Improvised ‘punk’ drama series ‘Wonky’ created in Margate

The cast of Wonky

An improvised drama series has been shot in Margate which its creator says has a focus on “working class actors” taking control of characters and themes.

Wonky is a deliberately provocative and satirical, grassroots project created by Margate resident Ryan Clifford with the help of six “exhibitionist” locals.

The 44-year-old trained as an actor in London on a scholarship from Anthony Hopkins when he was 19. He then taught drama but says it was mainly to “middle class kids wanting to be ghetto.”

A relationship with 80s singer Marilyn, a lottery win and then a break up led Ryan to Margate some five years ago.

Ryan said: “I went out with pop star Marilyn and Marilyn won the lottery so there was free cash and we spent a few years not working. Then we broke up and I came to Margate. We went out again for a while but broke up again.

“So I went from working, and then giving up work, in London and then was broke and came to Margate as I thought it would be cheap.”

Ryan, who says he became interested  in ‘class politics’ after his training, recently decided to put his acting and teaching skills to use but says he wanted to create something for and with Margate locals.

He said: “I have built some good friendships and wanted to do a social realist series with the idea to do it for locals. It’s not for my career or to make money, it was just for fun.”

Over the summer filming took place and seven episodes are now going through the editing process.

Ryan said: “It is pretty random, it is all improvisation, there was never going to be a script. I gave them (cast) a character and they created the relationships with each other.

“We came up with a theme and then did shoots on the high street, we would do it once so no retakes, so it was all really fresh. There is no instruction for the actors so they have creative freedom.

“Each episode is around 20-25 minutes long. I’m currently doing the (show) editing in Soho where I used to live before it was gentrified. It had lots of characters but now London is expensive to live in and those people are no longer there.”

Ryan says he wants to show Margate’s diversity through a cast of varying ages, heritage and sexuality.

The Wonky crew will also be performing their ‘biggest flop’ with a musical show in Margate and London in January.

The Margate show is currently scheduled to take place at Sundowners on January 20th at 10pm – dependent on the venue being back open by then. A further show takes place in London the following week.

The first series of Wonky will go online in January or February next year and now Ryan wants to start working on a second series.

He said: “I want to inspire working class creatives. I want it to be authentic so people are not stifled by a production company.

“I’m going to start running evening classes in February, it won’t cost anything and if people have no acting experience it doesn’t matter. I take it quite slow, talk about what they think and feel about the world and take it from there.”

Anyone interested in getting involved in Wonky series 2 can email Ryan at [email protected]

5 Comments

  1. Brilliant project I love it, we’ve had so much fun already, can’t wait for episode 1! And excited about the live appearances and meeting season 2 newbies! Brilliant! Thanks to Rhyan & the rest of the WONKY crew, and thanks Isle of Thanet news. Much love xx

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