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Pictures and videos from the archive of shows I have directed – Lord of the Flies from 1998 – 2008

18 Jun

Library - 0679This was the show that took my work across the country for a period of 10 years. From 1998 – 2008 we made 5 separate productions of this that played over 960 performances in almost every theatre in the country to audiences in excess of 500,000.

We had 5 casts that overlapped as the shows progressed and we co-produced with Lyric Hammersmith, York Theatre Royal to first deliver this with Pilot Theatre back in 1998.

Library - 0680The show toured across the UK and we even tool it to Bermuda to their International Theatre festival. It also played versions across Europe as part of EU collaborative projects. Library - 0700

The crashed aeroplane set was designed by Ali Allen and Marise Rose – and its multi-functional use became a real trademark for the show. This was combined with the first full soundtrack composed by Sandy Nuttgens which underscored the entire piece. Again a first for this kind of work.


We used projection and titles from the first production again giving the pice a cinematic feel. The full soundtrack and moving shapes from the plane were combined with real elements too. We had two real fireboxes on stage that really created a sense of danger.

Library - 0680The show itself was a series of controlled danger moments. With falls and crashes and swinging metal from the structure, as the actors leapt over flames and slid down the structures that they beat with metal bars.

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The rotting pig’s head at the start of Act 2 with Simon ( played by Neville Robinson)

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Phillip Dinsdale as Jack

The use of blood, water and fire and a pulsing soundtrack ensures that there were moments of adrenaline rush in the audience that could tip to a moment of pin drop silence, when we killed the soundtrack dead – as the motionless body of Simon hung limply from the edge of the wing section.


Neville Hutton as Piggy

The bullying and baying of the characters whipped the story to its terrifying climax – as we flew in a ‘helicopter’ effect to blind the audience as we dropped in a parachting SAS officer.

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This show always worked incredibly well for the audience of young people who had sometimes been reluctantly dragged along to see their set text piece of work. As a director I wanted to ensure that they witnessed something they would never have seen before. And to ensure that they would not be bored and there would be scenes that would burn into their memory by the sheer audacity of the action in front of them.

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“William Golding meets Quentin Tarantino”

The Financial Times

“Brilliantly evoked…see it and weep”

Time Out

“Terrifying and exhilarating production…heart stopping”

The Guardian

“Visceral production…thrillingly choreographed”

The Independent

“Brilliant – Stunning production…superb ensemble…skilful direction, if you see nothing else, see this.”

Manchester Evening News

“This is a superb production of which everyone involved can be proud”

The Scotsman

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Directed by Marcus Romer

Designed by Ali Allen and Marise Rose

Soundtrack by Sandy Nuttgens

Lighting design by James Farncombe

AV Arnim Friess

Movement Hannah Priddle / Gill wright / Faroque Khan

Relights James Molyneux

Photos Simon Warner


The trailer made by AGE from New York back in 1999 – before Theatres did trailers…


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Thanks to all the actors and creative practitioners and office staff who worked on this project over the many years. It was a great show and was great fun to make.

Lord of the Flies – it was 20 years ago today…

7 Sep

Hard to believe when some things pop up in your online feed, but I realised that it was 20 years ago today that I first made the theatre production of Lord of the Flies. It seems like another lifetime ago. But I just wanted to take the time out today to thank all of the actors, artists, designers and teams who helped to make this show happen over the following decade.

Library - 0680The show ran for 6 productions for the next 11 years. We gave over 960 performances in over 60 venues across the whole of the UK – and also as far afield as Bermuda, and Portugal. We were nominated for numerous awards and picked up a fair few along the way too. There were 6 casts and technical teams – but the original crashed plane design by Ali Allen and Marise Rose and the soundscape by Sandy Nuttgens were constant thoughout the whole series of productions.

It put my career on the map and certainly established Pilot Theatre as a leading touring theatre company across the UK.

Even back in 1998 – when the world was a different place, I placed innovation at the core of our work, online resources, free CD’s and DVD’s on the programmes – remember those?

It was great to make a show that made things happen. For me it enabled us to launch the careers for many emerging actors, lx designers, associate directors and stage managers.

Here is the clip for the trailer made by the video company who flew over from New York back in 1999 to make it for us. It was a video trailer for the show. This was years before YouTube was born, but we realised then the power that images, sound and vision could have that could help to develop a new era of audience and theatremakers.

Thanks to all who had a hand in helping to make this happen all those years ago

You’ve got to join the tribe…

Another opening, another show…

1 Mar
Antigone Soldiers

Antigone Soldiers

As I sat in for press night for a show I had directed last week (Antigone at Theatre Royal, Stratford East) I began to count up how many press nights I had been to of shows I had made. I began to realise that I have opened main house shows at many venues up and down the country, and as a touring company each week has a new press night for each production we bring there. So I started to make a list, which is by no means comprehensive, rather the ones I can remember. So, if I miss any out please let me know and I will add them in.

So here goes…a list of venues, in no particular order, that I have made shows with or brought shows to, on tour where I have had press nights…for no other reason than to catalogue for myself on my blog. So here goes and apologies for the unintentional ommissions.

Pretty much covers most of the country!

York Theatre Royal                       13 main house shows and  8 studio productions

Lyric Hammersmith                      3 main house productions

Theatre Royal Stratford East        1 main house productions

West Yorkshire Playhouse             4 courtyard productions

Unicorn Theatre, London               3 main house productions

Hackney Empire                               1 main house productions

Nottingham Playhouse                    2 main house productions

Octagon Theatre Bolton                  2 main house productions

ArtsDepot, London                           3 main house productions

Leicester Curve                                  1 main house production

Richmond Theatre, London            2 main house productions

Trafalgar Studios, London               1 studio production

Derby Theatre                                     1 main house production

Northern Stage                                    2 main house productions

Birmingham Rep                                 3 main house productions

Contact, Manchester                          3 main house productions

The Lowry, Salford                             3 main house productions

Liverpool Playhouse                           2 main house productions

Liverpool Everyman                           1 main house production

Lawrence Batley, Huddersfield        4 main house productions

Exeter, Northcott                                 4 main house productions

Winchester, Theatre Royal                 5 main house productions

Nottingham, Lakeside Theatre          6 main house productions

Wakefield Theatre Royal                    5 main house productions

Gulbenkian Canterbury                      2 main house productions

Marlowe Canterbury                           1 main house production

Poole Arts Centre                                 4 main house productions

Jersey Opera House                            3 main house productions

The Hexagon Reading                         2 main house productions

Aberystwyth Arts Centre                    2 main house productions

Lancaster Grand Theatre                    1 main house production

Stirling Macrobert arts Centre           2 main house productions

The Byre Theatre St Andrews             2 main house productions

Warwick Arts Centre                             2 main house productions

Taunton Brewhouse Theatre               3 main house productions

Oxford Playhouse                                   2 main house productions

Everyman Cheltenham                          1 main house production

Bracknell South Hill Park                      3 main house productions

Plymouth Theatre Royal                        1 main house production

Northampton Theatre Royal                 1 main house production

Bradford Alhambra Theatre                  1 main house production

The Sherman Theatre, Cardiff               1 main house production

Newport Theatre                                       3 main house productions

Preston Charter Theatre                          3 main house productions

Gala Theatre Durham                              2 main house productions

Darlington Civic Theatre                         3 main house productions

Sheffield Lyceum Theatre                       1 main house production

Ipswich, New Wolsey Theatre                3 main house productions

Portsmouth Theatre Royal                      1 main house production

Hall for Cornwall, Truro                          2 main house production

Hamilton Theatre, Bermuda                  1 main house production

Belfast Grand Opera House                    1 main house production



The opening 4 minutes of The Knife That Killed Me movie #TKTKM

29 Sep

Here is the opening 4 minutes of our new movie – written and directed by Marcus Romer and Kit Monkman – for Greenscreen productions in association with Pilot Theatre and  Premiere – with UK distribution by Universal Pictures

The Knife That Killed Me – based on the novel by Anthony McGowan

Trailer for The Knife That Killed Me #THISISWHATDEADLOOKSLIKE

19 Apr


The Knife That Killed Me is the new feature film made for Universal Pictures by Green Screen Productions in association with Pilot Theatre and Palace Pictures.

It is based on the novel by Anthony McGowan, and was adapted and directed by Marcus Romer (Pilot Theatre) and Kit Monkman (KMA).

The visual effects and post production was delivered by the University of York TFTV department

The film was produced by Alan Latham and Thomas Mattinson.

With support and help from Universal Pictures

More information on imdb here

Looking back / Going forward 13/14 #blogpost

30 Dec

This year was full of stuff – some great things and some less so. I don’t want to dwell on the crap bits or over expound the positives. I want to rather put a list together, with some pictures of things that have been important to me over the year. I am looking forward to 2014 with a renewed vigour and I am looking forward to creating interesting work with interesting people, and to spending more time with my family and friends who are so important to me. At times it felt as if several things were pulling me in different directions – but not quite as hard as the dog walker I managed to get a picture of in Buenos Aires…


So, in no particular order

1. Blood + Chocolate – was the most extraordinary project ever. It was the culmination of two years of planning and an intense nine months of preparation and pre-production, resulting in a truly great project – my thanks go to all the people of York who came on the journey with us and to the hard work of all the teams who made this possible – so a big up to Pilot and SlungLow for making it happen.


The full webcast video of the whole production is available on demand here to watch again Blood + Chocolate webcast

2. The Knife That Killed Me – This year we finalised the edit and did the test screenings at Universal Pictures and I am very much looking forward to this being in cinemas in 2014 as we move towards the release date. This has been the culmination of 5 years work since I first pressed ‘send’ on the first draft of the screenplay to the producers. I am incredibly proud of the work that the whole team put into this, to make this completely new feature film happen


The quality of each of the frames is amazing – considering that there are 137,000 of them – and each has been hand finished and has hand drawn artwork on each one…


Great hand drawn artwork from Stu Ord on all these frames and screengrabs


3. TED Conference 2013 – I had an amazing time in Los Angeles in February at the annual TED conference. Some standout talks and great moments and new friends made…Like here ‘California Dreaming’ in front of the Hollywood sign


One of the talks by Spoken Word Poet Shane Kocyzan is well worth a moment of your time.

4. Our house – the sale fell through after 6 months of messing about. Shift Happens, I know… I have now moved back in. I love this house. We may sell it this year, we may not. Either way I am not going to stress about it as we realise how fortunate and lucky we are.


5. Shift Happens V – again we ran this in York and a big thanks to the fantastic line up of speakers – a couple of stand out moments for me were the fabulous Jenny Sealey from Graeae…

and to Matt Mason VP of  BitTorrent who came over from San Francisco to join us in York

the brilliant Julia Unwin, CEO of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation

and of course Elliot Barnes-Worrell

6. Twitter stuff – now whilst this is not really a big deal it has been one of the stranger moments this year – I read a post by a facebook friend which I adapted, thanked and tweeted. Turns out someone had done this earlier in the year too and I hadn’t seen it or was even aware of it. By that time it was too late – it went viral. I thanked all parties and then sat back and tried to fend off the 30k email notifications of each RT or favourite. I now know how to turn of those notifications btw…


7. A proud dad moment as our son Christy Romer graduated with a 2:1 from LSE.


8. And a finger selfie from Porto in Portugal as we crossed over the bridge to the old town was part of a great summer break too

photo 2

9. Where both Christy and Mills agreed to pose for their one annual picture for us, which was offley good of them…

photo 4

10. As proud moments go – this one of Susie on the BBC news – which was the first of her many live TV interviews in the course of her high profile job made me a very proud husband indeed

photo 3

11. So as I head towards our next programme of work which includes the No Boundaries Conference in February and then Pilot’s co-production with the Theatre Royal Stratford East, Derby Theatre and York Theatre Royal of a new version of Antigone adapted by Roy Williams, I feel very excited and privileged to be making this work…so watch this space for more updates and…


12. Onwards and Upwards my friends…

A rather good view from The Pilot Theatre office today…

20 Aug


…looks good today – we are back and up and running – and with two sets of great news about our work. Our role as Cultural Leaders with an emphasis on our local and International work have been confirmed today with two great pieces of news

Firstly, we have secured a 2 year contract with the City of York Council to deliver a programme of livestreams. Here we will deliver the Council meetings as part of their open democracy and innovation strategy. This is very exciting news as it really reaffirms our role as a theatre organisation with civic and Cultural responsibilities. Together with the City Council we are providing leadership and increased opportunities for engagement for the whole of York and Yorkshire – hence for our audiences and participants too.

Secondly our EU funding bid with our partners Elsinor Theatre in Milan, and O’Bando Theatre in Lisbon has been successful. Which means we will be making work in Australia and Vancouver, which looks at emigration and movement of European peoples. Working with two theatre companies in Canada, and one in Sydney, we will create work to be presented at Sydney Opera House which will then travel to Vancouver, Canada, Lisbon, Portugal, Milan, Italy and York, England over the next three years.

Both of these initiatives are the result of our approach to making work in partnership with other organisations. A strength of Pilot Theatre, as we have always made work with other organisations. Which is why…

Thirdly, our Blood+Chocolate co-production with SlungLow and York Theatre Royal is now in pre-production – we are excitedly heading into rehearsals in September, and all the teams are working really hard to make this an extraordinary event for the cast of 170 and the 140 strong community support team. This is a true partnership project for the City of York…so a good reason to see the trailer again…

This much I know…about making new stuff happen

25 Jul


1 Sometimes it feels like there is going to be a fight

2 Sometimes there is a fight

3 Sometimes there isn’t

4 Sometimes it relates to my thoughts from a previous blogpost

5 Sometimes it doesn’t

6 I often think of Channel 4’s tagline ‘Be First, Make Trouble, Inspire Change’

7 I love this. It is what we like to do too. What I aim to do all the time

8 Being first is making new stuff happen

9 This invariably makes trouble

10 It sometimes inspires change

11 This is good

12 But sometimes it makes numbers 1 and 2 happen

13 But mostly number 3 is the outcome

14 In doing so people on the sidelines like to shout and make a fuss

15 They like to tell you what you are doing, have done and will continue to do, wrong

16 They like to be vocal about these things

17 They like to make themselves feel better, because pointing out the things they think are wrong means that they feel right

18 Sitting on the sidelines is easy

19 Shouting and pointing out where you went wrong is the easiest job in the world

20 This is why they do it

21 It makes them feel important

22 It makes them feel like they imagine what it feels like to make new stuff

23 They are wrong. It doesn’t

24 They are often the ones who don’t make new stuff happen.

25 They are the ones who don’t put their heads over the parapet

26 The view is better from over the parapet

27 The air is clearer and fresher, and you get the full force of life in your face

28 It can be a lonely space to inhabit sometimes

29 You need to be up there with the people who are on your side – looking forwards

30 The view is way better and more exhilarating

31 From here you can’t really hear those on the sidelines , their voices become distant

32 From here you can see the next step and the route forward.

33 That’s what keeps you going

34 Make new stuff happen

35 You have nothing to lose. At all…

The image is taken from the opening of the feature film ‘The Knife That Killed Me’ a new movie for Universal Pictures by Marcus Romer, Kit Monkman and Thomas Mattinson