New play tells life story of Eastwood drag queen who has raised £370,000 for charity

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An Eastwood highways worker who overcame adversity to raise more than £370,000 for charity is set to become the subject of a brand new play.

Mark Preston, also known by his alter-ego Miss Zandra Pepper, has been performing in drag for the last 22 years after a battle with serious depression drove him to follow a new passion.

Before becoming Zandra, Mark had tried to take his own life on two occasions.

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Highways worker Mark said: “In 1999, I had a nervous breakdown. I had given up, honestly. But my friends encouraged me to try out drag and I loved it pretty much straight away.

Mark performs as his sassy alter-ego Miss Zandra Pepper.Mark performs as his sassy alter-ego Miss Zandra Pepper.
Mark performs as his sassy alter-ego Miss Zandra Pepper.

“By being Zandra, it started to get me out of my depression. It saved my life, really.

“That's why I started doing shows for charity.”

The quirky performer has never taken a penny for himself and instead donated all of the proceeds from his hundreds of shows to various local charities and good causes around Eastwood and wider Nottinghamshire.

Now, a theatre production all about Mark's life will be showcased in March at the Squire Performing Arts Centre in Nottingham.

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Eastwood entertainer Mark Preston is the subject of a brand new play.Eastwood entertainer Mark Preston is the subject of a brand new play.
Eastwood entertainer Mark Preston is the subject of a brand new play.

The New Perspectives' Open Pitch production ‘The Road to Zandra’, will star TV star Karl Haynes, who has appeared in Emmerdale, A Touch of Frost, Casualty, Eastenders and more.

Mark will also appear in the show, playing himself as Zandra.

The premise reads: “It's 1999. When Mark's life hits rock bottom he hits the open road escaping Notts for Blackpool. Beached without pleasure, it's his ex-army mates that turn his life around... in the only way they know how...

“Dragged into drag with mascaraed lashes, high heels and frocks, Zandra is born!

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“Meet the man behind the make-up, where the council work boots end and the tights begin, as actor Karl Haynes tells the true life story of the woman that repairs a man and goes on to raise thousands of pounds for charity.”

Performances will take place on Friday, March 31, and Saturday, April 1, at 7.30pm at Squire Performing Arts Centre.

Tickets will be on sale soon for £10. Book online at www.squirepac.co.uk​​