Archive | February, 2011

Day one – #TEDactive signed in and ready to go

28 Feb


Yes I have signed in – got my badge which is the pass to all the activities – lose it and game over. So just brewing a coffee in my room. It is 11.30 am here in Palm Springs, and the place is extraordinary, almost 80 degrees and surrounded by snow capped mountains in the middle of the desert. I love the stories about this place, as it is legendary as it is part of the 2 hour rule…This means it is a two hour drive from Hollywood, and when actors were shooting in the studio system, they had to be no more than a 2 hour drive away from the set, in case their schedule changed, and they could be on set in two hours. So this was the limit they could get to…and many a story of partnerships and illicit meetings abound from this idyllic and beautiful place.

I am in the Monroe room. That is all I know…

So having had breakfast, and having spoken to Mark back in Leicester about the truck getting to the venue due to a poorly driver…I have been out to check in and get my bag and schedule. I have had a dip and a steam ( all really to get my knees back up and running – honest!)

There are 700 people here and already I have met a Guardian writer and TED host from the UK, Marieme Jamme, An opera singer from Brighton, Darren Abrahams and The director of the documentary being made here about the project. I am attending the TED University this afternoon in the desert so am packing serious sun block and such…and have realised one thing

This is going to be a 3 Moleskine trip…


I have spare ink cartridges too for my fountain pen. So yes, tech and old school mix well here. The schedue starts early tomorrow morning and I have met Rives who is hosting us here on stage. So I will be keeping you up to date and will aim to keep things relevant and bite sized enough to make sense.

Off to buy some deodorant…and get my safe fixed as it has locked with all my stuff in and I can’t get it open. Yep security are here



Arrived after 24 hours… #TEDactive (But I am not too active at the moment…)

28 Feb

And I feel a bit like this guy looks in the skyMall brochure…


and I forgot to pack any deodorant – so a bath and well… shift happens eh?

Normal service will be resumed later on the 28th….


A blogpost from up in the air #ted #SXSW

28 Feb


I have got my confidence back, an not as a result of the contraption the bloke in the sky mall magazine is wearing – totally bizarre
But the reason for a confidence back is that I am nearly there, after 20 hours of travelling I am on the final stretch now. The last leg of the journey from Dallas to Palm Springs – and I am sending this from 30,000 feet.

And it’s legal – thanks to gogoinflight wifi on this American Airlines flight. I know this is old news to some of you – but for me it is a first.

And…it is great to be able to check up on all the emails and messages now. As well as being able to follow the Oscars live on twitter and chat to fellow tweeters across the world at the same time. It really has made the last leg of the journey pretty good – tricky lettuce so far – delay into Chicago meant I had to get fast tracked to make the connection to Dallas – I had a red jacketed pass and was hurried through
by a team if three!

Lots of snow in Chicago, and yep – very windy…

So going to see if this posts ok and then get back to seeing what upsets the Oscars may throw up

Now where did I put that headband…

A large Americano – to go #SXSW #TED

27 Feb

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The journey starts, as it always should with a large Americano. It seems appropriate given the trip I am about to take.

At Manchester Airport on time courtesy of ‘Tony Way to Travel’ and through check in and security in less than ten minutes which is unheard of. Must do more 6 o’clock starts on Sundays…
I am flying today to the start of the TED conference in California – and heading to it via Chicago and Dallas. I am really looking forward to being back there again as it is four years since I was last there. It was an informative and inspiring experience that led me to start the whole Shift Happens Conference programme that Pilot Theatre have run for the last 3 years.

So back again to meet and hear and hook up with speakers and ideas and new networks. I will also be looking for potential contributors and collaborators for our future Shift Happens and TEDxYork programme.

After TED I am heading off to meet the ACE delegation of Creative Producers in Austin Texas, where I have also been invited to attend South by Southwest (sxsw) with them.
This again is a gathering of people from across the world looking at technology, interactivity, film, media and live performance. I have managed to set up some meetings with fellow theatre directors and others – and indeed if people want to meet up just drop me a message on my twitter feed (I am @marcusromer) and we can try and connect whilst I am either at TED or SXSW. I will be sharing the findings from both events here on this blog, and will post links and info for you to share with your networks on here as well.

It does feel like the start of an enormous adventure, and I am very fortunate to have been invited to both events.
I will keep you posted

Til later

Marcus  / halfway down the cup of coffee now at Manchester Airport

Audioboo – International Work from @pilot_theatre

23 Feb

The Unfinished Swan – Looks like it is going to get finished

22 Feb

An old favourite of mine – looks like it might be getting finished according to their blog…

Hockney in York – Bigger Trees Near Warter #Artsfunding

16 Feb

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I have just spent an inspiring lunchtime in the presence of David Hockney. Or rather, in the presence of the 50 connected panels that make up the brilliant ‘Bigger Trees Near Warter’ which is currently on display at York Art Gallery.

It is vast in scale and vision, and typifies everything that is great about the Arts. To see this for free during my lunch hour across the road from our office is an amazing privilege.

In fact it has inspired me in ways I was not anticipating. Again one of the values that this work has for us all. As I return to my desk I wanted to share these thoughts and to try to make sense of where we are at this current time. We are waiting for funding decisions for sure and it is a bit of a creative ‘airlock’ time

However the conversations I have just had with fellow visitors to the gallery, people I have never met before, all sharing the delight of being part of a bigger story reminds me that it is these things that make us all human. The reaffirming sense of connecting with an original, brave, vast piece of work helps us to focus on the small real and important things in life.

So onwards with a renewed energy and into the bright pre Spring light of the City – better not be late for that new project meeting…

Marcus 2pm 16 Feb 2011

A Rose and a bus queue #Valentine

14 Feb

The twitter exposure from #SOTA11 from lunchtime onwards was 1.4m

10 Feb


the exposure was over 1.4 million from this afternoon alone


the full report from this period is below


Review: Romeo and Juliet??|??A Younger Theatre #kissbythebook

7 Feb

Review: Romeo and Juliet

Posted on 07 February 2011 Written by Eleanor Turney

There was a curious inevitability about Pilot Theatre’s Romeo and Juliet, even before we learn in the prologue that these star cross’d lovers will take their life. Chloe Lamford’s visually stunning set is covered in an arresting array of flowers. Coupled with spare staging, simple lines and flickering candles, it was clear from the start that this stage would end up a tomb.

A bold concept for directors Marcus Romer and Katie Posner to stake their production on, but ultimately a gamble worth taking. What could easily have become gimmicky, mawkish, distracting, became a neat framing device, never allowing the audience to forget that this would end in tragedy. Mary Rose’s Lady Capulet was a grieving mother before she spoke a line, putting the deaths in universal human terms: we were never allowed to forget that the two hours traffic of the stage would culminate in the end of this lady’s child.

Posner and Romer were lucky in Rachel Spicer’s fantastic, touchingly young Juliet; she was strong enough to wrench real grief from the well-worn story. Her capricious Juliet flitted between emotions but the sheer joy emanating from her when she found Oliver Wilson’s tender Romeo was beautifully bittersweet. Wilson himself had his moments, and did a convincing line in love-lorn, but was a little contrived in his grief, a little overwrought, perhaps. Chris Landon’s impulsive Mercutio, always ready with an innuendo and a cackle, played nicely off Bryn Holding’s earnest, loyal Benvolio, and Landon demonstrated impressive versatility in his prissy Paris, too, giving him an air of never having been denied anything. Louisa Eyo, who played both Nurse and Duke, switched from lewd to stern, from servant to prince with ease, and was impressive in both roles. Her impassive Duke was a commanding presence, and her loving, laughing Nurse was knowing without stooping to the levels of courseness practised by the young men.

Sandy Nuttgens’s inciental music was particularly striking, offering sound effects and emotive background without overshadowing the sounds on stage. An impressively varied score, and one that underlined the drama at every turn.

Dramaturg Juliet Forster and the cast have obviously had fun with the text, wringing every possible innuendo out of it, and adding some pelvic thrusts where none are strictly necessary for good measure. Romer and Posner have done a great job with the verse, coaxing admirably clear speaking from the whole cast, and making the words sound new. This is not reverent Shakespeare, although there is clearly affection for the language, but Shakespeare played to be understood and enjoyed, even at its saddest. The audience of school children clearly enjoyed the baser humour, and I left with a sense of youth and wit and fun needlessly wasted. Some judicious cuts kept the play near enough to two hours traffic, as opposed to the self-indulgent three that seems the norm, and kept the story zipping along to its sorry conclusion.

Romeo and Juliet is running at the Unicorn Theatre until the 12th February. Otherwise catch it on tour, see the website here: