Keeping busy is the lot of the freelance and for director for hire Martyn Knight this can mean juggling several projects at once. Right now, he is tinkering with no less than seven productions.
An award-winning director, actor and choreographer, Martyn gives his time and attention to each task in turn – he last whipped up a cracking Oliver! at The Watersmeet for Harrow Light Opera – but when it comes to his heart, no company is closer than the one where he started out, Cassio Operatic.
Martyn is now directing Cassio’s latest show A Chorus Line at Watford Palace Theatre. “I owe so much to Cassio. This is a way of handing something back,” says Martyn. “My family moved to Watford in 1968 and my mum joined Cassio and I was brought up with it. I used to watch her on the stage and later I joined. My training came from there.”
Camelot was the last show Martyn directed for the amateur group in 2002 and it was also the first show he ever performed with them. Martyn went on to become a professional actor in 1977. In 1990 he went back to Cassio to help out on a production of Iolanthe and he's been helping out on and off ever since.
He would be nothing, he says, without the help of some close associates.
“For A Chorus Line my dance captain is Rob Jarman and my assistant director is Nikki Scott. Her mother, Sidonie Scott was director of Cassio when I was a teenager. One day she said to me ‘do you dance?’ and I said ‘I don’t really know’ and she replied ‘well, you do now’.”
Martyn says he needs all the help he can get with so many shows on the horizon.
“I’ve got four shows on in three weeks,” he points out. “I’m directing Beauty and Beast in Portsmouth and I’m in Weymouth for another Oliver!. Then I’m off to Newcastle for two weeks, then York and St Ives with different shows but with every production there are different sets, costumes and actors which is lovely as you can never get bored.”
In between directing jobs, Martyn treads the boards as the Dame. He graced the pantomime stage at Potters Bar for six years and has been the resident Dame at Eastbourne for the past nine years.
"A Chorus Line is the show that started it all," he concludes. “After I saw it I knew it was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.”
The show is at Watford Palace Theatre from November 13-17 at 7.45pm with a Saturday matinee at 2.30pm. Details: 01923 225671