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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.

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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.

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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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QUOTES & REVIEWS

“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.

Pictures from the archive of shows I have directed – Looking for JJ

12 Jun

The world premiere of Anne Cassidy’s brilliant and award-winning novel, adapted by Marcus Romer. Pilot co-produced Looking For JJ in partnership with Unicorn Theatre, London and York Theatre Royal. We opened the national tour in York in autumn 2007 until March 2008. It included. four week run at The Unicorn Theatre in London

Looking for JJ won the TMA award for best show for children and young people at the awards ceremony at Hampstead Theatre.

Suzann McLean and Christina Baily

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The cast was – Melanie Ash, Christina Baily as JJ, Rochelle Gadd, Davood Ghadami, Louise Kempton, Suzann McLean.

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Lousie Kempton, Christina Baily and Rochelle Gadd

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Christina Baily and Davood Ghadami

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Christina Baily

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Rochelle Gadd, Davood Ghadami, Christina Baily and Louise Kempton

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Christina Baily and Suzann McLean

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Melanie Ash and Christina Baily

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Christina Baily

The Team

Writer Marcus Romer – Adapted from the novel by Anne Cassidy

Director Marcus Romer

Designer Laura McEwen

Lighting James Farncombe

AV design Arnim Friess

Sound Design Sandy Nuttgens

Photos Tristram Kenton and Karl Andre

Trailer 

 

Quotes

The Guardian

the adaptation of Anne Cassidy’s excellent novel for teenagers is pacy and engaging. It seamlessly melds technology with live action, so it often feels as if you have fallen through a computer screen. But the great thing here is that video is not an add-on but is embedded in the heart of the production.

The BBC

The novel by Ann Cassidy is currently a cult hit with teenagers across the UK and, as always, Pilot have their finger on the pulse. Marcus Romer’s adaptation is superb. It is fragmented and spliced in such a way that the audience is never bored or patronised. Concentration is the only way to keep up with the pace and the broken nature of the piece ensures the tension never drops for a moment.

In balance with the frenetic nature of spliced music, movies and picture stills on an
impressive, movable cyclorama, the performances are bold and simple. Christina Baily
as JJ bares her soul to the audience in direct addresses that are perfect for the company’s
target teenage audience and suit the blog framework that the adaptation adopts.

It is a performance that will make you feel elated and uncomfortable in equal measure, pushing relevant questions about redemption and forgiveness to the surface. Christina’s characterisation is so full of strength and warmth the audience uncomfortably writhe in their seats as they realise they are rooting for her to get away with it.

The supporting cast are equally superb, switching between numerous roles effortlessly and pulling off the difficult task of adults playing children with panache. The energy levels remain in top gear throughout and the original soundtrack is chillingly eerie, it gives even greater magnitude to the rising tension and is a credit to composer Sandy Nuttgens. As with ‘Sing Yer Heart Out For the Lads’ Pilot have confronted difficult issues in an innovative, fresh and accessible fashion which leaves your head buzzing with thoughts and discussions. A fantastic show.

Pictures from the archive of shows I have directed – Sing Yer Heart Out For The Lads

11 Jun

This toured nationally from September 2006 through to March 2007 with a cast of 14 actors. It was a great cast with Peter Bankole, Claude Close, Andrew Falvey, Chad Gomez, Darren Hart, Neville Hutton, Suzann McLean, Charles Mnene, Mark Monero, Mikey North, Sally Orrock, Tom Sawyer, Tim Treloar, Deka Walmsley.

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Darren Hart, Mikey North and Charles Mnene

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Andrew Falvey, Tom Sawyer, Chad Gomez, Neville Hutton with Peter Bankole as Barry

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Peter Bankole as Barry

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Tim Treloar, Andrew Falvey, Peter Bankole

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Claude Close and Sally Orrock

Creative Team

Director Marcus Romer

Writer  Roy Williams

Design Emma Donovan

Music Sandy Nuttgens and Sweetie Irie

Lighting James Farncombe

Fight Direction Richard Ryan

Photographer  Karl Andre

Trailer

 

Reviews 

‘Marcus Romer’s production seems to have everything: pace, precision, power. The result is sensational’

The Guardian ****

“Resonant and timely”
The Stage ****

 

 

 

 

Pictures from the archive of shows I have directed – Romeo & Juliet

10 Jun

This was a national tour that ran for 6 months between September 2010 and March 2011. Opening at York Theatre Royal and with a three week run at the Unicorn in London.

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Directed by Marcus Romer with Katie Posner

Design by Chloe Lamford

Lighting by Richard Howell

Music by Sandy Nuttgens

Associate Director Katie Posner

Photographer  Karl Andre

Cast

Rachel Spicer as Juliet, Oliver Alvin-Wilson as Romeo, Mary Rose as Lady Capulet, William Travis as Capulet, Chris Lindon as Mercutio, Richard James-Neale as Tybalt, Bryn Holding as Benvolio, Louisa Eyo as Nurse and Prince.

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Rachel Spicer as Juliet, Oliver Alvin-Wilson as Romeo

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Rachel Spicer as Juliet, Oliver Alvin-Wilson as Romeo

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The cast on the flower filled set

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Oliver Alvin-Wilson and Louisa Eyo

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Rachel Spicer as Juliet, Oliver Alvin-Wilson as Romeo

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Louisa Eyo as The Prince

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Rachel Spicer as Juliet, Oliver Alvin-Wilson as Romeo

Trailer from the show

 

Quotes

“Much like Baz Luhrmann’s 1996 film version, this is an ultramodern Romeo & Juliet, but theatrical rather than cinematic. Out go Pilot’s trademark multi-media flourishes; in comes traditional, flesh-and-blood, physical theatre strengths, allied to Sandy Nuttgens’s always appropriate music.”

York Press

“This is a stylish take on Shakespeare’s ever-popular tragedy. Pilot Theatre’s reputation for productions easy on-the-eye has been well-earned and they don’t disappoint with Romeo and Juliet.”

Yorkshire Post

“As a company dedicated to reinterpreting classic work for young people, Pilot can be depended upon to apply a fresh perspective.”

The Guardian

Pictures from the archive of shows I have directed or produced. Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner

9 Jun

This show was from 2012 and the cast and creative team list is below. Adapted by Roy Williams this was a national tour from September to December 2012. It had an amazing cast and introduced Elliot Barnes-Worrell in his debut role. It was also a stage debut for Jack McMullen – who joined the cast just after we had finished filming The K fir That Killed Me. The design incorporated a 5 metre long running track which could move in both directions. During each performance Elliot would run over 5 Kilometres.

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Elliot Barnes-Worrell as Colin Smith

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Jack McMullen, Alix Ross, Savannah Gordon-Liburd, Elliot Barnes-Worrell

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Elliot Barnes-Worrell, Doreene Blackstock and Richard Pepple

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Elliot Barnes.-Worrell, Curtis Cole and Sean Sagar

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Elliot Barnes-Worrell and Jack McMullen

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The set and one of the projection states.

 

The trailer video

QUOTES & REVIEWS

“…this is a brainy as well as a brawny performance, as far removed from Tom Courtenay’s in the 1962 film as one could conceive – we’re hearing here from the voice of alienated black London youth – yet imbued with the qualities that made Courtenay’s troublemaker so sympathetic: surly defiance, sly humour and much below-the-surface vulnerability.”

The Telegraph

“Flawlessly directed by Marcus Romer and stylishly designed by Lydia Denno, the discussions this show will provoke will run and run.”

The Observer

“Certain performances are destined for a long run, though few are likely to run quite this far. At the heart of this Pilot Theatre production, Elliot Barnes-Worrell not only puts in an aggressively charismatic performance as Alan Sillitoe’s antisocial athlete, he spends much of the evening pounding away on a treadmill. A conservative estimate is that he covers around 4km per show.”

Alfred Hickling – The Guardian

The Independent Review

“Roy Williams’s remarkable updated adaptation of Alan Sillitoe’s The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner at Nottingham Playhouse is full of nuanced politics.”

The Telegraph

 

CAST

Elliot Barnes-Worrell as Colin Smith

Doreene Blackstock as Mum

Curtis Cole as Luke/PC

Dominic Gately as Stevens

Savannah Gordon-Liburd as Kenisha

Jack McMullen as Jase

Richard Pepple as Dad/Trevor

Alix Ross as Sandra/Guard

Sean Sagar as Asher/PC/Guard

Luke James as Gunthorpe and Company ASM

 

 

CREATIVE TEAM

From the novel by Alan Stilltoe

Adapted for the stage by Roy Williams

Directed by Marcus Romer

Designed by Lydia Denno

Lighting Designed by Mark Beasley

AV Design by Lydia Denno & Mark Beasley

Soundscape by Sandy Nuttgens

Staff Director – Tom Bellerby

Photographer  Karl Andre

 

Pictures from the archive of shows I have directed or produced. #Antigone

8 Jun

This is part of a series of photographs from shows I have directed or produced over the years.

This is a striking image from the rehearsal room where I was directing Antigone – a new adaptation by Roy Williams. This was a coproduction with Derby Theatre and Theatre Royal Stratford East with Pilot Theatre.

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It shows Sean Sagar, and Lloyd Thomas at the back as the soldiers with Oliver Alvin-Wilson and Savannah Gordon-Liburd at the front As the Lieutenant and Antigone as they confront her uncle Creo’ played by Mark Monero.

Later in the production shots you can see Creo’ and Antigone in an uncle and niece standoff.

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And later when Antigone is with Eamonn played by Gamba Cole before they make their final decision.

 

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This show toured the UK between September 2014 – March 2015.

Directed by Marcus Romer / Designed by Joanna Scotcher / Music by Sandy Nuttgens

Cast also include Doreen Blackstock, Freida Thiel, Luke James.

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Doreene Blackstock as Eunice and Savannah Gordon-Liburd as Antigone.

Photos by Robert Day

The trailer

 

QUOTES & REVIEWS

“a brilliant example of exciting and electrifying theatre truly connecting with a modern day audience. “

The Big Issue

Read Full Review

My reply from Lucy Frazer MP to my letter about Dominic Cummings

1 Jun

A ‘standard response’ ?It has the same typo in the first sentence on all the others she sent too…

Dear Marcus

Thank you for contacting me regarding Dominic Cummings. I appreciate you taking the time to contact to me.

I have received a very large number of emails about this matter, and it has not been possible to respond to each of them individually and I am sorry that this is a standard response.
I am sorry to hear of the difficulties that you have experienced in adhering to the Government guidance. I know that the measures that the Government have implemented to tackle coronavirus have made ordinary life extremely difficult for many individuals, and huge sacrifices have been made in order to be able to follow them.  Some people have lost their loved ones, and others have been unable to see their family for some time.

As you will be aware Mr Cummings gave a detailed account of his actions, and answered questions from the press. Having listened to his statement on Monday, it seems that his actions were motivated by a desire to protect and safeguard his son and his family in difficult and uncertain circumstances.  I appreciate that many people are disappointed with his actions.  I should say that some constituents have written to me to say that they understand his actions and wish for him to stay in his role as an advisor to the Prime Minister.

 

Over the past few months, I have seen our country and our communities come together through generous acts of volunteering and kindness. This has been especially true in our area. I know that there is a lot of concern and anger at the actions of Mr Cummings, but I hope that this united community spirit will continue, as officials across the country implement measures that will keep us all safer as we tackle this virus together.  As a government, we need to focus our attention on fighting the virus, getting the economy back on track and supporting the vulnerable.  We have come a long way in this journey and our full attention needs to be on the next stage.

 

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Lucy Frazer QC MP
MP for South East Cambridgeshire

www.lucyfrazer.org.uk

www.facebook.com/FrazerLucy

Telling the stories of the Coronavirus pandemic with #Covid19Threads

12 May

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Covid-19 threads is a series of short films derived from twitter threads that have appeared during the Covid-19 pandemic. These shorts are designed to sit back in the same social media space that the authors originally located them in.

As part of Mutiny, our new company, Simon Poulter, Sophie Mellor and I have been working on making these over the last few weeks.

Covid 19 Threads.

The first film is by Dr Arnav Agarwal and is voiced up by British actor Oliver Alvin Wilson. Dr Agarwal movingly describes his experience of looking after a man suffering from Covid-19 and the act of bringing his family in to say final goodbyes over an iPad.

The second film is based on the experience of Drew Penkala and is voiced up by British actor Raphael Sowole. Poignantly, in the film, the main character faces up to the fact that following his Grandpa’s death he will not be able to attend the funeral and will be forced to watch via a live stream link.

The third Covid-19 Threads film is written by Dominic Minghella, emotionally poised between his own survival from the virus and the death of someone close to his neighbour. Voiced by Alan Mehdizadeh

In episode 4, nurse Amelia Hennegan describes her sad experience of holding the hand of a dying man at the height of the pandemic (April 2020). Her frustration bursts out from the tweet as she asks people to ‘stay the fuck home’, as the lockdown starts to fray. Voiced by Claire Lacey.

Many people have been unable to visit or see their loved ones during the Covid-19 pandemic. In the fifth film in the Covid-19 Threads series, a man’s mum is in her last moments of life at Doncaster Royal Infirmary. A health care assistant, just known to him as Julie, holds her hand as she passes over. A sad and true story from the UK 2020 lockdown. This episode of Covid-19 Threads is voiced by Natalie Gavin. Words by Glenn Mitchell.

In the sixth film of this series, one of the saddest stories of the pandemic is told via a tweet by Francina Hyatt. Both of her parents died during the pandemic and she expresses the pain of that experience, not being able to hug or console her family members. The story is voiced up by Liverpool based actor Keddy Sutton. Our thanks to Francina for her permission to use her words. The film charts the period from 1945 to 2020, the course of the lives of her parents.

We are deeply grateful to the original twitter authors who have given us permission to use their material and to the actors who have come forward to voice them up. Covid-19 Threads has been remotely produced by Mutiny during lockdown. We would also like to thank Sandy Nuttgens for post-production sound. The entire project has been made on goodwill and the conviction that these stories need to be recorded and shared. All work on Covid-19 Threads has been voluntary.

Mutiny was born in 2019, formed by Sophie Mellor, Marcus Romer and Simon Poulter. The new company has the simple aim of bringing fresh performative art and theatre works to new audiences using whatever medium or combination of media it takes. We are accepting new commissions working from our UK base, comprising of the Mutiny HQ in London, Mutiny Corner Studios in Plymouth and Mutiny Shed in Cambridge.

If you have a story then please get in contact at info@mutiny.org.uk

Follow on twitter at @MutinyProjects and #Covid19Threads

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Marcus Romer is delivering one-to one online courses for Arts Practitioners, Actors, Directors and Arts Organisations

1 May

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Marcus Romer

Artistic Director / Theatre  / Film / Digital 

New one-to one courses for Arts Practitioners, Actors, Directors and Arts Organisations

I am an award winning director and theatre maker who has led Arts Council funded National organisations for over 25 years. I have a specialism in creating and directing new work in theatre and film, with additional skills in digital capture and live-streaming of productions. I am offering one to one sessions online for actors, directors and arts organisations across the UK. These include:-

Audition and Monologue preparation and rehearsal. These could be for drama school entry, self taping, showreels,  or ongoing acting training.

Presenting and acting for camera skills

Script reading and dramaturgical advice on pieces of new writing.

Application advice and one to one support for arts funding and job submissions 

Live to Digital practical skills and training – including live-streaming and online platform creative work delivery.

Digital strategy – planning and delivery

Business Plans and strategic planning for arts organisations.

Marcus was Artistic Director of Pilot Theatre,  Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds and Associate Artist for Theatre Royal Stratford East and Harrogate Theatre and National Theatre, Wales. He wrote and co-directed The Knife That Killed Me for Universal Pictures. He has directed shows that have opened and played in more than 30 theatres across the UK. He has developed digital strategies for Manchester Royal Exchange, Chichester Festival Theatre, Theatre Royal Stratford East, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Kettle’s Yard, Home, Manchester. He has taught and directed at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School

All one to one courses are bespoke for each person or organisation. With concessionary rates for students and early career artists and a sliding scale for funded organisations.

Please drop me a line at marcusromeruk@gmail.com for an initial chat

 

marcusromer.com

Call for Key worker testimonies and stories #Covid19

19 Apr

0304_n13_covid_19_coronavirus_graphic_generic_fileAre you a key worker? Are you working in the health and care system?  Have you been told you can’t share your stories on social media? We want to hear from you. We want to hear your stories. We want to hear your experiences.

So stories about triage, DNR, lack PPE, requests to work in gowns for multiple patients, the video calls to relatives, how you get through your day.

But also the recovery stories, those about the human spirit, kindness, love and empathy.

It is important for all of us that we can learn from you and document this time, these stories and your experiences.

We don’t want the stories and you to go unheard…

We would like to be able to share these at the right time with your permission – but for now we would just like to hear from you.

You can DM me on twitter at @marcusromer or send me an email to Marcusromeruk@gmail.com