I got the call, I said I was already there and had been rehearsing everything in my dressing room. I went to see the Resident Director and we went over loads of stuff and she checked that I was okay with it, and then on I went! I actually had a little cheat sheet with me on stage in my Cal apron with all my cues, so whenever I was supposed to be doing business in the kitchen, I was actually reading my cue sheets to see what I was doing next! It wasn’t that I didn’t know it, it was just that when I was going on for the first time, I wanted to make sure I was doing everything absolutely right for everyone.

“The first time going on for Earl was really good fun, and it was the part I’d been waiting to go on for. I remember prepping myself for the scene where he comes in after the wedding and takes Jenna back home and shouts at her. It’s horrible and I’m supposed to come on as Earl and be angry, but I was so happy about being on and actually doing it that I had to stop myself from smiling before going on stage because if you’re angry, you can’t be smiling!”

Selected Previous Credits

West End

  • Ghost – The Musical

Off-West End

  • The Bodyguard, Tour
  • 9 To 5, Tour
  • Street of Dreams, Tour
  • Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Tour
  • Carousel, Tour
NameMark Willshire
Born16 May 1991
FromBelfast, Northern Ireland
TrainedLaine Theatre Arts
RoleSwing West End