#BeMoreMartyn: Play about Manchester bombing victim comes to Sheffield
A play that celebrates the ‘huge personality and zest for life’ of Martyn Hett – who was killed aged 29 in the Manchester Arena bombing – is to be staged in Sheffield.
Martyn, a public relations manager who created hugely popular online videos that mostly focused on his favourite TV programme Coronation Street, was among the 22 victims who lost their lives in the terror attack following an Ariana Grande concert in May 2017. He died alongside Kelly Brewster, a 32-year-old insurance claims assessor from Richmond, Sheffield.
The Manchester-based Hope Theatre Company, which specialises in verbatim theatre, is bringing #BeMoreMartyn: The Boy with the Deirdre Tattoo to the Crucible Studio next Thursday, June 13.
The title of the play, which is touring the country, references a large tattoo of Coronation Street character Deirdre Barlow that Martyn had inked on his left leg, as well as a social media campaign that called on people to take inspiration from his approach to life.
Its script features dialogue from interviews with eight of Martyn’s closest friends, while his biggest online video hits are remembered too. Pop Idol winner Michelle McManus, and Sue Nicholls who plays the Street’s Audrey Roberts, are some of the celebrities who feature in anecdotes from his pals.
Nicholls’ portrayal of Roberts and the so-called ‘Audrey Roberts Noise’ – a quick, questioning ‘Hm?’ sound – was the focus of one of Martyn’s biggest viral successes, attracting more than 580,000 views on YouTube. McManus, meanwhile, was one of Martyn’s favourite performers and sang at his funeral.
Martyn also appeared on several TV reality shows, including Come Dine With Me which he won with his boyfriend in 2014.
The production is set in Martyn’s flat above the Hat Museum in Stockport. Audiences are invited to one of Martyn’s famed Eurovision parties, a night out on Canal Street in Manchester’s Gay Village and a trip to Blackpool.
Adam Zane, Hope Theatre Company’s artistic director who worked on the script with executive producer Mike Lee, said: “Martyn’s family have been overwhelmingly supportive of the project from the very beginning, they put us in touch with the eight incredible friends that audiences get to know throughout the production. After hours of interviews with them, laughing and crying, we are in awe of how Martyn transformed people.
“We’ve tried to create a play that is funny, uplifting and veers away from what actually happened that night. We want to celebrate Martyn’s zest for life and his huge personality. He had a unique talent for friendship and that’s something audiences take away with them.”
Figen Murray, Martyn’s mother, added: “This is a show about friendship and loyalty, living life to the max and about what is really important in life, namely the people we love and value.”
Since her son’s death, Figen has called for enhanced security checks at entertainment venues and has toured schools to talk about the power of peace. She plans to start a postgraduate course in counter-terrorism at university in September.
The performance of #BeMoreMartyn starts at 7.45pm. Tickets £13, concessions available. See www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk/events/be-more-martyn-the-boy-with-the-deirdre-tattoo to book.