Over the last few months we’ve heard so many stories of people going that extra mile during lockdown to help and support others. When an email came into SOUTH WALES LIFE telling us about a Swansea man who uses his talent to turn ‘dreams’ into ‘reality’ and ‘hope’ into ‘ambition’ we simply had to find out more.
MARK JERMIN is a theatre and arts entrepreneur who has made the dreams of thousands of young people come true over the years.
Mark is the driving force behind his UK talent agency, based in the heart of Swansea. They specialise in personal management and professional representation for both adults and children. His business is all about ‘opportunity’, giving talented individuals a chance to shine in front of some of the biggest Film, TV and Theatre producers in the world.
We applaud that philosophy whole-heartedly. We are more than aware of just how difficult it is for anyone to break down the doors to show what they have to offer. Having someone like Mark on your side, with the ability to unlock those doors and get your foot inside, is crucial in a business like this.
And Mark and his team have been doing this for a long while now. With over 10 years of experience in the entertainment industry, the company has built a strong reputation as an established agency which is well respected among industry professionals.
Under Mark’s guidance, students have gone on to train at specialist colleges including RADA, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Arts Educational Schools London, Bird College and Guildford School of Acting. They have also gone on to perform on television, stage and screen.
Where do we even being to list the roster of talent Mark nurtures? The truth of the matter is, we can’t, his portfolio is way too long. What we can tell you is that you will definitely have seen one of Mark’s clients appearing somewhere recently.
He has incredible links with all the major TV stations, BBC, ITV, Netflix, Disney, Channel 4 and so many more. All we can do is direct you to Mark’s web and social media presence at the foot of this feature.
Mark’s experience goes back much further, with the Mark Jermin Stage School which was founded 28 years ago. Since it started, from the small and humble beginnings at Pontlliw Village Hall, the school has grown exponentially over the years, with its heart very much belonging to Swansea. He has been guiding the talent of tomorrow, giving them the skills and opportunities to thrive in the professional industry.
While the stage schools still prosper, and give young people the chance to explore their potential, Mark and his team have moved in to the old Leather Sofa Company site on Carmarthen Road in Swansea. He’s invested his life’s work and savings into the venture, providing an ultra-modern, cool, vibrant setting for students, and the community to use. And it was that building which first caught our attention.
Which gets us back to the email we received from Sara, one of the Mum’s whose daughter is a huge fan of Venue No. 1.
‘Mark has been absolutely amazing for my children, (and many hundreds of children), throughout the past six months. Not only that, he has now opened the most incredible venue on Carmarthen Road, Swansea, that hundreds more children can now go and enjoy.’
‘When lockdown first happened and families across the UK had no idea where to begin with this new life of isolation, Welsh-man Mark Jermin and his team turned Mark’s theatre schools and talent agency business on its head to not only stay afloat during lockdown but absolutely made lockdown bearable for my children and hundreds and hundreds of children from all over the UK.’
‘In week one we had an online audience with Sheridan Smith (WOW!) and subsequent weeks saw the children getting personal direction from Amy-Leigh Hickman (the newest star of hit BBC TV series Our Girl!) and dance sessions scored Strictly-style by West End choreographer Arlene Philips (legend!).‘
‘Mark did this all whilst turning a disused Swansea furniture shop into a venue, aptly named ‘ Venue No.1’ Creative Collaborative Community that Hollywood dreams are made of (and where students’ dreams begin!)!!! For example, two students are currently off filming with Hollywood A-listers in a new blockbuster movie – and many many more!!!‘
So with that recommendation, how could we not go and visit Mark and his amazing team ay Venue No. 1, which is precisely what we did. We spent a morning with Mark, talking about his work, and getting a (socially distanced) look behind the doors.
We think you’ll agree that Venue No. 1 is an amazing place – it’s like a pocket of Hollywood magic, in the heart of Swansea, with the power to bring fun and sparkle to children’s day to day living and to bring their dreams to life!
For us here however, it’s not all about making stars. We believe, as it seems Mark and his team do, that having a place to express, grow and discover who you really are, is so important nowadays. In a world where we all spend our lives watching screens, having places, like Venue No. 1, where you can meet, chat, have fun and be yourself is crucial. It’s about allowing our children to develop. To help them build their confidence and self worth. If they get an opportunity to take that even further, all the better.
Take a look at 8 year old Jessica Mason’s work and you’ll see how Mark and his team nurture talent across all ages.
You may think it wrong for us to call Mark and his team heroes, especially during these difficult times. But speak to the children who find escape behind the doors of Venue No. 1. The hundreds who sing, dance, act and live their bedroom dreams. Also, meet everyone of the thousands of people who have gone on to successful careers under Mark’s guidance. I think you’ll find the word hero is very much a part of their vocabulary.
Venue No.1 is Swansea’s premiere rehearsal venue, with Dance Studios, Drama Rooms, Self Tape Studio, Cafe, Changing Rooms & Offices. But we believe it’s much more than that.
You may drive past it everyday and wonder what goes on behind those doors. Here’s our tip. Pull into the free car park, go into the cafe and grab a cuppa, and just take in the atmosphere for half an hour. You’ll soon find it’s a building filled with enthusiasm, excitement, hopes and dreams. It’s a place for genuine support too. Kids are nurtured not judged, they’re allowed to express themselves without fear of embarrassment or humiliation. Most of all, and we can’t stress this enough, it’s a place to have fun.
To find out. more about all of Mark’s operations, including Venue No. 1, just click on the images below.