Archive | August, 2012

Run…#LDR2012 @pilot_theatre #shifthappens

25 Aug

Great work – stencil – pavement – water spray – clean pavement – outside York Theatre Royal – for our new show

The Loneliness of The Long Distance Runner – by Alan Sillitoe – adapted by Roy Williams

Pilot Theatre making shift happen once again


Chatting with Roy Williams #LDR2012 day 2

22 Aug

Roy Williams is with us in rehearsal for the first week which is great news. A quick snap of the cast after the rehearsal session on characters and impro, taking time out with some food and chat at York Theatre Royal where we are rehearsing.

This is an exciting time for us here at Pilot Theatre – and already there is a good buzz in the building and in the City about this new project.

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner – Day three – bring it on!

Marcus Romer
Artistic Director – Pilot Theatre

Day one – rehearsals for #ldr2012

20 Aug

A day of readthrough / Guardian Interview / rehearsal / and meeting the whole team for The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner / Pilot Theatre’s new show.

Great to have the writer Roy Williams with us all week – and to welcome the actors on board who gave the best readthrough of any new play that I have ever heard.

So thankyou all

Great day…


In The Space everyone could hear us stream???

16 Aug

Pilot Theatre’s 6 Camera Interactive Livestream of the York Mystery Plays has shifted the game in terms of digital engagement…

 On Saturday August 11th at 7pm Pilot Theatre went live on the new BBC/ACE site ( with 6 camera feeds, three audio feeds, full transcript and it was available on all internet enable devices – computers, tablets and smartphones. This had been developed with our digital partners, Kinura, who had written the new code that could enable anybody watching to shift between the camera views and for there to be no audio timelag as each camera was running through its own individual encoder that allowed the dialogue to be in sync.

The project we worked on was the York Mystery Plays, which involved over 500 people onstage for each performance and took place in a 1400 seat specially constructed arena auditorium in the grounds of St Mary’s Abbey York. So what did it look like?


As you can see you can select your camera from the row of 6 thumbnails and make this your main player – here the understage camera 6 has been selected.


You could also choose from 3 separate audio feeds –

a) The live action from on stage

b) The headphone cueing from the Stage Managers

c) The live audio described feed.

The audio description started from 7.15 to allow the set and setting to be described prior to the start of the show at 7.30

You could read the transcript of the text which is to the side of the main player, and

select any of the thumbnails to be your main point of view. The views allowed full coverage of the stage action. These provided wideshots, close-ups and focusing on areas of action like the choral singing or the band. To do this there were 3 robot cameras with operators (the same ones as used for the Olympic coverage), 2 onstage cameras with operators and special ‘Livepack’ roving camera under the stage with an operator. This is a camera attached to a backpack with an encoder and basically lots of 3G upload ability – a bit like having a rucksack full of smart phones all working in sync to upload the live footage for you.

All of the cameras were HD and recorded all the material onto a vast storage system. We recorded 6 cameras, four hours each – which is actually 24 hours of HD video.

On top of this you could choose which audio feed you want to hear. The stage action, with all the dialogue, singing and performances, or you could choose the production and cans feed from the DSM calling the show. Here you could hear all the cues, set ups and action points whilst watching the results as they happened live. Or you could have the audio described version of the events that are happening live on stage. So you can access all areas throughout the performance.

The idea came from when I was watching a show in the main house at York Theatre Royal – and realising of course that you are free to watch wherever and whatever you want – be that the follow spot operators, the audience, the action downstage right – or the lighting changes. So as a next iteration of the idea of live performance we wanted to recreate this idea using multiple camera viewpoints.

So as a difference from say an NT Live stream where the decisions to which shot you will see have already been predetermined by a director – in our work you are the one who chooses and this gives a greater sense of creative intervention and participation in the event. 

So. This is not about making a programme, or an edit that is made for you.

This is different. This is new. You make the choices. You decide what to watch, what to listen to, and above all you decide how you want to engage with the work.

This is just the start of the project – after the livestream – the footage will then still be available on the space site from September 3rd – where the view again option is still available – only now you will be able to drag and drop from the clips available into an audio timeline so you can choose your own bespoke version of the York Mysteries, by mixing the clips from the 6 cameras into your own version to watch back.

So you can watch the backstage journey for some clips, cut to the choral sections on stage and back to the control desk view…infinite possibilities

Which is what this project is all about. The next iteration of what iplayer might become, the interaction, participation and creative involvement of audiences, viewers and collaborators.

Did it work? Yes indeed. We never lost any transmission time, and we maintained the full feed on all 6 cameras for 4 hours with a hitch. The feedback online was amazing – we reached 237,000 twitter accounts using the #mysteryplays hashtag.

@AnnaBrk: Live streaming of York’s #MysteryPlays has been wonderful. Loved being able to choose which camera to watch. Congrats to @pilot_theatre 

@Mat_LB: @marcusromer loving the #mysteryplays live stream, inspiring use of technology to bring this performance to the world

@Mark_Rance: York Mystery Plays live stream – totally brilliant! #mysteryplays

The Mystery Cycle traditionally had all sectors of the community playing their part in the delivery of the project for each other. The Guilds would collaborate and work together For this part of this amazing project we like to think of Pilot Theatre and Kinura belonging to the new Guild of Digital Livestreamers…

…and the single viewpoint director’s edit of live theatre will now have to change…Yes, Shift Happens


What we are doing has never been done before. Ever. It is totally new. #mysteryplays #thespacearts

9 Aug

spaceHD from Pilot Theatre on Vimeo.

On Saturday August 11th at 7pm  Pilot Theatre will be presenting something that has never been done before. Ever.

A six camera / six encoder / three audio feed / interactive livestream of –

The York Mystery Plays.

We are presenting this on The Space. We have been working with Kinura to develop this idea.

They have written new code. This has been integrated into the BBC/ACE Space website.

We go live from 7pm Saturday.

This is what it is:-

You can select your camera from the row of 6 thumbnails and make this your main player.

You can choose from 3 separate audio feeds –

a) The live action

b) The headphone cueing from the Stage Managers

c) The live audio described feed.

You can read the transcript of the text. You can select any of the thumbnails to be your main point of view.

You can change these at anytime.

The views allow full coverage of the stage action. Three robot cameras with operators. Two onstage cameras with operators.

We also have a livepack roving camera under the stage with an operator. Which captures the backstage action.

You can watch and interact with this live from a device connected to the internet. For free.

So we will be capturing 6 camera feeds for four hours.

A total of 24 hours of material.

This will then be made available – again on the Space from September – where you can remix / re watch / your own bespoke version of the event. In your own time. By dragging clips into an audio timeline you can re visit and choose you own viewpoint version.

So. This is not about making a programme. Or an edit that is made for you.

This is different. This is new. You make the choices. You decide what to watch, what to listen to, and above all you decide how you want to engage with the work.

We are making this happen as part of year of R&D at Pilot Theatre that has already seen us pioneer #pilotlive and

So join us. be part of the story. Let us know what works for you. It is how we will all learn how to make things work better.


Marcus Romer – Artistic Director – Pilot Theatre


A jumping off point #blog @pilot_theatre #teampilot

5 Aug

Today I made a leap – right into the deep water today. From here right on the edge of Grad Dubrovnik and straight into the salty Adriatic.

More importantly I have been making notes and jotting down thoughts about work and plans. It has been great to take the time to think and I appreciate that this makes me very fortunate indeed.

The great thing about working for Pilot theatre is seeing the range and skills of the team blossom and develop. Since taking a break from the office a fortnight ago – lots has happened.

Our associate directors Katie Posner opening the York Mysteries with the whole team after months of real graft and hard work – is fantastic. Tom Bellerby opening two shows in Edinburgh and getting great reviews is brilliant – and this comes on the back of his European show opening in the Czech Republic.

Mandy Smith and Sarah Seddon steering the Producing and Administrative keel of the company
– and bringing the touring team for Long Distance Runner into the Pilot Team. As well as steering the needs for The Space with York Theatre Royal team.

Not to mention Mark Beasley who has been bridging the whole Space and Kinura and BBC production project to fruition and developing all his Digital Production skills from PilotLive to the forefront on this.

The marketing and press teams too have been uploading images and av stuff into the Dropbox for the BBC.

For me I have been asked to write an article for The Stage on our Livestream project for the #mysteryplays with @kinura which is on Saturday Aug 11th at 7pm UK time.I have also been kept up to date with the edit on The Knife that Killed Me movie we shot in April/May this year – we are working to a December 2012 delivery for Universal Pictures for a March 2013 cinema release

As well as thinking – I have realised that what we have created with the company is an opportunities hub and a seed bed for creative talent – which is an exciting place to think and make work.

The understanding too, that as with the development of the athletes for team GB we too, in our own way, have spent out own time developing our team of artists and players with their own skills and abilities.

This has taken time and resources – but the range and diversity of our projects makes me very proud indeed. So we have new projects in the pipeline. We have a new Chair starting to work with us – and I for one am looking forward to diving back into the work tomorrow – feeling refreshed, invigorated and above all excited.

#mysteryplays #ldr2012 #thespacearts #TKTKTM #edfringe

Bring it on


The light here is amazing #blog

3 Aug

The light in Dubrovnik old town tonight…

A long day today – but a good one – an early start and a trip to catch the ferry from Supetar on Bra?? – across the Adriatic to Split. From here a bus to Dubrovnik which is a 6 hour trip down the Dalmation coastline to the Unesco World heritage city of Dubrovnik.

An interesting part of the journey is that you have to cross the Bosnia Herzegovina border as for 5km the coastline belongs to them. The bus stops – guards get on and check your id
– you drive on for three minutes then do the same again.

We passed signs and roads to Sarajevo and Mostar and indeed we crossed the famous river. We crossed several rebuilt bridges and saw that some of the landscape still bears the scars.

We were the only English people on the bus which made regular stops at working towns and depots along the way.

A great way to travel and to take in the atmosphere of Croatia today – and being out of email contact was great. It allowed me to sketch out a new storyline and plot for a new project. A real focused amount of thinking time – which was rewarding indeed.

Arriving at Dubrovnik the light was utterly amazing – and what an awesome place – I managed to light a candle for my dad in the Cathedral here as, unbelievably it is exactly one year ago today that he died.

Still time to catch up on some work stuff and to hear that the Mysteries and The Space project are progressing really well indeed. So a big thanks to all the Pilot / York / Kinura teams.

We are back to work on Monday and it will be all systems go. But in the meantime batteries are being recharged and we are going to make the most of the two day break in this beautiful city.


Scenes of Mild Peril – have been averted – #family blog

2 Aug

A late night text last night from our son, Christy – who is working for an NGO in Djougou in Benin, West Africa read …

‘What is the dose for the ciprofloxacin? need to know ASAP’

We phoned him – no reply – we texted – still no reply – The drug is one of the strongest antibiotics – It turned out he was in hospital – in Djougou and was having further antibiotic injections – We waited for news – he had been in and out of sleep all day and every ten minutes or so had been rushing to the bathroom for the last 24 hours

So he was taken to the local hospital by his host family. Thank goodness – as the six injections and oral doses of drugs seemed to revive him

Consequently scenes of mild peril were then averted – and we eventually managed to speak to him today.

He sounded ok and we were relieved – his project starts tomorrow about HIV awareness – he is determined to be there for the launch.

Amazing resilience the human body – and with the right intervention at the right time – means we can all sleep a little more restfully tonight…


A filling station for boats and cars #mysteryplays #thespacearts

1 Aug

Today I went to a petrol station – that fuels both cars and boats – that was good – because today we had a boat – so we filled it up and set off round the Island of Brac – an awesome and exciting day – first time I have ever sailed a boat on my own – well not on my own – as MR and SH were with me – we sailed to Bobovisca from Milna and across to a small island – anchoring and swimming from the boat – we got supplies after mooring in Bobovisca – and then headed out to three more bays and beaches only accessible by boat. To be honest it was a fabulous day – great fun and exciting – and sometimes a little bit scary – crossing the ferry paths and such – but hey – we were buoyed up – yep as during the day I was in contact with the Pilot Theatre team and the Kinura team who were busy integrating the code into the Space site for the first time – exciting stuff as this was the day we were making sure it worked with the Space Arts and their team – so a big thanks to Jake and Mo at the Space and their team – and to Mark and Mandy at Pilot HQ – and of course to Sarah, Ben and Sacha at Kinura – So even though I am away in The Adriatic – the possibility that still we can make shift happen is great – we have wifi and full mobile coverage – so even from a boat on the isle of Brac we can still be connected and be part of the event and story – Back at the weekend and a full week before the livestream of the #mysteryplays on Aug 11th

This will be on site In the meantime last minute design content and delivery tweaking.

The great thing is that new stuff always happens in different ways – we booked this break last year – before we knew we had the Space contract – but I am happy to say that with the connectivity and resourcefulness of the teams we can make this Shift Happen – and that for me is almost as good as the design of a garage for cars and boats

Only this project is way more exciting #onwards




PS for those who imagine I am on a really big boat and living a millionaire’s life – yep I am – BUT the breaking news is that the actual cost of the 4m motor launch with a 5BHP outboard motor was 60 quid for 24 hours including fuel… – and it was awesome! #livingthedream 🙂