Am dram star Chris Buckle is starring Lichfield Musical Youth Theatre's production of Rent

By Alison Norton | Staffordshire entertainment | Published:

From October 23-27, our am dram star this week will be appearing in the iconic role of Mark Cohen in Jonathan Larson’s rock musical, Rent at A3 Arena at Forest Arts Centre.

Am dram star Chris Buckle

The award-winning Lichfield Musical Youth Theatre will present this innovative show which centres around a group of Bohemians surviving in New York’s Alphabet City at the time when poverty, disease and addiction where rife.

I spoke to our star, Chris Buckle and asked him how he became involved in theatre.

“I was never really into musical theatre as a child; I preferred rock music and football but at the age of 12 I got dragged into my high school’s production of Guys & Dolls and once I got a taste for it, it became both a passion and an addiction,” he tells me.

This will be his last show with the group however.

“I performed in my first show with LMYT in 2009 and that was Rent and have since performed nine shows in nine years. It seems only fitting that my last show with them is the one that started it all,” says Chris.

Mark is intense, so I ask what research Chris had done for the role.

“His intensity is often overshadowed by the heightened emotional state of a lot of the other characters, but what is so exciting about Mark is the subtlety in the way he has been written.” Chris says.

“Mark is unable to show how upset he is and show how much he is effected by the happenings of the story, whilst trying to hold the group together as they tear themselves apart. In preparation for this role, I have concentrated on documentations of bohemian life in the late 1980s and the effects of AIDs on victims’ friends and family. Drug use also has a big part to play in Rent and Mark seems to soak up a lot of the fallout from those around him due to these factors.”


Vocally Chris says the role is challenging. “As a baritone, I feel I may have bitten off more than I can chew in terms of vocal demands, but I have been working hard on training my voice to reach and sustain the notes required.”

Mark only has one solo in the show – Halloween – which is Chris’s favourite. “It allows him to portray his own story for the first time in the show – all of the emotions and anxiety he has been burying come to the forefront and he is able to give the audience just glimpse of what is going on in his mind,” says Chris.

Rent is my favourite modern musical. I’m sure Chris will enjoy being in it.

l For tickets for Rent, visit or call 01922 654555.

Alison Norton

By Alison Norton

Theatre critic and unofficial 'am dram queen' for the Express & Star and Shropshire Star


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