David Semark Steps Into Ian McKellen’s Shoes as John Falstaff In “Player Kings”

David has been a podcaster on "One World One Blood Bowl" since September 2021.

The 52-year-old British actor, trainer, and facilitator David Semark is currently based in Barnet, England, United Kingdom. David replaced Sir Ian McKellen after he suffered a serious injury and was hospitalized while performing his role in Player Kings.

David Semark is a trained actor from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) who completed his graduation in 1997.

He has been acting for more than two decades, and his supplementary income sources are from training and development.

David has also been a podcaster on “One World One Blood Bowl” since September 2021.

On this podcast, he hosts and produces episodes centered around the tabletop and online game Blood Bowl, featuring conversations with various people involved in the game.

Previously, David worked as a Senior Associate at the Garnett Foundation in Amersham, England, from September 2001 to November 2020.

During his nearly 19-year tenure, he designed, facilitated, and delivered interactive training sessions and managed a team of facilitators and actors.

Details about his family background are not available,

David Semark as a DC Manner In East Enders (2017) at Episode 1.5429 (Source: EastEnders Fandom)

The veteran actor Sir Ian McKellen, 85, personally contacted his understudy David Semark about taking on his role in ”Player Kings” as John Falstaff.

After Sir Ian fell from a West End stage and was hospitalized after having a severe injury, David replaced him.

He lost his footing while performing the role of Sir John Falstaff at the Noël Coward Theatre while performing in a fight scene.

Shortly after the incident, a theatre spokesperson said McKellen had undergone a scan, and medics said he would “make a speedy and full recovery.

Consequently, two shows were canceled to allow Sir Ian to rest before David Semark stepped in to finish the West End run.

Sir Ian McKellen was the first to champion his replacement. In his statement, he said,

“Two weeks after my accident onstage, my injuries improved day by day. It’s with the greatest reluctance that I have accepted the medical advice to protect my full recovery by not working in the meantime. I had so been looking forward to bringing Player Kings to theatre-goers in Bristol, Birmingham, Norwich and Newcastle. But I can assure them that, with David Semark now playing Falstaff, Robert Icke’s production and his acting company remain as dazzling as ever. Go see for yourself”

Sir Ian McKellen

As David says, Sir Ian has been incredibly supportive throughout his rehearsal periods, and he wouldn’t have had the courage to take over the role of John Falstaff without his guidance.

The incredibly talented David’s theater credits include Mousetrap (St. Martin’s), An Ideal Husband (Theatre Clwyd), The Real Inspector Hound, Black Comedy (The Northcott, Exeter), Richard III (RSC Tour/Savoy), Bouncers (Hull Truck at the Whitehall), Woyzeck (Gate), Unearthed, The Gift, Larksong, Beowulf (New Victoria), and Crossing the Line (Tour for Operating Theatre).

Similarly, his film and TV credits include Hustle, Law and Order UK, Doctors, The War on Drugs, Guiltology, The Bill, Talk (for Winkle Films), Soldier Soldier, Armadillo, EastEnders, Emmerdale, Whatever You Want, London’s Burning, Down To Earth, Casualty, Holby City, and The Booze Cruise II: The Treasure Hunt.

In Case You Didn’t Know

  • David Semark, as a DC Manner in East Enders (2017), is an undercover police officer.
  • As a Senior Associate at the Garnett Foundation, David co-designed the BITC award-winning ‘Arrivalution.’ He was also a Lead facilitator and co-designer in the largest public sector multi-agency diversity training process, South Yorkshire’s ”Race to Train.”
  • Player Kings” is an urgent version of Shakespeare’s Henry IV, adapted by the award-winning writer and director Robert Icke.


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