Mark Ryan: Guitarist with Adam and the Ants who became a successful playwright

Mark Ryan was a restless musician and dramatist who played in a number of experimental punk bands before joining Adam and the Ants in time for their debut performance at the ICA restaurant in May 1977. He was in the line-up to record Plastic Surgery and appeared with the band in the Derek Jarman film Jubilee in the same year. However, soon at odds with the management, he was fired and joined The Photons with Steve Strange.

Ryan was born in Tottenham, London, in 1959 to a London Irish Catholic family originally from Limerick. His mother trained as a nurse and midwife, while his father worked as a university lecturer. Ryan left school at 16 and worked in various factory jobs until his adventures with music gave him some scope for his talents.

After the brief flare of punk faded Ryan moved to obtain a more classical education, studying music at Dartington College of Arts. He developed his interest in music to performance in the theatre and began to write plays, librettos and musicals. It was at Dartington that he met Meryl Hopwood, who was studying drama. They later married. Ryan and his first wife, Jo Rothon, had separated amicably during his time at Dartington. They remained on good terms. After touring with Horse and Bamboo Theatre, Ryan moved to Cardiff, where he developed a successful career as a dramatist and occasional actor, designer and tutor.

He was the author of over 20 plays, employing a rare combination of music, visual set-pieces and words to arrive at his own distinct style. He worked through theatre in education with Spectacle, for young people with the Sherman and in a variety of forms with Made In Wales and Equinox. Ryan's subjects were diverse: a one-woman show on Dorothy Squires, an opera, Castradiva, and many successful theatre works for children such as Sonya the Dancing Bear, and The Lazy Ant, which won Best Script and Best Production at the International Children's Theatre Festival in Shanghai. Many of his plays were performed at the Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff, where his popularity in the Welsh theatre world ensured a strong support.

His most successful work was The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde as told to Carl Jung by an inmate of the Broadmoor Asylum, a play which received publicity as the longest title at the Edinburgh Fringe in 1998 but soon garnered five-star reviews and a sell-out run, with further performances in London, Cardiff and San Francisco. His last play was Sean Tyrone, which premiered in Cardiff in 2010. He was working on several more theatre productions at the time of his death, and had also finished his first novel.

In recent years Ryan had suffered from ill-health, and succumbed to complications caused by liver damage.



Mark Ryan, playwright and musician: born London 2 March 1959; married firstly Jo Rothon, secondly Meryl Hopwood (one son, one daughter); died Cardiff 31 January 2011.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Data Scientist

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Full Stack Software Developer - Javascript

£18000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Strategic Partnerships Coordinator

£16000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Their research appears at the f...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Manchester

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment C...

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen