Archive | March, 2013

Eric Whitacre – virtual skype choir at TED2013

26 Mar

I saw this performance at TED 2013 this year – inspiring and it again galvanised my ideas for some future creative projects for Pilot Theatre to make some real Shift Happen…


Sugata Mitra – at TED2013 – Building a School in the Cloud –

11 Mar

At TED2013, Sugata Mitra made a bold TED Prize wish: Help me build a place where children can explore and learn on their own — and teach one another — using resources from the worldwide cloud. To Create ‘Self Organised Learning Environments’

Educational researcher Dr. Sugata Mitra’s “Hole in the Wall” experiments have shown that, in the absence of supervision or formal teaching, children can teach themselves and each other, if they’re motivated by curiosity and peer interest. In 1999, Mitra and his colleagues dug a hole in a wall bordering an urban slum in New Delhi, installed an Internet-connected PC, and left it there (with a hidden camera filming the area). What they saw was kids from the slum playing around with the computer and in the process learning how to use it and how to go online, and then teaching each other.

The “Hole in the Wall” project demonstrates that, even in the absence of any direct input from a teacher, an environment that stimulates curiosity can cause learning through self-instruction and peer-shared knowledge. Mitra, who’s now a professor of educational technology at Newcastle University (UK), calls it “minimally invasive education.”

Pilot Theatre – International Connections….

9 Mar


As a company, armed with ipads and notebooks, we have been getting out and about recently and making some stuff happen.

As I write four members of the Pilot team are away in Drammen, Norway for the final meeting of our EU network – Platform 11+ – So Amanda Smith, Mark Beasley, Sarah Rorke and Associate artist, Tom Bellerby are putting the final touches to the network’s evaluation as well as opening the show that Tom directed, called ‘Face Me’ which will perform there, as the last country in its 6 country tour, with actors from 4 different countries. The network has involved 11 countries, and we have visited them all…International? yes indeed.

Tom has been busy, not just in his role with Pilot – attending the TMA touring conference, as well as his position as creative engagement co-ordinator for the Touring Consortium, but also, his Edinburgh hit show ‘Beulah’ will hit the Arts Theatre at the end of March as part of its UK tour. So new work? yes indeed.

We have also just completed the premiere tour of Running on The Cracks – directed by Associate Director, Katie Posner – A cracking show in co-production with the Tron in Glasgow – which has picked up 4* and 5 * reviews all along the way  and again a touring team with actors with their roots from all over the globe.

This way of approaching our work and developing opportunities and International connections now runs through the organisation’s DNA. Indeed I have been fortunate to recently attend the TED conference in Los Angeles and Palm Springs. Here I was in a room with attendees from more than 70 different countries, sharing ideas, thinking and making some serious shift happen…

In fact I have met several key speakers for our Shift Happens conference that we are running on July 8th in York. So in addition to the line up here I will be adding speakers from New York, Australia, and LA. The conference hosted 52 TED talks –  I saw them all – so as they release one every week – I saw a whole year of talks in one week – like a high protein shot of ideas, thinking and new stuff. Lots of new stuff…This is always inspiring and good to get a different perspective on the issues and situations we face on a daily basis. I have posted some of the TED talks on this blog and will continue to do so as and when they come out.

So the team has not just been away – we have been filming too…Liam has been revisiting his acting roots on a new movie and has been on location all week before hitting the ground again with our Blood and Chocolate project with SlungLow. I too have just finished working on the pickup shoot and ADR recording session for The Knife That Killed Me. We are on the final stretch for this now and we deliver to Universal Pictures at the end of March. The #TKTKM team are all working really hard and The Producer Thomas Mattinson and co-director Kit Monkman are working really hard with the visual effects team to finalise the 5 reels. We are then onto the final mix and grading before delivery.

So, as a company we have been away and making things happen – As Lyn Gardner referred to Pilot Theatre a multi-platform organisation – I can safely say that this is more and more the case these days as I look at the reach and connections we have been making recently. As Artistic Director of Pilot, I am immensely proud of the team and their diverse work and connections.

So whilst the funding outlook in the UK looks bleak – we are really opening up the connections to make our work resonate on a global scale, and are looking for people who want to share this journey to join us and share the conversation.


The Shane Koyczan #TED Talk from LA last week #TEDActive

8 Mar

I am a big fan of the artists taking the stage here at TED – and last week Shane Koyczan really knocked it out of the park…it wakes up the CEO’s and they ask questions like how do they do that? and how can you monetize it?…

well forget all that – sometimes people do stuff because they can do, and more importantly they just have to. The other stuff isn’t in the frame when they create…

‘To This Day…for the bullied and the beautiful”

Another favourite TED talk I saw last week #GangstaGardner #RonFinley

6 Mar

I was fortunate to be able to attend TED2013 this year – again a theme ran through the conference of self organistion, community action and creative commons style participation. One of my favourites was Ron Finley – the self professed and inspirational ‘Gangsta Gardner’

As I flew over LA South Central on the way home I saw this picture in a completely different light now…

Flying to LAX

Highway Drama

3 Mar


Today / a drive from Palm Springs / a bag on my knee / a broken clutch / a trip to a garage / a cab ride to LA / about to go home / can’t wait / shifthappens