W.S. Gilbert's Eminent Victorians
W.S. Gilbert's Eminent Victorians is Martin's one-man show which represents the culmination of his interest in W.S. Gilbert's work as well as his position as an innovator of theatrical writing and direction.
The show takes the form of a lecture with songs which explores the lives of several of the real-life figures who inspired characters in Gilbert & Sullivan's Savoy Operas. Originally commissioned by the V&A (left) to be presented alongside its marquee exhibition on the Aesthetic Movement The Cult of Beauty, it has since been performed in venues across the country.
Martin has lectured on other aspects of Gilbert's work, including giving an overview of Gilbert's innovative narrative style, and the origins of his early work The Sorcerer in opera burlesque. Additionally, in 2013, Martin was asked to take part in the 32 Londoners event on the London Eye as part of a panel of highly distinguished speakers including Sir Andrew Motion, Claire Tomalin, Dan Cruickshank and Ken Livingstone. Martin's talk about the influence of W.S. Gilbert, Arthur Sullivan and Richard D'Oyly Carte on London is available as a podcast here
W.S. Gilbert's Eminent Victorians is available for booking as a standalone performance (as are some of his other one-man shows) and is suitable for private gatherings as well as for theatres. The shows include musical numbers which provide illustrative examples and can be presented as live or recorded items. If you would like to enquire about a booking, please email Martin direct via the contact page.
In 2014, Martin was awarded a scholarship from the Finzi Trust enabling him to travel to Germany and receive intensive coaching from a number of musicians across the country, as well as writing a journal and report on his findings. His aim was to explore how Richard Wagner's works are prepared for the stage, and whether or not preparation for a Wagner role differs from works by other composers.
This time spent in Germany enabled Martin not only to deepen his understanding of the German language, and Wagner's language in particular, but also allowed him to discuss and reflect on wider questions of huge import to the music and cultural industry in both Germany and Europe at large, including the question of subsidised arts companies, cultural literacy and the role of the stage director and conductor in different countries.
Martin has provided programme notes and articles for various performing groups, and has advised on translating opera for several productions in which he has been involved.
If you would like to discuss any aspect of his writing further, or to enquire about commissioning a piece of work, please get in touch.