The Most Amazing Gift a Guy Could Ask For – Craig Martin

I grew up in a small town called Petrolia, and developed a love of theatre from a young age. As a teenager, I spent my summers volunteering at the Victoria Playhouse Petrolia (VPP), the local summer theatre which operated out of the beautiful old Victorian Town Hall. I saw first hand how a dedicated group of people can take words off a page and make them come to life. 

When I first moved to Cobourg in 2009, I didn’t know anyone. Not wanting to raise my daughter in the big city, I had moved from Toronto after living there for about 18 years. Not long after moving here, I saw an advertisement for auditions for the Northumberland Players production of Sweeney Todd. Being a musical theatre lover (especially Sondheim), as well as a former goth, I decided to try out. I ended up taking a part in the chorus, made a bunch of new friends and I had the chance to perform at the Capitol Theatre. There, in another beautiful old theatre, my love of performance was reignited. 

Craig Martin as Javert in Les Miserables.
Craig Martin as Javert in Les Miserables.

Several years later, I saw another advertisement for auditions… but this time it was for Les Miserables, one of my all time favourite shows. I hastily made an audition appointment, and showed up on a sunny day at the beginning of June of 2014. We auditioned in small groups and, unbeknownst to me, one of the members of my group would become my future wife. 

I was cast in the role of Javert, and as we started the rehearsal process, I got to know the rest of the large cast. Playing the role of Eponine was Claire Russell, and she was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen. As we brought the show to the stage of the Capitol Theatre, Claire and I fell in love. 

Claire and my shared love of community theatre is what brought us together, and it continues to be an important part of our relationship. We’ve supported each other both on and off-stage through many productions, and we hope to take the stage together for years to come. My long standing love of theatre brought me the most amazing gift a guy could ever ask for.  

Craig Martin and Claire Russell