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
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - B2B, Corporate - City, London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Head of Content and PR

£35000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer - Mid / Senior

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing digital agenc...

Recruitment Genius: E-commerce Partnerships Manager

£50000 - £100000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a newly-created partne...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor