The Energy Show
In 2013, Martin worked with his friend and collaborator Sam Mason to create The Energy Show, a fast-paced piece of drama which combined elements of live action, digital content and science experiments to educate and entertain audiences at London's world-famous Science Museum. Playing for six weeks in the Museum's IMAX Theatre, the show was revised and expanded for a 36-venue national tour, as well as two more runs in London in 2014.
The show was a great critical success, not least because the story and characters Martin and Sam created lifted the usual form of a science show with presenters and volunteers on stage undertaking expriments, to something with much more narrative coherence and a vivid theatrical setting.
The image on the left shows the set being installed into Buxton Opera House. Set design is by Janet Bird, who along with Nina Dunn (Video/Projection Designer), Malcolm Rippeth (Lighting Design) and Sebastian Frost (Sound Design) worked alongside Martin as director to bring this work to life.
If you would like to see more about The Energy Show, you can watch its original trailer here. TimeOut London came and interviewed Martin about the work: you can see their film which features Martin and Denise Hoey, who originated the role of Phil, here.
The Science Detective
Building on the success and reputation of The Energy Show, throughout 2017/18 Martin wrote and developed a new science theatre piece for clients in China. Led by Performance Infinity, an Anglo-Chinese production company, the work has brought together colleagues from several Chinese businesses and educational companies, including the Science Museum in Beijing. The Chinese creative and technical team included several members who previously worked on taking the National Theatre's production of War Horse to Chinese audiences.
A full-scale production of the piece premiered at the Poly Theatre, Beijing in August 2018 and toured China extensively in the autumn. There has been an unusually high level of interest in the project compared with much other new writing in China, and the production is anticipated to be the beginning of an even more thorough future collaboration which will take the story and characters into schools and classrooms, as well as exploring the market for a learning system and supplementary materials based on the show.
Martin is delighted that the initial interest shown in the production has led to another national tour of China planned for 2019.
Left: Scenes from the first performance at the Beijing Poly Theatre, 10 August 2018. Below: Production images.
All images © Jingying Group, Beijing.
The Parliament of Fowls
Currently in development, The Parliament of Fowls is a loose adaptation of Geoffrey Chaucer's poem of the same name. Chaucer's original poem is the earliest example of Valentine's Day being celebrated as a feast of lovers, and Martin's reworking examines questions of gender roles and expectations, all through the medium of a cast of talking birds.
Martin is very excited to be working on realising this script as part of The First Flight Collective, a group of artists which also includes the movement director Hayley Adams and the producer Isabel Dixon. At the end of 2016, First Flight led an intensive week of research & development workshops at Moor Theatre Delicatessen, Sheffield on the play. This allowed not only an in-depth exploration of the script and staging, but also work on the music and soundscape which will form part of a full production of the piece, and the start of designs for many of the characters by Maria Lancashire, a north-west based designer with considerable experience of working out of doors. The week culminated in a full work in progress showing and audience Q&A, which provided an opportunity to gather spoken and written feedback about the piece.
The finished production will be suitable for performance out of doors in an informal setting and is suitable for families and children over the age of 8. If you are interested in hearing more about the development of this show, or to enquire about helping with mounting the production, get in touch via the contact page.
'Tis the Season,
Home for Christmas &
Next Stop Christmas
In 2017, Martin wrote the script for Diva Opera's Christmas show, 'Tis the Season. With the brief to create a story for five singers (led by the internationally-renowned comic baritone Richard Suart), Martin wove together a story of mistaken identity, long-lost brothers and panicked present buying. The show was presented at several of Diva Opera's regular venues, in the UK and France, and was directed by Cameron Menzies.
In 2018, Martin collaborated with the Diva team once again, producing Home for Christmas, a story which sees a family reunion and the possible rekindling of a romance between two old flames.
2019 saw them collaborate again, with another fast-paced and heartwarming Christmas show Next Stop Christmas, set on the last train home to London from Europe on Christmas Eve.
Also in development is Martin's new version of Cinderella by Rossini (La Cenerentola). Martin has translated and reworked the original Italian opera and presents the drama as it unfolds in a mill in northern England.
Rossini's work premiered almost 200 years ago in 1817, and exciting plans are afoot to bring this new version to life for its bicentenary near Martin's home in Yorkshire.
If you are interested in hearing more about the translation, how Martin has adapted the plot of Rossini's original for a modern audience, or for details on the plans to stage this ambitious version of a much-loved classic, get in touch via the contact page.
Another collaboration with Sam Mason, in 2009 the Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal staged the last in a long line of highly successful pantomimes which Sam had written and directed. Martin's association with Sam and the Brewery began with him playing Captain Hook in 2006's Peter Pan. For this revival of Aladdin, Martin directed and edited the original script, as well as contributing his own, adults-only version of the show for the final few performances.
If you would like to talk to Martin about his script editing experience, or if you would like him to help realise your idea for a pantomime or other drama, get in touch via the contact page.