PFT To Celebrate Life of Martyn James

Jan 31 2012 | By More

Veteran actor of 23 summer seasons remembered by Pitlochry

Martyn James and Shirley Darroch in Whisky Galore - A Musical at Pitlochry Festival Theatre in 2009

Martyn James and Shirley Darroch in Whisky Galore - A Musical at Pitlochry Festival Theatre in 2009

By Thom Dibdin

Pitlochry Festival Theatre has announced that it is to host a Celebration of the Life of Martyn James on Sunday 19th February, starting at 2pm.

The much-loved actor first performed at Pitlochry in 1976 and spent a total of 23 summer seasons with the Theatre in the Hills, performing in its highly regarded six play repertory system. He died on January 3 this year after a long illness.

Speaking at the time of Martyn’s death, PFT artistic director John Durnin said: “Martyn James was a very special man – not because he appeared on the PFT stage on more occasions than any other actor but because of who he was. Martyn was a true man of the theatre, a gifted and highly skilled actor, and as such he was a regular and highly valued member of the Pitlochry ensemble.”

The event on Sunday 19 will celebrate Martyn’s life and his many achievements both on and off stage. The organisers hope that many colleagues from his 43 years in the theatre business  will be able to attend and participate in this celebration, which will feature contributions in the form of tributes, anecdotes, reminiscences, some filmed material and possibly a short musical performance.

As well as reflecting the public face of one of Scotland’s most popular actors Martyn’s family will also contribute to the event, sharing their memories of a much loved brother, uncle and cousin.

Graduating from the RSAMD in 1968 Martyn appeared in episodes of the original television version of Dr. Finlay’s Casebook the following year. His career included over 250 appearances in theatres across the UK, mostly in Scotland, but also in England at Birmingham Rep, Colchester Mercury Theatre and the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry. He was a regular at Perth theatre where he first appeared in 1972. He  eventually made his home in Perth and appeared in over 140 productions at the theatre – including 28 pantomimes. This year, too ill to perform, he recorded the voice of the Giant for the production of Jack and the Beanstalk.

Entrance to the  Celebration of the Life of Martyn James will be free, but admission will be by ticket only. Tickets will be available from 12-noon on Wednesday 8 February onwards and can only be obtained by phone from the PFT Box Office on 01796 484626.

The organisers expect that many hundreds of people will want to make a contribution to this event. While such contributions are most welcome, they point out that it will be impossible for every tribute or memory to be included. Anyone wanting to make a contribution – either in person at the event or in writing for someone else to deliver – should contact Pitlochry Festival Theatre by e-mail on Alternatively, memories of Martyn can be posted on PFT’s facebook page.

PFT has also announced that it will be dedicating its 2012 Summer Season to the memory of Martyn James, who appeared on the Pitlochry stage on more occasions than any other actor in the theatre’s 61 year history.

PFT Facebook page:

Joyce McMillan’s obituary for Martin:

Tribute by Mark Fisher in the Scotsman:

Tribute by Robert Dawson Scott at

News in the Courier:

Report in the Pitlochry Festival Theatre website:



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  1. Mike Daviot (ex David) says:

    I had the great privilege of working with Martyn in the ’91 season at Pitlochry, where we worked together in How The Other Half Loves and, best of all, The Magistrate, in which I had the joyful experience of working as a double act with him. Delightful human being and actor. Rest tae his banes. I will try to be there for the celebration.

    Mike Daviot