Martin Lynch has been a professional writer since 1980. In that time, he has written plays for the Lyric Theatre, Arts Theatre, Charabanc Theatre, etc., (all Belfast) and the Abbey Theatre, Dublin. His plays have been produced all over Ireland, the UK, Europe and the USA.
He has written several plays for BBC Radio 4, the odd pilot sitcom for the BBC, Granada etc and the screenplay for Sam Goldwyn’s film, A Prayer For The Dying starring Mickey Rourke, Bob Hoskins and Liam Neeson.
Martin wrote the ground-breaking community play, The Stone Chair in 1979, set in Short Strand and involving a cast of 100. In 1999, he co-wrote with Marie Jones and the Company, the smash hit, The Wedding Community Play. In 2000, Martin’s short play, What Did I know When I was Nineteen, was produced at Crumlin Road Courthouse as part of Tinderbox’s highly acclaimed CONVICTIONS production.
In recent years Martin has been full-time Co-ordinator for the Community Arts Forum (CAF), during which time he lead a national campaign to have Community Arts valued, recognised and properly funded. Martin worked hard to ensure that CAF became a large grassroots, membership organisation, representative of every section of the community in Belfast and beyond.
In that time Martin was instrumental in resourcing approximately £5m pounds over a 5-year period for the Community Arts sector. At CAF he managed an annual budget of £185,000.
Based on his travels abroad, Martin wrote a paper in 1995, advocating the designation of the Lr Donegall St. area as an arts and cultural quarter and exclusively on his own initiative, presented it to Ronnie Spence, Permanent Secretary at the DOE. After consistent advocacy with the NI Office, DOE and others, the DOE accepted the notion and appointed the Laganside Corporation with the task of developing what was to become The Cathedral Quarter.
Martin conceived of the idea for transforming the gardens facing St. Anne’s Cathedral into a public square dedicated to the celebration of our best writers. He formed an illustrious committee comprising Belfast literary figures, including Michael Longley and put the idea to Laganside. Two years later the Belfast Writers Square is a reality and is due for completion in September 2001.
Later, Martin conceived of the idea of a Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival with Laganside and others, put together a Committee and the inaugural Festival was held in 2000.
Martin lobbied Laganside to provide affordable facilities and premises for arts groups in the Cathedral Quarter and consequently, Laganside bought 3 major buildings which they are currently transforming into multiple-occupied Managed Workspaces, including the ex-Northern Bank in Royal Avenue.
As a leading member of the Dept. Of Environment’s Belfast Vision cultural and arts sub-committee, Martin wrote their arts and cultural vision document.
Martin has been a regular broadcaster on TV and radio for many years. He is returning to full time work as a writer in September of this year.
As a playwright, Martin has been Resident Writer with The Lyric Theatre, Belfast, Charabanc Theatre Company and The University of Ulster. His plays have been produced all over Ireland, the UK, Russia, Romania and the USA. Martin has written extensively for radio, television and film, including: several plays for BBC Radio 4 and a sitcom for Granada television.
For film, Martin wrote the controversial Sam Goldwyn film, A Prayer For The Dying, starring, Liam Neeson, Bob Hoskins and Mickey Rourke. He is currently working on two new screenplays: Down In Cyprus Avenue for Dog House Productions, Dublin, to be directed by Peter Sheridan and: FATHER and SON (working title), a new wide-screen IMAX film for McMorrow Films, Washington, USA.
In Northern Ireland, Martin has been a leading innovator and advocate for the arts. He has recently played a leading role in the establishing of various exciting and innovative arts developments including: The Cathedral Quarter, Belfast’s new arts and culture district, and the celebratory Writers Square in Belfast city centre.
He has also played a leading role in the establishing of a dynamic participatory Community Arts sector across the whole of Northern Ireland, working as Co-ordinator for the Community Arts Forum for the last 3 years.
He is a regular broadcaster on television and radio and in his spare time Martin is writing his first novel, Here Comes The Night, as well as trying to create a cottage garden that will impress Alan Titchmarch.
For many years now, Martin has been one of Northern Ireland’s leading writers and literary arts figures.