Biography

templatemo_image_06Born in 1954 in the then County of Westmorland, to Frank and Dorothy the fourth child and third son; Alan Whittaker.  Who then, raised on Goons, Doctor Who and copious love went on, after an unspectacular schooling and an almost legendary number of failed  jobs to somehow obtain an Honours Degree in Sculpture from W.S.C.A.D, Farnham, at roughly the same time through working with Welfare State International he also became an actor and street entertainer. So concurrent to having his work exhibited alongside luminaries such as Damien Hirst and Rachel Whiteread, he was also fire eating and performing comedy magic on the streets of England.

Later years saw his sculpture “Dragonfly” a unique artwork sited on a platform floating on Derwentwater (the only piece of sculpture ever to have been insured by the famous shipping underwriters Lloyds of London) when he was also founding (with Carol Jamieson) the touring theatre company Motley Vagabond in West Cumbria performing Shakespeare around the County and working with Ali McCaw of Changeling Productions on The Carlisle Mystery Plays and Dreams of Beasts (playing the lead role of William The Carver). Both staged in Carlisle Cathedral, Wyrd Arts with their street production of King Kong (playing Carl Denham filming a twelve foot high Kong on the streets of Manchester and elsewhere). It was with Changeling Productions that he first became a storyteller and puppeteer and it was that that gave rise to… Wizardmarra.

As the storyteller Wizardmarra, Alan is in his Dharma and has told tales everywhere from Glastonbury Festival to The West Cumbrian Holstein Breeders Association Christmas dinner. He performs regularly at Stainsby Festival where he also hosts an open mic stage. For his tales as many before him he never lets facts get in the way of a good story, though facts aplenty are in there too. His stories take you from the authentic Cumbrian landscape and folklore with tales of King Arthur and The Riddling Giant, ancient Greece through the eyes of Odysseus and to meet the little old man and woman who live at the beginning and end of time and many more.

…and bluesmonkey his walkabout blues harmonica playing puppet bluesmonkey, this seriously madcap puppet hilariously afflicted with some deep seated issues and bad case of the blooze!.

Latterly he created and ran (until 2010) the iconic Drystone Stage for Solfest, and he currently runs The Jack in the Green stage for Nuts In May Festival and is resident M.C. for the Black Barn Stage at Off The Tracks Spring and Summer festivals.

For 2014 he is currently developing “Wizardmarra’s Magic Lantern Show” an indoor presentation of authentic Cumbrian stories seasoned with liberal dose of the original “Greatest Liar In The World” Will Ritsons’ and Wizardmarras belief of “never letting facts get in the way of good story”, and another walkabout character that involves a mildly incontinent sheep.