Martin Roche first began singing and acting in secondary school in the north of England and is now an award winning actor, director and writer.
Following his vocal training he has performed with many companies – musical, choral and opera, predominantly in the North of England, but has also performed in other parts of the UK and Ireland as a soloist in concert and recital performances including an appearance on Sky TV performing at the opening ceremony of the Rugby ‘Super League’.
He has won a number of awards for his lead performances in stage productions spanning operetta to modern musicals including Kiss Me Kate, The Student Prince, Broadway Pirates, Guys and Dolls, The Scarlet Pimpernel and Mack & Mabel, in total taking lead roles in over seventy productions. Martin has sung as a principal soloist in a wide and varying range of sacred/oratorio works including Verdi’s Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, Haydn’s Creation and Maria Theresa Mass, Beethoven’s Mass in C, and 9th (Choral) Symphony, Mozart’s Requiem and Coronation Mass, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Vaughan Williams Serenade To Music and Rossini’s Petit Messe Solennelle.
He has consequently worked with numerous orchestras that have ranged from local ensembles such as the respected Bolton Symphony, to Liverpool Cathedral Baroque Ensemble, the Northern Symphony Orchestra and West End Orchestras.
His recital performances have included programmes of the works of Malcolm Arnold, Brahms, Strauss and Mozart to name a few. His opera roles have included ‘Radames’ in Verdi’s Aida, ‘Don Jose’ in Bizet’s Carmen, ‘Bastien’ in Mozart’s Bastien und Bastienna and ‘Kasper’ in Mennotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors.
Despite his background, Martin rarely performs now and focuses instead on writing, direction, coaching and adjudication.
In June of 2001 he produced and directed his own first written work, a musical play entitled To Be Frank which was very well received both critically and publicly and from which he the proceeds were donated to CHIC (Charity for Hearing Impaired Children).
In October of 2002 he performed the title role in the northern UK premiere of the Frank Wildhorn Broadway musical, The Scarlet Pimpernel at the Charter Theatre, Preston for Imagine Productions and consequently features on the cast recording that was produced the same year, reprising the role in an award winning run at the Gracie Fields Theatre.
In January of 2003 he wrote, produced and performed in the sell-out premiere performance of The Gershwins – the Men and their Music at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, from which the the evening’s proceeds were donated to the British Heart Foundation and Cancer Research UK; this was reprised in a one night charity performance at The Comedy Store, Manchester in 2006 for the music therapy charity, Nordoff Robins.
In 2005 he returned to the concert platform to perform Mendelssohn’s Hymn of Praise and Gabriel Faure’s Requiem.
In 2009 he premiered and co-directed a new musical in Manchester, co-written with Ian Crabtree called Witchfinder The Musical. This has now been published with the Theatrical Publisher, Stagescripts and the studio recording by the premiering company has now been released and is exclusively on sale through the largest showbiz shop in the world, Dress Circle (see the Witchfinder link also). The premiere won several regional awards including awards for Martin of Best Director and Best Book and Script.
As well as having his works represented by them, Martin now acts as an Acquisitions Agent and Advocate for Stagescripts covering northern England. This entails dentifying new theatre writers and works but also, giving advice about their extensive catalogue.
Martin is very proud to be President of the award winning Children’s Amateur Theatre Society (CATS) in Bolton.
He now devotes his time primarily to writing. He has also delivered workshops most recently for NODA North West and Cornwall Drama Association and the Greater Manchester Drama Federation.
In 2009 his work with young people was acknowledged by the Greater Manchester Drama Federation (GMDF) when he was recognised with the Muriel Goodwin Trophy for '...an Outstanding Contribution to Youth'.
He is still a regular after dinner speaker and compere for concert performances for which he writes the scripts.
On Friday 25th October 2013, Martin returned to the concert platform to compere a major charity gala concert at the Albert Halls, Bolton and is looking forward to a similar event in October 2017 at King George's Hall in Blackburn.
Martin is a writer-member of the Performing Rights Society (PRS) and is a qualified Assessor and Trainer and additionally holds a CertEd in adult education.
He is a past member of the Board of Management of the Greater Manchester Drama Federation.
He continues as a Drama Festival Adjudicator having adjudicated the full length GMDF Festival for several years and also their one act play Festival. He was the 2012/13 season adjudicator for the Manchester Musicals Awards and returned to the GMDF Full Length Festival for 2013/14 season to adjudicate their Musicals section. In 2015 and 2016 he adjudicated the Partington Players One Act Play Festival at Glossop.
In 2015 Martin was one of the judging panel for the popular national script writing competition, 'The Alties'.
He again adjudicated both the GMDF Full Length Festival (Musicals section) in 2016/17 and returned for their One Act Play Festival 2017 and 2018. For 2017/18 he again adjudicated the Manchester Musicals Awards.
In 2015 his play 'Where is the Life?' premiered at The Guide Bridge Theatre, Tameside and has now been signed to the publisher Stagescripts. His play 'To Be Frank' was last staged at Guide Bridge Theatre in 2016.
'Soul Without End' premiered in February 2017 and 'Is there anybody there?' in 2018. His latest play, the 'The King's Orphan' premieres in February 2019.
He is formerly an Artistic Director for Guide Bridge Theatre and has just completed a series of three one act plays.
Arthur in Camelot: There are some who love Camelot; others have mixed feelings. I enjoy it for its few very good musical moments and the way the book seems so very often to bring out some hidden and unexpected acting talent. I have yet to see an Arthur who was less than excellent and Martin Roche, whose acting and stage personality are now emulating his singing, was no exception. His was strong but sensitive Arthur; a diplomatic one rather than a political one; one who bled when he suffered rather than one who appeared philosophically to accept his duty and fate. A fine performance, mature beyond his years and which will increase his being in greater demand as a most versatile leading man.
Pluto in Orpheus in the Underworld: I felt the top honour amongst the performers went to Martin Roche who was outstanding. Martin's singing was as good as I have heard and his acting, looks and stage mannerisms were first class.
Gabriel in Die Fledermaus: Martin Roche's interpretation of Gabriel was quite different from the norm but it was well and powerfully sung and he never stopped performing for a minute. Indeed, if he had not had all these personal qualities, he could easily have come over as a rather unattractive and unsympathetic character but his performance was such that one rather liked him and that it was fun to watch was a tribute to his talent.
Mack in Mack and Mabel: Martin Roche played Mack. I am sure others will play it as well but I would be very surprised to see anyone play it better. His performance was certainly that of the best leading man I have seen this season. He was very strong and arrogant on stage and acted superbly. A complete control freak over everyone and everything and yet one warmed to him instead of disliking him. He looked right and was totally in command of the stage and the audience… How rare it is to see two performers combine to create such an effect and to be in so much harmony with each other and feed off each other's performance. One could almost see the sparks of the electricity passing between them such was the emotional balance.
Petruchio in Kiss me Kate: Martin Roche is one of the best Petruchios I have ever seen; his understanding of this double character displayed his superb acting abilities together with his excellent singing and humour.
Sir Percy Blakeney in The Scarlet Pimpernel: (Charter Theatre) … Martin Roche was a star in the title role, switching seamlessly from aristocratic toff Sir Percy, to his scheming alter ego ‘the pimpernel’ at the drop of a pince-nez … a gift for comic acting. (Gracie Fields Theatre) ...Played with tremendous energy and flair by Martin Roche … with his finely tuned comic delivery and face fixed in a look of pained surprise you cannot take your eyes off him when he is on stage. Add to that a voice of the highest quality and truly an excellent portrayal all round.
Script writer and host for international opera gala: ... and a truly outstanding performance from Martin Roche as the compere for the whole show.
What the audience thought... "Is there anybody there?"
First night audience feedback on social media following the premiere:
"Pure brilliance" ... "Absolutely gripped" ... "Excellent script" ... "Brilliantly acted" ... “A very original and entertaining piece of theatre” ... “A really thought provoking play. I loved it … what a mixture of emotions” ... "Really enjoyed last night. Great play, funny and dark at the same time. Highly recommended" ... "Brilliant in every way. Totally loved it. Well done to all of you. Martin has such excellent writing skills; I actually couldn't wait to get back in the theatre at the interval to see how things panned out. Totally awesome" ... "Seriously, the play was fabulous. Get down there this week."
Manchester Musical Awards
New play starts rehearsals
First Night Review: Elephant of My Heart