Old photos found on a memory stick…

1 May

Today I found these photos on a an old memory stick in an drawer – On it were these press pack images from previous shows I directed – photos by Karl Andre

Eliot Barnes-Worrell and the cast in The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner adapted by Roy Williams 2012
Eliot Barnes-Worrell and Savannah Gordon-Liburd in The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner 2012
Oliver Alvin-Wilson as Romeo and Louisa Eyo as Nurse – Romeo and Juliet 2010-2011
Rachel Spicer as Juliet – Romeo and Juliet 2010-2011
Christina Baily as JJ and Suzann McLean as her social worker Davood Ghadami and Melanie Ash – Looking for JJ 2007-2008 adapted by Marcus Romer – this show won the UK Theatre / TMA best production for young people

A new way of making a theatre show – blending a Zoom rehearsal process with an outdoor Bluetooth headphone adventure #Ghosted

28 Apr

Amy English as ‘Flo’ and Sam Thompson as ‘Jet’ in the zoom rehearsal for ‘Ghosted’

There is a lot of talk about hybrid working and making blended projects – ones that are created using a mixture of online technologies and in person meetings. Last year I helped to make War of the Worlds in Norway entirely on Zoom. This year as part of the Cultural Recovery funding for St George’s Theatre, Great Yarmouth we are making a brand new piece of work as an R&D that we are rehearsing on Zoom but will be showcased live across various locations in Great Yarmouth and Sheringham in June this year.

‘Ghosted’ is a new commission from James McDermott that I have been working on and directing the cast of 7 young actors from Norfolk on this new performance piece. The audience will be able to eavesdrop, using bluetooth headphone technology, on a series of encounters of the characters who are trying to piece together the unexpected disappearance of ‘Ash’ one of their friendship group. A series of voicemails and text messages are shared between the group as well as live ‘in person’ scenes are played out as the story unfolds.

This will enable a socially distanced performance in a series of public spaces along the promenade and seafront of both of the towns. We are developing the technology to enable the bluetooth headphones to pick up the conversations blended with soundtrack as we follow the cast along the route of the play.

The actors and audience will be socially distanced and the technology will allow an intimate audio and performance experience with the backdrop of the Norfolk coast as a new piece of ‘Promenade Theatre’ unfolds. This R&D has been enabled by ACE cultural recovery funding and the support of St George’s Theatre and Sheringham Little Theatre and their Director Debbie Thompson who have supported this freelance team during the pandemic.

Tickets for Great Yarmouth

Tickets for Sheringham

Explore the scene locations on the map below

 

The full cast and James McDermott in rehearsal 

With Megan Sharman as ‘Fish’, Megan Artherton as ‘Chloe, Oliver Westlake as ‘Jake’, Ashton Owen as ‘Adam’ Sam Thompson as ‘Jet’ and Charlie Randall as ‘Ash’

Back in the studio again…

25 Mar

For our current Mutiny Projects commission we are making three new pieces of work for the Future and Form project – part of celebrating 50 years of creative writing at UEA. We are developing projects with three amazing writers – Ayobami Adebayo, Mona Arshi and Imogen Hermes Gowar.

For our piece with Ayobami we are making a new film and live performance piece “Provenance” that will premiere at the Norfolk and Norwich Festival in May this year.

So it was great to be back in the studio again making the film for the project. We shot at Riverside Studios in London and had a Covid secure set up – Lateral Flow tests, Face masks, visors and socially distanced shot set ups. We shot with two cameras a series of single shots – as the presentation will ultimately be on three 50 inch screens that will range from one full image to three separate images. Our crew had Andy Delaney as Director of Photography, Graham Tobias on sound and Rich With as Gaffer. I worked as Director and it was great to work with Suzann McLean again as first AD. We had Evie Nuttgens as 3rd AD and Clapper loader. Our design and props were brilliantly made by Alana Ashley and make up hair and styling was by Remi Oyenekan.

Our actors were brilliant and gave great performances for us with our set up. They were Jumoké Fashola as Lydia Jimoh, Golda John as Iya Agba, Diana Yekinni as Adesuwa, Oliver Alvin Wilson as Jide and Suzann McLean as the Nurse. For the live performance Marva Alexander will join us in May and she will play Kehinde.

Below are some screen grabs from the edit that Sophie Mellor is delivering and some photos taken by me during the shoot.

As a team Mutiny Projects will be delivering this and the other two projects as part of our commission for Future and Form

Micro Library

6 Feb

The use of the micro library as an art documentary storyboard in pictures

Casting Opportunity – for a new theatre production #Ghosted by James McDermott directed by Marcus Romer

5 Feb

A new production for St George’s Theatre and Sheringham Little Theatre spring/summer 2021

Ghosted 

Instalment One

A Promenade Play

by James McDermott

Directed by Marcus Romer

Characters

Adam eighteen, male identifying       – bisexual, worrier, works in the arcade

Jake eighteen, male identifying          – gay, a scally, works in a cafe

Chloe eighteen, female identifying    – strong, sassy, works in a pub

Fish eighteen, female identifying       – questioning, perceptive, cheeky, works in a fish shop 

Jet eighteen, male identifying             – secretive, aspiring footballer

Flo sixteen, female identifying           – naive dreamer, still at school

Ash (in video & audio only) 18, male identifying – rebel, smart, middle class

Setting

The action in this play unfolds along a Norfolk seaside promenade. The promenades will be in Sheringham and Great Yarmouth. The story explores the efforts of six very different teenage friends, after their pal Ash disappears and his clothes are washed up on the beach. It delves into their characters, romances, and secrets which could explain Ash’s absence.

This is the first play in a series of plays that tell a large serialised story. It is the pilot episode for the potential series from an original idea by James McDermott and Marcus Romer.

Dates 

Submissions by                       18th February

Casting via Zoom w/c             22nd February

Rehearsals from                      1st March (via zoom)

Performances from April      Times tbc dependent on national guidance               

Casting 

We are looking for actors who ideally are either from, based in or have a connection to East Anglia. They must me able to have excellent Norfolk accents. Playing ages for all roles are 18 with the exception of the character of Flo who has a playing age of 16. We are looking for a strong diverse cast for this new performance piece which takes its inspiration as a rural and coastal version of ‘Skins’

Notes

For a COVID secure production, the actors would all wear head-mics and the audience wear Bluetooth receiving headsets enabling them to stand at a safe distance from the cast and each other. 

Rehearsals will take place on Zoom in March in preparation for the intended performance when times allow.

Please submit spotlight links or photo and cv to marcusromeruk@gmail.com

Please mark the email ‘Ghosted’ Casting.

Keeping going – making creative projects happen – the Mutiny way

31 Jan

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This last 12 months has been tough for everyone. Keeping going has been the main thing for us all. Surviving and keeping yourself and family as safe as you can has been the main focus. It’s been tough. We all know people who have been affected by this disease, either losing a loved one or battling against the ravages of the virus. We have all had to develop a new resilience. We have had to do things in different ways. We have had to be creative in our ways of thinking and turn our our hands to new skills or re learn old ways of doing things.

We are creative beings by nature and we are discovering how to navigate this new space. I have been so grateful to have been able to keep a connection with new work and get support from my colleagues at Mutiny. We set the company back in November 2019 as a new arts organisation, little knowing how the world was about to change. So Simon Poulter, Sophie Mellor and myself met up last February in to launch our R&D process for our new project at Watershed in Bristol. We spent a great week together working up ideas for an online interactive piece of work. Then the pandemic struck, one of our colleagues was unable to travel from Italy, we moved the work online and returned to our respective bases of Cambridge, London and Plymouth. We haven’t met in person or been in the same physical room now for nearly 12 months.

Yet in that time we have kept ourselves going by making creative work happen. We have pulled together ideas and projects, sometimes on zero budget, sometimes as a new commission or two, or by tendering for new work. As a new organisation we were not eligible for any of the Cultural Recovery Funding, so we had to keep on making and producing our own work during this time.

We have worked with amazing writers to create new work for Mutiny – we have commissioned Inua Ellams (The Barber Shop Chronicles and the Three Sisters, National Theatre) Roy Williams (Death of England, Sing yer Heart out for the lads, Days of Significance, National Theatre and RSC) to create new pieces for us. Inua wrote Landrovers vs Minis for us and Roy developed a new piece for Locus Solus.

The team of mutineers who have worked with us during this period are amazing.

We have made 16 new short films since last March, these have included all ur #Covid19Threads pieces using original tweets from the pandemic, voicing them with actors and creating new drawings and animation for them. The most recent was this week when we shared the story that Lily Whiting posted.

This moving true story was voiced by actor Amy Johnson. The rest of the series of #Covid19Threads can be found on the Mutiny website.

The creative work we have made has ranged from #Covid19Threads through to a new series of animated poems created by young people under the guidance of writer James McDermott for Norfolk and Norwich Festival as part of their Common Ground project. For Flip the Museum we worked with the museum of Lowestoft and were able to develop a series of new works based on the objects in the museum and locate these in the gardens of the museum. Here is the poem about the Benjamin Britten commemorative 50p piece.

We are currently working with three writers, Mona Arshi, Ayobami Adebayo and Imogen Hermes Gowar as part of the Future and Form project for UEA. This is to celebrate 50 years of the creative writing faculty of the University and is also funded by Arts Council England. This project will culminate in new works in May this year which will include the integration of Film, Augmented Reality, Sound poetry and interactivty available on site and online.

This amazing picture of Mona Arshi was taken by Matthew Usher on our research trip to Cley Marshes in Norfolk last September.

We are going to continue to develop our interactive game world project Locus Solus – based on the novel by Raymond Roussel. This had great support from Arts Council England and Watershed last year and we will be developing this concept as we move through 2021. You can get a sense of the project here with the video we made of the R&D which also included the actors Suzann McLean, Oliver Alvin Wilson and Simon Munnery

As a final video this is Land Rovers vs Minis written by Inua Ellams.

Landrovers Vs. Minis was commissioned by MKIAC – Milton Keynes Islamic Arts, Heritage and Culture – and features a new original script by playwright and poet Inua Ellams, with actors Cherrelle SkeeteFaisal Dacosta, Umera Fatima, Mia Nuttgens and Sam Thompson. Music by Sandy Nuttgens.

“Dee makes a Whatsapp Group adding Kay, Ishy, Emm and Hilz. Dee changes the group subject to: “Friday Protest” then, “Protest”, then “Resist”, then “Bun Babylon” then “Bun Babylon For Life” then “BBFL”. Dee makes the group icon a middle finger and begins typing…”

So keeping busy, keeping creative and making new projects happen is definitely the Mutiny way. It has sustained us and kept us focused and connected. Even though we are hundreds of miles apart this is our new way of working. Mutiny is Simon Pouter, Sophie Mellor and Marcus Romer three people remote and connected, with a team of mutineers working with us. We are looking forward to working with more mutineers in 2021.

Check out the Mutiny site for more details and contact details.

Creating a UNESCO City of Media Arts for York.

29 Nov

I found the launch video we made for #York as part of the @CityofMediaArts bid to become a @UNESCO City of Media Arts. It helped us to develop idea for the @YorkMediale back in 2014/15.

The bid succeeded and it worked.

York became the first Unesco Creative City for Media Arts in the UK

#ShiftHappened

‘eating a meal shoes’

1 Nov

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My dad, who died almost 10 years ago now, left – as one of his legacies – the term ‘eating a meal shoes’

It stemmed from when we were round at my brother’s house for a family Sunday lunch. The whole family were there, it may have been an Easter Sunday but it was a long time ago and I can’t be sure. That information has all but faded – But what remains and what we all remember is that this was where we first heard the words ‘eating a meal shoes’

It was Christy, my son who was about 9 or 10 at the time, who was football mad and was kicking a ball outside up and down the grass. He shouted across to us through the window

“Come on Grandpa, why don’t you come and play?”

At this my dad called back

“Don’t be daft, I can’t – I’m wearing my eating a meal shoes”

At this Christy burst out laughing and shouted back

“What kind of shoes are those then?”

Indignantly my dad responded

“Shoes you eat a meal in – what do you think?”

At this point we of course had to look at the aforementioned footwear. A rather unflattering pair of white leather tasselled slip ons. He always wore ‘slip ons’ again a term which also caused much mirth.

And so it was – that the concept of ‘eating a meal shoes’ was born. We still refer to shoes in this way – always with a tongue pressed firmly in cheek. As a sometimes excuse for why we can’t empty the bin, take the dog out or nip to the shop.

“I can’t I’m wearing my eating a meal shoes”

I have to say that white leather tasselled slip ons are not our choice anymore. But we have discovered the brand that sounds like our surname ‘Roamers’ so a few pairs of these have been purchased over the years.

So once more as we enter lockdown – it is something I will continue to do. When working from home I will wear my ‘working from home shoes’. Which are basically ‘eating a meal shoes’ So not big boots but smart Roamers…here are mine from the old shoe box

Smart Romers…

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The Knife That Killed Me

4 Oct

The 2014 Feature Film released by Universal Pictures. 

Written and Directed by

Marcus Romer and Kit Monkman

from the novel by Anthony McGowan

The Trailer and reviews are below 

Stream the movie on Amazon Prime and Apple TV

IMDb rating 7/10

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2014-12-22-knife

Mutiny Projects – meet the mutineers

22 Sep

These are some of the amazing artists we have been working with as part of our Mutiny Projects programme of work. These have included ‘Justice 39’, ‘Covid19 Threads‘, ‘Locus Solus‘ – and our upcoming new projects – ‘Future and Form’ and ‘Flip The Museum’ More info will be available about these on the Mutiny website soon…Mutiny.org.uk