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Micro Library

6 Feb

The use of the micro library as an art documentary storyboard in pictures

Casting Opportunity – for a new theatre production #Ghosted by James McDermott directed by Marcus Romer

5 Feb

A new production for St George’s Theatre and Sheringham Little Theatre spring/summer 2021

Ghosted 

Instalment One

A Promenade Play

by James McDermott

Directed by Marcus Romer

Characters

Adam eighteen, male identifying       – bisexual, worrier, works in the arcade

Jake eighteen, male identifying          – gay, a scally, works in a cafe

Chloe eighteen, female identifying    – strong, sassy, works in a pub

Fish eighteen, female identifying       – questioning, perceptive, cheeky, works in a fish shop 

Jet eighteen, male identifying             – secretive, aspiring footballer

Flo sixteen, female identifying           – naive dreamer, still at school

Ash (in video & audio only) 18, male identifying – rebel, smart, middle class

Setting

The action in this play unfolds along a Norfolk seaside promenade. The promenades will be in Sheringham and Great Yarmouth. The story explores the efforts of six very different teenage friends, after their pal Ash disappears and his clothes are washed up on the beach. It delves into their characters, romances, and secrets which could explain Ash’s absence.

This is the first play in a series of plays that tell a large serialised story. It is the pilot episode for the potential series from an original idea by James McDermott and Marcus Romer.

Dates 

Submissions by                       18th February

Casting via Zoom w/c             22nd February

Rehearsals from                      1st March (via zoom)

Performances from April      Times tbc dependent on national guidance               

Casting 

We are looking for actors who ideally are either from, based in or have a connection to East Anglia. They must me able to have excellent Norfolk accents. Playing ages for all roles are 18 with the exception of the character of Flo who has a playing age of 16. We are looking for a strong diverse cast for this new performance piece which takes its inspiration as a rural and coastal version of ‘Skins’

Notes

For a COVID secure production, the actors would all wear head-mics and the audience wear Bluetooth receiving headsets enabling them to stand at a safe distance from the cast and each other. 

Rehearsals will take place on Zoom in March in preparation for the intended performance when times allow.

Please submit spotlight links or photo and cv to marcusromeruk@gmail.com

Please mark the email ‘Ghosted’ Casting.

Keeping going – making creative projects happen – the Mutiny way

31 Jan

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This last 12 months has been tough for everyone. Keeping going has been the main thing for us all. Surviving and keeping yourself and family as safe as you can has been the main focus. It’s been tough. We all know people who have been affected by this disease, either losing a loved one or battling against the ravages of the virus. We have all had to develop a new resilience. We have had to do things in different ways. We have had to be creative in our ways of thinking and turn our our hands to new skills or re learn old ways of doing things.

We are creative beings by nature and we are discovering how to navigate this new space. I have been so grateful to have been able to keep a connection with new work and get support from my colleagues at Mutiny. We set the company back in November 2019 as a new arts organisation, little knowing how the world was about to change. So Simon Poulter, Sophie Mellor and myself met up last February in to launch our R&D process for our new project at Watershed in Bristol. We spent a great week together working up ideas for an online interactive piece of work. Then the pandemic struck, one of our colleagues was unable to travel from Italy, we moved the work online and returned to our respective bases of Cambridge, London and Plymouth. We haven’t met in person or been in the same physical room now for nearly 12 months.

Yet in that time we have kept ourselves going by making creative work happen. We have pulled together ideas and projects, sometimes on zero budget, sometimes as a new commission or two, or by tendering for new work. As a new organisation we were not eligible for any of the Cultural Recovery Funding, so we had to keep on making and producing our own work during this time.

We have worked with amazing writers to create new work for Mutiny – we have commissioned Inua Ellams (The Barber Shop Chronicles and the Three Sisters, National Theatre) Roy Williams (Death of England, Sing yer Heart out for the lads, Days of Significance, National Theatre and RSC) to create new pieces for us. Inua wrote Landrovers vs Minis for us and Roy developed a new piece for Locus Solus.

The team of mutineers who have worked with us during this period are amazing.

We have made 16 new short films since last March, these have included all ur #Covid19Threads pieces using original tweets from the pandemic, voicing them with actors and creating new drawings and animation for them. The most recent was this week when we shared the story that Lily Whiting posted.

This moving true story was voiced by actor Amy Johnson. The rest of the series of #Covid19Threads can be found on the Mutiny website.

The creative work we have made has ranged from #Covid19Threads through to a new series of animated poems created by young people under the guidance of writer James McDermott for Norfolk and Norwich Festival as part of their Common Ground project. For Flip the Museum we worked with the museum of Lowestoft and were able to develop a series of new works based on the objects in the museum and locate these in the gardens of the museum. Here is the poem about the Benjamin Britten commemorative 50p piece.

We are currently working with three writers, Mona Arshi, Ayobami Adebayo and Imogen Hermes Gowar as part of the Future and Form project for UEA. This is to celebrate 50 years of the creative writing faculty of the University and is also funded by Arts Council England. This project will culminate in new works in May this year which will include the integration of Film, Augmented Reality, Sound poetry and interactivty available on site and online.

This amazing picture of Mona Arshi was taken by Matthew Usher on our research trip to Cley Marshes in Norfolk last September.

We are going to continue to develop our interactive game world project Locus Solus – based on the novel by Raymond Roussel. This had great support from Arts Council England and Watershed last year and we will be developing this concept as we move through 2021. You can get a sense of the project here with the video we made of the R&D which also included the actors Suzann McLean, Oliver Alvin Wilson and Simon Munnery

As a final video this is Land Rovers vs Minis written by Inua Ellams.

Landrovers Vs. Minis was commissioned by MKIAC – Milton Keynes Islamic Arts, Heritage and Culture – and features a new original script by playwright and poet Inua Ellams, with actors Cherrelle SkeeteFaisal Dacosta, Umera Fatima, Mia Nuttgens and Sam Thompson. Music by Sandy Nuttgens.

“Dee makes a Whatsapp Group adding Kay, Ishy, Emm and Hilz. Dee changes the group subject to: “Friday Protest” then, “Protest”, then “Resist”, then “Bun Babylon” then “Bun Babylon For Life” then “BBFL”. Dee makes the group icon a middle finger and begins typing…”

So keeping busy, keeping creative and making new projects happen is definitely the Mutiny way. It has sustained us and kept us focused and connected. Even though we are hundreds of miles apart this is our new way of working. Mutiny is Simon Pouter, Sophie Mellor and Marcus Romer three people remote and connected, with a team of mutineers working with us. We are looking forward to working with more mutineers in 2021.

Check out the Mutiny site for more details and contact details.

Creating a UNESCO City of Media Arts for York.

29 Nov

I found the launch video we made for #York as part of the @CityofMediaArts bid to become a @UNESCO City of Media Arts. It helped us to develop idea for the @YorkMediale back in 2014/15.

The bid succeeded and it worked.

York became the first Unesco Creative City for Media Arts in the UK

#ShiftHappened

‘eating a meal shoes’

1 Nov

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My dad, who died almost 10 years ago now, left – as one of his legacies – the term ‘eating a meal shoes’

It stemmed from when we were round at my brother’s house for a family Sunday lunch. The whole family were there, it may have been an Easter Sunday but it was a long time ago and I can’t be sure. That information has all but faded – But what remains and what we all remember is that this was where we first heard the words ‘eating a meal shoes’

It was Christy, my son who was about 9 or 10 at the time, who was football mad and was kicking a ball outside up and down the grass. He shouted across to us through the window

“Come on Grandpa, why don’t you come and play?”

At this my dad called back

“Don’t be daft, I can’t – I’m wearing my eating a meal shoes”

At this Christy burst out laughing and shouted back

“What kind of shoes are those then?”

Indignantly my dad responded

“Shoes you eat a meal in – what do you think?”

At this point we of course had to look at the aforementioned footwear. A rather unflattering pair of white leather tasselled slip ons. He always wore ‘slip ons’ again a term which also caused much mirth.

And so it was – that the concept of ‘eating a meal shoes’ was born. We still refer to shoes in this way – always with a tongue pressed firmly in cheek. As a sometimes excuse for why we can’t empty the bin, take the dog out or nip to the shop.

“I can’t I’m wearing my eating a meal shoes”

I have to say that white leather tasselled slip ons are not our choice anymore. But we have discovered the brand that sounds like our surname ‘Roamers’ so a few pairs of these have been purchased over the years.

So once more as we enter lockdown – it is something I will continue to do. When working from home I will wear my ‘working from home shoes’. Which are basically ‘eating a meal shoes’ So not big boots but smart Roamers…here are mine from the old shoe box

Smart Romers…

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The Knife That Killed Me

4 Oct

The 2014 Feature Film released by Universal Pictures. 

Written and Directed by

Marcus Romer and Kit Monkman

from the novel by Anthony McGowan

The Trailer and reviews are below 

Stream the movie on Amazon Prime and Apple TV

IMDb rating 7/10

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Mutiny Projects – meet the mutineers

22 Sep

These are some of the amazing artists we have been working with as part of our Mutiny Projects programme of work. These have included ‘Justice 39’, ‘Covid19 Threads‘, ‘Locus Solus‘ – and our upcoming new projects – ‘Future and Form’ and ‘Flip The Museum’ More info will be available about these on the Mutiny website soon…Mutiny.org.uk

 

Application and Consultancy for Arts Organisations.

29 Jul

Marcus Romer's work & blog

Make2

In these shifting times we all have to rethink our approach to making work and how we can maintain and develop our connections with our audiences and communities. With the new ACE Cultural Recovery funding announced on July 29th – I can come on board and help you and the team get the application in for the first deadline.

Let me help you – I am an Arts and Digital specialist with over 25 years of leadership experience both in delivering and making work. I have run an NPO for over 20 years as AD and CEO (Pilot Theatre) and have worked in leadership positions across a range of arts organisations (Theatre Royal Stratford East, Harrogate Theatre and Theatre Royal BSE)

I have also pioneered Live to Digital delivery projects for the last ten years for a number of different organisations. I can work with you to help you deliver the…

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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…

 

Library - 0045

 

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.