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Pictures of the year 2021

31 Dec

In no particular order these things were some of the things that happened during 2021…

Harstad Hidden Stories – the stories start to unfold…

6 Nov

Photos by Ruben Moen

I am really proud of the theatre, film and music students who made this piece with me and the rest of the team from Harstad Folkehøgskole this autumn. It was devised following research of the true events of the history of Harstad in Norway. We follow the story of Gregor one of the Russian prisoners of war held in the Trondenes camp. We find out how his journal made its way to his daughter and subsequently to his great grand-daughter who is a refugee from Syria, who has recently arrived in the town. Through a series of interconnected monologues written by the students, we connect their history of the town into a map of the locations and stories.

Thanks to Hege Fjeld, Harald Markussen, Ruben Moen and all the students. The full credits are beneath the map below.

These is told as a video diary of the 10 characters involved in the hidden stories and place on the locations where the events happened on a map below

The Harstad Hidden Stories project map – made by students of Harstad Folkehogskole with Marcus Romer, Hege Fjeld and Harald Markussen. Follow the stories of 10 characters who are connected through time, location that are based on the true stories of the area.  

It follows the events between 1943 to present day. Connecting the stories of the Trondenes camps and their prisoners of war through a linking narrative to the contemporary residents of the Harstad Folk High School in 2021.

The stories are all available to view as videos on this google map in the locations where they happened. You can also watch them on Youtube.

The full credits for the project are below.

Check out all the stories:


Theatre and Film, Harstad Folkehøgskole

Music Live Studio, Harstad Folkehøgskole

Producer and Director: Marcus Romer

Co-producer, Project: Hege Fjeld 
Co-producer, Sound: Harald Markussen

Co-producer, Technical/Editing: Ruben Moen 

Technical Crew: Oskar Kirkbride, Mie Elind and Kathrine Sollien

Text: Devised by the actors 
Music: Devised by the musicians


Hans: Daniel Hylland
Sandra: Mie Elind
Anlaug: Kathrine Sollien
Lise: Nathalie Olsen

Svetlana: Maria Milde
Gregor: Oskar Kirkbride
Nikolai: Daniel Amundsen
Aleksandra: Erin Heiberg
Elinor: Hannah Hoven

Cora: Alaa Naimei


Jonas Lyng-jørgensen
Steve Johansen
Ben Arne Berntsen

Yvon Ingebjørg Norheim

Helene Smeland
Elise Sofie Buchhave
Kasper Andreas Lundeng 
Bjørn Sverre Henriksen
Sander Theo Wedberg

Thank you to Trondenes Historical Center and teachers/students at Harstad Folkehøgskole.

Harstad Hidden Stories

30 Oct

This is the piece I am currently making here in Harstad, Norway. Working with the students of the Harstad FHS and their director Hege Fjeld, we are piecing together the hidden stories of Harstad and the history of Trondenes. This spans the timeline from 1942 to 2021.

We are creating the characters and their stories from our research of the history of the location. We will film these monologues and they will be embedded on the storyline map above and audiences will be able to access these via mobile phone on a walk following the map and the locations of the stories.

This series of character monologues will reveal the connections between Gregor, a Russian prisoner of war in the Trondenes camp in 1943, his daughter Svetlana, a writer in Moscow, and her granddaughter, Cora who has recently arrived in Norway as a refugee.

Hans, a German guard stationed here during the second world war, and his two daughters, Anlaug and Liese and their connection to Gregor’s diary handed to Anlaug’s mother, Sandra after Hans left the camp.

Nikolai who worked in the camp as one of the cooks, looked after Gregor in his dying hours and passed his diary to Sandra. His daughter Alexandra was born in Harstad when he met his wife who was a refugee from Finnmark.

Alexandra’s granndaughter Elinor and Svetlana’s granddaughter Cora meet at the Folk High School in Harstad. Here they uncover the Harstad Hidden Stories. Cora discovers her great grandfather Gregor’s story with his diary – and the two women share their connections about refugees and how the young people who once lived their lives here looked across the same sea, at the same landscape and same Northern Lights – but all with a strong and moving set of stories to share…

The ‘Our Town’ cast and team from Sheringham Little Theatre’s production.

14 Aug

Here are the brilliant team who created Our Town this July and August in Sheringham. 23 actors, 2 technicians, 1 stage manager, admin staff, directors, costume designers and makers, volunteers, cafe staff – a creative team making a very special show here in Sheringham at the Little Theatre. It was a pleasure and a privilege to work on this piece.

This was the perfect piece to open the theatre after months of lockdown. This Pulitzer prize winning play was adapted to North Norfolk and Grover’s Corners became Sheringham. The community cast from the town working alongside the professional team was a real joy to witness. The entire team was from East Anglia and all the cast from Norfolk and Suffolk. This meant a real connection to the work as well as the town and also the opportunity to create and make a new piece together that highlighted what it means to be alive. How we have to make the most of each and every moment of our lives. The making of this play was filled with such moments as the cast and team came together to make something truly special for, by and with the people of Sheringham.

Photos by Mark Benfield. Megan Artherton and Marcus Romer

‘Our Town’ by Thornton Wilder – opening at @SheringhamLT this August – directed by @marcusromer

1 Jul

Our Town is a Sheringham reworking of a classic play, written in the 1930s by Thornton Wilder, winning him an internationally-acclaimed Pulitzer Prize and was later staged on Broadway and had a televised film version starring Paul Newman.  It focused on the cranky characters of Grovers Corners in America between 1901 and 1913.

Now it is being given a home town setting by Sheringham Little Theatre – where we are re-locating Grovers Corners to North Norfolk – It is a story of life, love and all the millions of moments that make up a lifetime. It follows the stories of two families and their friends and people of the town and how they cope with the ups and downs of their every day lives. It is a heartwarming and really touching play that will connect with audiences today.

I am looking forward to working with the combined cast of professional performers and members of the community cast. It will be a real privilege to work together and share this story for our audiences, and to celebrate what it means to be part of a community coming together after the periods of lockdown we have all been through.

It will run from August 7th – 14th and we are starting community rehearsals this Saturday July 3rd.

Tickets and information can be found at the box office – details here

Making a new #theatre production of #TWO using a zoom rehearsal process and a shorter rehearsal time in the theatre.

28 Jun
Howard Saddler and Joyce Branagh as Fred and Alice in Two – photo by Mark Benfield

I have just directed a new version of Jim Cartwright’s play, TWO with two brilliant actors – Joyce Branagh and Howard Saddler. This was produced by St George’s Theatre using their Cultural Recovery Fund money. We teched, dressed and opened the show at St George’s Theatre – and then moved the show to run at Sheringham at the Little Theatre who again supported the project.

Howard Saddler and Joyce Branagh as Landlord and Landlady in TWO photo by Mark Benfield

Like ‘Ghosted’ the previous project I made with the same production team, I rehearsed for a month with the cast on zoom prior to us getting together in the actual theatre. This worked well for the monologues and for the work on character development – and enabled the actors to ‘get off book’ and know their lines prior to us meeting in person.

Howard Saddler and Joyce Branagh as Roy and Lesley – photo by Mark Benfield

We had a three day rehearsal time prior to a technical and dress rehearsal day. This is of course a really short amount of time in which to get the show on its feet. It is a testament to the skill and expertise of the actors to enable us to make this deadline – which we did and opened the show the following day as per the schedule. The fact that the actors were ‘off book’ meant we could work fast and build the interaction scenes between the characters. A bit like being on a film set and working each scene in detail. This of course meant all the mimed props and ‘geography’ of each scene needed meticulous planning and rehearsal to cement the text and character into the environments for each of these sections. This takes time and focus – and again thanks to the skill of Joyce and Howard we were able to block these out and work through them in the time.

Joyce Branagh and Howard Saddler as Maudie and Moth – photo by Mark Benfield

I had chosen to play the piece in a socially distanced ‘cabaret’ style using the actual theatre bar. So the audience would be in the pub with the actors and their characters. This worked incredibly well and the interaction between the cast and the audience was a real treat to observe.

The tech rehearsal at St George’s Theatre using the bar and the cabaret style set up. Katie Thompson Assistant Director and Joyce Branagh photo by Marcus Romer.

The planning of the production dated back to January this year when we knew we may or may not have been able to be fully open by the proposed June 21st date. This of course impacted on audience capacity for us as the social distancing rules were still in force. But we had not know this during our rehearsal time in April and May on our zoom schedule so we had to prepare the show regardless. So again in Sheringham the decision was made to move it to the theatre space to allow us to socially distance an audience capacity of 25%. This has been really hard on venues as clearly all our pre-production costs were the same to get the show ready for our June opening time. The show was really well received and played to capacity audiences at each venue.

It is again a big thanks to Theatre Director, Debbie Thompson who runs both venues in Norfolk, to support us as freelance theatre makers during this time. A big thanks also to the actors Joyce Branagh and Howard Saddler, the crew and tech team of Mark Benfield, Chris Sainton-Clark, Katie Thompson and the costumes by Libby Henshaw, and all the FOH team and volunteers at both venues.

So here are the photos from the production taken by Mark Benfield

Making #Ghosted come to life – a new #theatre #headphone show for Great Yarmouth and Sheringham

20 Jun
The cast of Ghosted – photo by Mark Benfield

Ghosted is a new play that James McDermott and I developed during lockdown, which we premiered in June 2021 on the seafronts of Great Yarmouth and Sheringham.

James and I had been working across a number of theatre projects and commissions over the last few years and we started a conversation back in October 2020 where I discussed wanting to make a ‘headphone’ show outdoors by the sea and to explore the idea of multi episode ‘Box set’ theatre project and James had been talking about creating a coastal version of ‘Skins’ so both of those ideas came to fruition as an idea for ‘Ghosted’ The piece was designed to be three episodes, and for this project we would create episode one.

We were able to devise the story outline together – where a group of young people living in Norfolk are drawn together when one of their friendship group – Ash – disappears. His discard clothes left on the beach at Sheringham. A series of WhatsApp audio messages were sent to certain individuals that contained information about what might have happened to him. So their search for the truth starts there.

We approached Theatre Director Debbie Thompson who runs both theatres in Sheringham (SLT) and Great Yarmouth (St George’s) who was really encouraging and supportive to the idea and agreed to fund the R&D for the project and to programme it for both theatres in 2021 (with thanks to the Culture Recovery Fund). So James set to work on writing the text and he and I worked together as his drafts came through to hone the characters and the storyline.

This gave us a great focus during the winter months, and provided us both with work and a new creative project to work on. As freelancers this was really important for us both at that time. The script was finalised at the end of January and we cast the show in February. All our meetings of course were on zoom. We cast the show on zoom again after meeting an amazing array of talented young actors from across East Anglia.

Our plan was to rehearse the play on zoom too. Again to use a film analogy, the actors would work on their characters with me as director, and we would then rehearse the scenes via zoom together, they would then learn their lines and be off book for the time we could rehearse in the outdoor locations. I built the route for the piece in each location and we had photos of the set areas in which the scenes would take place. The style of acting was filmic in terms of the characters having quiet conversations with each other. The actors would be close mic’ed and their conversations would be audible in the sound mix for the audience.

The map and locations are here

For the audience we used the silent disco headphone technology that allow multiple channel audio feeds – these have an inbuilt Radio Frequency receiver that picks up the audio from the transmitting base station. The audio feed from the actors was mixed with a soundtrack which included voice messages, music and sound effects to build an immersive audio environment for the audience. The reach of the headphones meant that the actors could be up to 50 meters from the audience – allowing a cinematic landscape background to be incorporated into the piece.

The audience in great Yarmouth watching Adam and Jake on the beach for the memorial for Ash
The audience in Sheringham watching Adam and Chloe discover Ash’s voicemail

The audience moved from location to location with us as we followed the cast on their journey. Working with our Tech manager Mark Benfield who built a trolley which had a lithium ion generator that enabled us to power the transmitter, the microphone base stations, the sound mixing desk, and the computer which ran Qlab for the sound scape. This was all able to move from space to space – ensuring the audience were always in full audio connection throughout.

The zoom rehearsal process enabled us to work through all the text and prepare the cast to meet in person for the first time. So not dissimilar to arriving on a film set or location and being prepped to do your scene, knowing your lines and intentions – and as a real consequence of this – being in the moment and being able to interact and react with each other for the first time made for a really strong and heightened set of naturalistic scenes. There was no need for projecting for an audience. In fact the strength of the piece lay in the ability of the cast to play the scenes for real with each other.

Rehearsal on zoom with all the team

The piece played across the seafront of both towns in June 2021. This was episode 1. James has already completed the scripting for the final two instalments – he works very fast! – and we are in the process of seeing how we can move these forward with some new funding.

Ghosted was incredibly well received and audiences really engaged with the characters and the story. The technology all held up brilliantly without any hitches. We performed in brilliant sunshine for some of the shows and a torrential downpour for one memorable one too! Again this added to the atmosphere and the crashing waves and sheeting rain did not put people off at all.

Fish and Chloe in Sheringham prom for scene 7
The same scene – but in Great Yarmouth

Again the naturalistic opportunities of this work really enable the actors to work at their best. To really focus on the scene and the text – the audience move to a point where they can see them – again keeping a distance and allowing them to ‘eavesdrop’ on the characters conversation.

It also does not disrupt or draw attention to passers by. In fact many people just passed by as if two people were just having a quiet chat on a bench. That is the beauty of this way of working.

So a big thank you to James McDermott for his skill, patience and energy in making this happen with me. Debbie Thompson for the support and funding to enable us to make work with 7 very talented local actors. Mark Benfield for the tech wizardry and Chris for opping the Qlab on the trolley too!

But of course – big thanks to the cast – Ashton Owen, Amy English, Megan Artherton, Megan Sharman, Charlie Randall, Olly Westlake and Sam Thompson.

The cast of Ghosted – episode 1
The cast and team pre-show at Great Yarmouth

Old photos found on a memory stick…

1 May

Today I found these photos on a an old memory stick in an drawer – On it were these press pack images from previous shows I directed – photos by Karl Andre

Eliot Barnes-Worrell and the cast in The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner adapted by Roy Williams 2012
Eliot Barnes-Worrell and Savannah Gordon-Liburd in The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner 2012
Oliver Alvin-Wilson as Romeo and Louisa Eyo as Nurse – Romeo and Juliet 2010-2011
Rachel Spicer as Juliet – Romeo and Juliet 2010-2011
Christina Baily as JJ and Suzann McLean as her social worker Davood Ghadami and Melanie Ash – Looking for JJ 2007-2008 adapted by Marcus Romer – this show won the UK Theatre / TMA best production for young people

A new way of making a theatre show – blending a Zoom rehearsal process with an outdoor Bluetooth headphone adventure #Ghosted

28 Apr

Amy English as ‘Flo’ and Sam Thompson as ‘Jet’ in the zoom rehearsal for ‘Ghosted’

There is a lot of talk about hybrid working and making blended projects – ones that are created using a mixture of online technologies and in person meetings. Last year I helped to make War of the Worlds in Norway entirely on Zoom. This year as part of the Cultural Recovery funding for St George’s Theatre, Great Yarmouth we are making a brand new piece of work as an R&D that we are rehearsing on Zoom but will be showcased live across various locations in Great Yarmouth and Sheringham in June this year.

‘Ghosted’ is a new commission from James McDermott that I have been working on and directing the cast of 7 young actors from Norfolk on this new performance piece. The audience will be able to eavesdrop, using bluetooth headphone technology, on a series of encounters of the characters who are trying to piece together the unexpected disappearance of ‘Ash’ one of their friendship group. A series of voicemails and text messages are shared between the group as well as live ‘in person’ scenes are played out as the story unfolds.

This will enable a socially distanced performance in a series of public spaces along the promenade and seafront of both of the towns. We are developing the technology to enable the bluetooth headphones to pick up the conversations blended with soundtrack as we follow the cast along the route of the play.

UPDATE Read here to see how well the show went

The actors and audience will be socially distanced and the technology will allow an intimate audio and performance experience with the backdrop of the Norfolk coast as a new piece of ‘Promenade Theatre’ unfolds. This R&D has been enabled by ACE cultural recovery funding and the support of St George’s Theatre and Sheringham Little Theatre and their Director Debbie Thompson who have supported this freelance team during the pandemic.

Tickets for Great Yarmouth

Tickets for Sheringham

Explore the scene locations on the map below

The full cast and James McDermott in rehearsal 

With Megan Sharman as ‘Fish’, Megan Artherton as ‘Chloe, Oliver Westlake as ‘Jake’, Ashton Owen as ‘Adam’ Sam Thompson as ‘Jet’ and Charlie Randall as ‘Ash’

Back in the studio again…

25 Mar

For our current Mutiny Projects commission we are making three new pieces of work for the Future and Form project – part of celebrating 50 years of creative writing at UEA. We are developing projects with three amazing writers – Ayobami Adebayo, Mona Arshi and Imogen Hermes Gowar.

For our piece with Ayobami we are making a new film and live performance piece “Provenance” that will premiere at the Norfolk and Norwich Festival in May this year.

So it was great to be back in the studio again making the film for the project. We shot at Riverside Studios in London and had a Covid secure set up – Lateral Flow tests, Face masks, visors and socially distanced shot set ups. We shot with two cameras a series of single shots – as the presentation will ultimately be on three 50 inch screens that will range from one full image to three separate images. Our crew had Andy Delaney as Director of Photography, Graham Tobias on sound and Rich With as Gaffer. I worked as Director and it was great to work with Suzann McLean again as first AD. We had Evie Nuttgens as 3rd AD and Clapper loader. Our design and props were brilliantly made by Alana Ashley and make up hair and styling was by Remi Oyenekan.

Our actors were brilliant and gave great performances for us with our set up. They were Jumoké Fashola as Lydia Jimoh, Golda John as Iya Agba, Diana Yekinni as Adesuwa, Oliver Alvin Wilson as Jide and Suzann McLean as the Nurse. For the live performance Marva Alexander will join us in May and she will play Kehinde.

Below are some screen grabs from the edit that Sophie Mellor is delivering and some photos taken by me during the shoot.

As a team Mutiny Projects will be delivering this and the other two projects as part of our commission for Future and Form