Biography

Martin Milnes - Welcome

Having studied singing under Elen Môn Wayne, Martin made his professional debut at the age of nineteen in the UK's largest seasonal musical the THURSFORD CHRISTMAS SPECTACULAR. The annual production takes place in Norfolk and features a cast of over 120 including singers, dancers, musicians and speciality acts, playing to sold out houses for two shows a day, seven days a week in the six weeks leading up to Christmas.

He went on to appear in the world premiere of the UB40 musical PROMISES AND LIES at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, creating the role of 'Joe' alongside Clive Rowe, David Burt and Tameka Empson. This was followed by a tour of England and Ireland in Opus 1 Opera's productions of TOSCA and IL TROVATORE.

A specialist performer of Gilbert and Sullivan, Martin's roles include 'Frederic' in THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE, 'Ko-Ko' in THE MIKADO, 'Strephon' in IOLANTHE, 'Marco' in The Gondoliers, 'Sir Joseph Porter' in HMS PINAFORE, 'Alexis' in THE SORCERER, 'Prince Hilarion' in PRINCESS IDA, 'Sir Bailey Barre' in UTOPIA LIMITED, 'Colone Fairfax' in THE YEOMEN OF THE GUARD, and 'Yum-Yum' in THE ALL MALE MIKADO. He has appeared in Gilbert & Sullivan for companies including Carl Rosa Opera, Tarantara Productions, Kilworth House Theatre (Leicestershire), Grim's Dyke Opera, The Welsh Musical Theatre Orchestra, Silk Opera and the International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival.  Martin was in Raymond Gubbay's West End season of THE MIKADO, IOLANTHE and THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE at the Gielgud Theatre, and was 'The Intriguing Waiter' in MUCH SOUND AND LITTLE SENSE (a celebration of WS Gilbert's poems and lyrics) for Opera Della Luna. He also appeared in the 2009 Sky Arts television series GILBERT AND SULLIVAN: A MOTLEY PAIR written and presented by Simon Butteriss.

Martin's own show THE FALSETTO premiered at The King's Head Theatre in 2009. It went on to be the support act for Alistair McGowan in a charity gala before receiving five star reviews at the Edinburgh Festival. His most recent version of the show, entitled I COULD HAVE SUNG ALL NIGHT, played at The Pheasantry in Chelsea. In 2014 Martin appeared in cabaret with Russell Grant at The Pheasantry in a new show entitled SONGS WE ALWAYS WANTED TO SING - BUT WERE NEVER ALLOWED TO, which was nominated for a London Cabaret Award as Best One-off Production. A specialist spin-off version of Martin's show, THE FALSETTO SINGS GILBERT AND SULLIVAN, sold out for three seasons at the International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival in Buxton and won the Evening Argus 'Angel' Award at the 2013 Brighton Festival.

Martin now works closely with pianist and musical director Dominic Ferris, with whom he formed the musical comedy double act FERRIS & MILNES. After sell-out performances of WHAT A SWELL PARTY THIS IS! at The Pheasantry, and their musical revue PUTTIN' ON THE RITZ at the CAA, Covent Garden, Ferris & Milnes performed their own number "33 Sondheim Numbers In 5 Minutes" in Stephen Sondheim's 85th Birthday Gala HEY, OLD FRIENDS! at Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. Ferris & Milnes were resident at the St James Studio throughout 2016, and have also been seen at West End LIVE (Trafalgar Square), The Tower of London, Lytham Festival WEST END PROMS and the High Tide Festival, Aldeburgh. Their debut West End show FERRIS & MILNES - CHRISTMAS CRACKER! played at Ambassadors Theatre, and they made their New York debut at The Metropolitan Room.

Martin's other notable performing credits include 'Oscar' in BALLO (Opera Up Close), 'Moose' in CRAZY FOR YOU (Kilworth House Theatre, Leicestershire), Al Jolson/Groucho Marx in The Jewish Legends (Upstairs at the Gatehouse); 'John' in GAY'S THE WORD (Jermyn St Theatre), 'Ned Failsham' and 'The Vicar' in PERCHANCE TO DREAM (Finborough Theatre), 'St Brioche' in THE MERRY WIDOW (Buxton Opera House), 'Vespone' in LA SERVA PADRONA (West Green House Opera) and the comical overworked 'Waiter' in LA BOHEME (Longborough Festival Opera). He also sang the castrati role of 'Araspe' in the baroque opera LA DIDONE presented by Ensemble Serse as part of the London Handel Festival.

In 2012 Martin directed the first professional revival of Gilbert and Sullivan's THE GRAND DUKE at London's Finborough Theatre. John Owen Edwards was Musical Director with a cast headed by Stefan Bednarczyk, Richard Suart, Charlotte Page and Bruce Graham. After seeing THE GRAND DUKE Gyles Brandreth asked Martin to direct the London premiere of a play with music which he had written with Julian Slade in 1986, NOW WE ARE SIXTY, about the life and works of AA Milne. The show opened at The King's Head Theatre in September 2013 starring Olivier Nominee Andrew C Wadsworth as Milne, Russell Grant as Milne's Father and Charlotte Page as Mrs Daphne Milne.

Martin has also co-written, directed and produced a sitcom pilot starring Paul Nicholas, Fenella Fielding, Rosemary Ashe and Janet Hargreaves. In October 2015 Martin directed rehearsed readings of JM Barrie's plays ROSALIND and THE WILL at The Park Theatre, London, with a cast including Eileen Page and David Timson.

For several years Martin has led the singing in the Commemorative Service on Battle of Britain Memorial Day for the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust, in the presence of HRH Prince Michael of Kent and Battle of Britain veterans. His recordings of 'A Flower Tells A Story', 'For The Fallen' and 'We Will Stand Together' sung with Janet Tootal BEM, are available to buy on CD in aid of The Wing, an interactive learning centre being built by the Battle of Britain Memorial Site in Capel-Le-Ferne near Folkestone.

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