Togail Nàisean / Building a Nation
September will see Martin begin rehearsals for his new solo spoken word performance in English, Scots and Gaelic, Togail Nàisean / Building a Nation, produced by Glasgow Life and supported by National Theatre of Scotland. The piece explores marginalised Scottish languages as well as the erosion of rural and industrial languages through the lens of Glasgow shipbuilding and current attitudes towards voice, dialect and class.
Martin will be collaborating again with sound artist Nichola Scrutton.
The show will tour to Lewis, North and South Uist, Skye, Mull, Glasgow and Edinburgh. For more information and to book tickets please visit the Togail Nàisean/Building a Nation page.
Submarine Time Machine
Martin has been working the latest production from National Theatre Scotland Learn - opening Friday 23rd June 7pm. More details can be found here.
New for 2017:
April - June:
Paines Plough: Come to Where I'm From
Martin will be performing new work at Glasgow's Tron Theatre in May alongside three of the city’s finest playwrights, Linda McLean, Gary McNair and Anita Vettesse, as part of Paines Plough's celebrated nationwide project.
Since 2010 writers from across the UK have returned to their home towns to pen plays about the places that shaped them. At theatres from Bristol to Belfast, Cardiff to Coventry and Nottingham to Newcastle, these plays have been performed by the playwrights themselves, coming home to tell their tale. Together they create a theatrical tapestry of the nation – a playwright’s guide to Great Britain.
You can listen to more than 120 playwrights read their plays on the COME TO WHERE I'M FROM app, free to download from the App Store.
Mayfesto at the Tron Theatre: A Little Life
Martin will be presenting a new rehearsed reading at the Tron's Mayfesto season. A Little Life gathers collected material from his Writer in Residence post with The Children's Hospice association, Scotland. Supported by a Tom McGrath Maverick Award.
Tickets and more info can be found here: http://www.tron.co.uk/event/a-little-life/
National Theatre of Scotland: Submarine Time Machine
Martin has begun development for a new NTS Learn project which will see him act as dramaturg for a series of performances staged at National Theatre of Scotland's new base at Rockvilla:
The unlikely final mission of a World War II midget submarine provides the inspiration for the National Theatre of Scotland’s first participatory production since moving into its new base at Rockvilla on the banks of the Forth and Clyde Canal in Glasgow. From April 2017, local participants from Speirs Locks to Firhill Basin will work alongside National Theatre of Scotland artists to explore the truth and myth around the Submarine’s last journey. They will create a truly immersive theatre experience, with audiences invited to step aboard for a series of performance sailings down the canal.
Performances scheduled for week beginning 19th June.
Janice Parker Projects: An Audience With...
Working with Janice, two professional dancers and a publisher, Martin will be creating a new publication to complement Janice's residency in The Empire Rooms at Edinburgh's Festivals Theatre. Martin has collected conversation-based material around the personal histories of the dancers, and their experience of working on the project. This will accompany the live performances in October.
Glasgow Life supported by National Theatre of Scotland: Togail Naisean / Building a Nation
Martin will be touring his new performance Building a Nation throughout the autumn, which is a development of his work in progress shown at the Glad Cafe in November 2016. The piece explores the marginalised Scottish languages of Scots and Gaelic against a backdrop of rapid industrial expansion in Glasgow, and is a collaboration with sound artist Nic Scrutton.
Dates and venues TBC.
Janice Parker Projects: An Audience With...
Martin will continue to work with janice Parker throughout 2017 as part of her residency with Festival Theatre's Empire Rooms, and her work with two professional dancers. Martin will be supporting Janice in the textual output of the project, and working on conversation-based writing from the artists.
Tom McGrath/Saltire Society Maverick Award Winner
Martin is delighted to announce that he is one of the runner up awardees of the Tom McGrath Maverick Award in conjunction with the Saltire Society. Martin will use the fund early next year to reflect on his time and experience with The Children's Hopsice Association Scotland. Over one year, Martin visited two hospices, enagaging families and staff in new writing and converstaion activities. He hopes to use the material gathered create some new performances for 2017 and beyond.
SHEEP, Tron Theatre Young Company at Chrysalis Festival
The company's most recent performance has been invited to be restaged as part of The Chrysalis Festival at Edinburgh's Traverse Theatre in November. Produced by Youth Theatre Arts Scotland, the festival aims to showcase ambitious performance by young theatre-makers, promote critical debate and challenge perceptions of youth theatre.
More details on the festival here and details on the initial run at the Tron Theatre in October here.
Togail Naisean/Building a Nation, The Glad Cafe, 4th and 5th October
Tickets are now on sale for Martin's latest work in progress, which draws on the Scots and Gaelic research carried out earlier this year.
A solo spoken word performance in English, Scots and Gaelic, which explores the industrial expansion of Glasgow alongside attitudes to tradition, cultural identity and marginalised voices. Included will be a soundscape of recorded conversations with people discussing personal relationships to their own voice and ways of speaking, which Martin has collected from around the country.
Coileanadh aon-ghuthach labhairte ann am Beurla, Albais agus Gàidhlig, a tha a’ rannsachadh an leudachaidh air saoghal gnìomhachais Ghlaschu còmhla ri seasamhan a thaobh traidisean, dearbh-aithne chultarach agus guthan air an iomall. An lùib sin bidh cruth-fuaim de chòmhraidhean clàraichte le daoine a’ deasbad air dàimhean pearsanta a rèir an guth fhèin agus an dòighean labhairt, a tha Martin air a chruinneachadh bho mun cuairt na dùthcha.
Presented by Glasgow Life in partnership with the Glad Café.
Air a thaisbeanadh le Glaschu Beò ann an com-pàirteachas Glad Café.
Tickets and more information available here.
SHEEP, Tron Theatre Young Company, 4th-6th February 2016, Tron Theatre
After working together for a year, the current young company will stage their new show SHEEP, written by Martin O'Connor and the company, and directed by Martin with assistant director Deborah McArthur and movement director Janis Claxton.
Details and tickets here.
Culmination of Writer in Residence post, Firefly Arts
Martin will be ending his residency with the West Lothian Youth Theatre by working with a range of participants form Firefly’s regular performance groups to develop ideas for an original piece of writing.
Based on ideas surrounding language and the power of words, 100 Words in Your Ear aims to put our spoken words centre stage and under the microscope. Through recorded conversations and discussions as well as writing and improvisation activities we’ll explore the impact of our words on other people and ask if what we say is always what we mean.
Building a Nation
In March and April 2016, Martin will be carrying out some research in Orkney, Shetland, the Western Isles, and other areas of linguistic interest to document Scots and Gaelic voices for a work in progress performance later in the year. Martin will be recording conversations centred around 'The Story of Your Voice' - exploring the cultural, traditional and geographical influences that shape our ways of talking. This research phase is supported by the National Theatre of Scotland.
Writer in Residence, Children's Hospice Association
Martin is delighted to have secured funding for a year to carry out a writer in residency post across two hospices, recording conversations with families, staff and young people to document their personal narratives, which will culminate in a sound installation and publication.
The Mark of the Beast Development
Martin is continuing the development and writing of this piece by working with the North East Recovery Community (NERC) in early 2016, culminating in a sound installation at Platform at the end of March. Martin is working with Theology collaborator Nichola Scrutton to collect and record stories of alcohol and addiction from participants which will form the basis of the installation and provide the soundtrack to his spoken word pieces for the final performance later in the year.
Headspace at the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival
Martin will be performing a new version of his current spoken word show The Mark of the Beast at the Headspace event at Platform on Sunday October 25th.
Turntable in development and throughout the country
Martin will be working with musician MJ McCarthy, producer Alice McGrath and designer Rachel O'Neill to develop a new performance and participatory piece exploring our changing relationship with music throughout our lives. The project has already been staged as workshops, as a pop up interactive piece and will be part of the programme for this year's Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival in October.
For more info have a look at the new Turntable page.
Early Years Opera Development with Music Cooperative
In August Martin will be working with musicians from Scottish Opera's Orchestra, Music Cooperative Scotland. Based at Platform and funded by a Creative Scotland Open Fund, Martin will be exploring new methods in interactive performance with four musicians, composer Oliver Searle, singer Daniela Hathaway and designer Rachel O'Neill. There will be a showing of work at Platform's Play Cafes on the 2nd and 9th September.
Some press info here
Martin will also be directing Scottish Opera's young company Connect during their annual summer school.
Outskirts Festival at Platform, Glasgow
As part of a performance and music festival at Platform, Martin will be staging a work in progress of his latest spoken word project The Mark of the Beast. He will also be hosting Turntable, an ever-evolving participatory music and conversation project created with MJ McCarthy and Rachel O'Neill.
Writing Retreat at Invererne
Martin has recently returned from a weeks' residency in Invererne, near Forres. The week was inspired by the Floodplain on which the house sits, and was the home to 11 writers and artists who shared their practice and worked on new ideas. Martin took the theme of the Floodplain to continue his research into the changing landscape of Glasgow from an pre-industrial backwater, to the powerhouse of the Empire, to a post-industrial blank canvas. While there, Martin began work on a new series of spoken word pieces entitled Building a Nation which looks at this ever-changing landscape through the development of language from Scots to modern Glaswegian. More details coming soon.
Tron Theatre, Rosshall Academy and Sense Over Sectarianism February - March 2015
As part of the Football Colours Allowed season at the Tron, Martin has been working with S3 pulls from Rosshall Academy to create new scripts on the theme of sectarianism in Glasgow. The work will be performed in a schools version of the Tron's successful Progressive Playwrights model which sees scenes performed by professional actors, followed by a Q&A.
Tron Theatre Young Company 2015/16
Martin has begun work with the new intake of the Tron Theatre's resident young adult company. They will be making a scratch performance for the Football Colours Allowed season, and will shortly begin devising, writing and rehearsing for their new show in early 2016.
Firefly Writer in Residence 2015
Martin is delighted to be the writer in residence with Firefly Arts. Martin will be delivering dramaturgical advice and script development on their forthcoming productions, and will be working closely with the company on their new youth arts programme A Word in your Ear, which aims to explore the politics of language, narrative and expression through a series of workshops, community projects and performances.
Continuing Professional Development, Rachel House and Scottish Opera, November 2014-January 2015
Martin has recently returned from another residency at Rachel House Children's Hospice where he delivered workshops in creative writing, poetry and performance for the staff and families, along with the team at Scottish Opera who also delivered sessions on set design and choral singing.
Crossing the Lines, The Playwright's Studio Scotland and the Arches, Monday 17th November 2014
Martin will be creating a new contemporary version of Lope de Vega's classic Spanish play Fuente Ovejuna.
Crossing The Lines is a scratch-style event facilitated by The Arches and Playwrights’ Studio Scotland in which artists of all kinds perform their versions of contemporary plays, before moving to the bar for feedback and discussion facilitated by Rob Drummond. Pushing the boundaries of the theatrical experience, whilst firmly focusing on text, this occasional performance evening sees artists of any genre taking a piece of contemporary playwriting and illuminating it within a live setting, before moving to audience feedback and discussion.
Converse, collaboration with Kate V Robertson, live from 8th November various locations
Martin is currently working on a new sound piece with visual artists Kate V Robertson for her Culture 20for14 commission. His piece, working title Roar, as well as the pieces from other artists, will be installed in various locations throughout the city of Glasgow.
Mark of the Beast
Following on from his development with Team Effort!, Martin is creating a new spoken word performance based on Glasgow's relationship with alcohol and religion, and looks to the Book of Revelations for inspiration. Details coming soon.
Rally and Broad, The Commonwealth Slam, Tron Theatre Glasgow, Tue 29th and Wed 30th July
Martin will be competing in his first ever poetry slam this month.
In association with the Commonwealth Games and the Tron Theatre. Doors open 9.15, tickets £5. Tickets can be purchased from the Tron Box Office on the night, or in advance from HERE
For your delectation & delight, Rally & Broad will be bringing a new form of competition to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow: POETRY. In a unique 2 night event, twelve of Scotland’s finest poets, performers, spoken word artists will be BRINGING IT to the main auditorium at the Tron Theatre. On the first night, twelve poets enter, four poets leave. On the second night, the audience will have the deciding vote on which of the four poets has created the most wonderful, explosive, honest, passionate, heartbreaking, hilarious* sets for the evening. Your presence is required. There has been nothing like this before.
All Back to Bowie's - Spoken Word event at Stand in the Square, Edinburgh Fringe
David Bowie said ‘Scotland, stay with us’. At the Fringe, a group of Scottish artists take him up on his kind invitation. So pull up a futon, it’s all back to Bowie’s for an #indyref mix of politics, poetry, polemic and pop. Different guests every day make for an hour of gentle thought and hard day-dreaming. If you’re obsessed with indy, undecided, federalist curious, or polymorphously politically perverse, David Bowie’s yurt of thought is the place for you. (Created by David Greig, Swimmer One, Cora Bissett, Karine Polwart, Peter Arnott and more). Martin will be appearing on Friday 1st August at 12.20pm with special guests Janice Galloway and Hanna McGill.
David Leddy, Horizontal Collaboration, Sunday 3rd August, Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh Fringe
Performed daily by new actors, always reading blind. Intense drama where sex, power and politics meet emotion, seduction and destruction. From multi award-winning writer/director David Leddy, ‘leading theatrical innovator’ (Times), ‘Fringe institution’ (Independent), 'genius' (Scotsman). Four lamps, four laptops. Four UN lawyers present explosive transcripts from Judith K, an African warlord’s wife. After her husband’s assassination, Judith becomes leader. She takes her people on a treacherous path towards peace… or does she? Lawyers turn down lamps one by one, then laptops, until we’re left in darkness.
Grinagog Theatre: The Pokey Hat - on tour now.
The Pokey Hat is a new touring performance for the Commonwealth Games Queen's Baton Relay. Performing in various local authorities throughout the country, the show tours in a custom made ice cream, telling real stories of the people form Glasgow's East End. Details here.
Anamchara - Songs of Friendship - Theatre Royal 25th, 26th, 27th July.
Martin has acted as dramaturg on a new Opera commission for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. He will co-direct the show at the Theatre Royal in July 2014.
Scottish Opera’s new family opera is based on themes of friendship and the ties that bind people together, whatever their age and wherever they make their home. Anamchara – Songs of Friendship is written by acclaimed Scottish novelist Alexander McCall Smith and composer Pippa Murphy.
The multi-cultural cast of over 100 performers includes young professional singers and musicians from Scotland, India, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa, Scottish Opera’s Connect Chorus and Orchestra, and a community choir made up of children, adults and students from Commonwealth countries, living and working in Glasgow. Details here.
Martin is now part of a group of theatre makers, visual artists and musicians based at the Southside Studios in Glasgow. We are currently developing our work as individuals and as a group. We have created IF events - informal evenings of entertainment, risk-taking and creativity at our secret garden in the middle of Govanhill, and have collaborated with venues such as Stereo/The Old Hairdressers, Tramway (Rip It Up), The Citizens (Boombox) and the Glad Cafe.
During his time with Team Effort, Martin will be developing a new spoken word performance based on Glasgow's relationship with alcohol,looking at moral virtue, temperance and punishment.
Team Effort Website and Artist's Blogs
Recent work includes Rip it Up at Tramway (Herald article here and review here
) and residencies at Stereo, The Old Hairdressers and Glad Cafe