Tag Archives: arts

‘Reveal’ – the first ever active reality project #RevealKL

27 Jan

Here is the video of the Reveal project that I worked on last year as Director and Producer.

REVEAL was a Collusion project developed and devised in King’s Lynn, Norfolk, UK in 2018. Directed and Produced by Simon Poulter and Marcus Romer, this is the first ‘active reality’ project of its kind. It encompassed live performances, large scale projections, an interactive game engine, augmented reality and geo-located story elements, that occurred throughout November and December. With new ‘reveals’ every day it became a multi-episodic box set adventure for mobile that unfolded over a period of time, with video clips, augmented reality codes and clues, video projection, and live interventions that happened across the whole town and beyond.

The project was Executive Produced by Simon Poulter and Rachel Drury, with a team of 36 artists working across disciplines. The legacy site for the project can be found at revealkl.com – supported by Arts Council England, Borough of West Norfolk and King’s Lynn, Discover King’s Lynn, Norfolk County Council and the Combined Authority for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

Music was specially composed by Sandy Nuttgens, Matmos and Carter/Tutti. Game engine and coding by Richard Hall, Chris Tyler and Simon Poulter. Projections by Joe Magee, Karen Eng, Pete Cleary, Dominic Manning, Pete Cleary, Issam Kourbaj and Yael Biran. The story was devised and written by James McDermott and Marcus Romer, with a new Syrian poem written by Liwaa Yazji.

The Reveal project uses a Creative Commons license – Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike – CC BY-NC-SA . This means that anyone can replicate and reuse the method and structure for the project, within the conditions of the license.

Full credit list:

Executive Producers: Simon Poulter, Rachel Drury
Artistic Producers: Marcus Romer, Simon Poulter
Story: James McDermott, Marcus Romer
Words: Liwaa Yazaji
Script Editor: Kathryn Castles
Social media elements: Maze Media
Actors: Oliver Westlake, Claire Lacey, Rebecca Banatvala, Tim Welton
Research and photography volunteer: Beatrice Bray
Film elements and trailer: Gavin Toomey
Logo and Design: Joe Magee
Costume Designer: Sunny Luckhoo
Artists: Issam Kourbaj, Karen Eng, Pete Cleary, Yael Biran, Joe Magee
Music: Carter-Tutti, Matmos, Sandy Nuttgens
Voice overs: Claire Lacey
Engagement Programme: Michelle Brace, Katy Marshall
Web Development: Chris Tyler
Creative Technologist/augments/back-end developer: Richard Hall
3D Artist: Dominic Manning
Projection Development: Pete Cleary
PR and comms: Becky Wieczorek, Stephanie Lewis
Ground and shop team: Luke Woodcroft, Fynn Pitkeathly, Beatrice Bray
Stage Manager: Lewis Anderson
Production Consultant: Ben Pugh
Production Coordinator: Nev Milsom
Project Assistant: Alex Byford
Lighting Assistant: Alexsandra Kruk
Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk: Chris Bamfield, Mark Fuller, Martin Chisholm
AR.js software: Jerome Etienne
After Effects Artist: Sabrina Minter
Fundraising: Catherine Slack
LiDAR Survey: Mark McGarragh
Drone footage and photography: Matthew Usher

Livestream from @Stratfordeast to East London Hospitals and Richard House Children’s Hospice

28 Dec


Today I am preparing the final details for the Theatre Royal Stratford East Pantomime, Sinbad the Sailor that will be streamed live to children and their families in wards and units in Bart’s Health Trust Hospitals and Richard House Children’s Hospice on the afternoon of December 29th.

Thursday will be an early start with the livestream camera team heading to the theatre to set up their multi-camera set up – with 5 cameras and microphones places around the auditorium and two operators in the left and right stalls boxes. It will be mixed live by the team who are also in one of the upper circle boxes, this live feed will go straight into the broadband connection at the Theatre and will be encoded and placed onto a player that can be then watched online via the password protected page on the website.

Away from the theatre in the streaming locations at both Newham University Hospital and Richard House Hospice, I will be working with the Stratford East teams to prepare the projectors and to to set the rooms out for the families and children to come along. This is something that not only allows families, and siblings of children who are receiving care to share in the experience, but also for the staff as well.

The live feed will also be available to young patients across the Hospital network who are also receiving treatment, so they can watch it on their iPads or smartphones whilst having dialysis for example.

This is part of the work of the Theatre Royal, to engage as widely as possible with a diverse range of audiences, and artists to deliver and share the work we make. This is now possible across a range of digital platforms. I am really delighted to be part of this journey with Stratford East.

It is clear that this is the direction of travel for work to be made more available, and the more opportunities Arts and Cultural organisations can find to engage with the widest possible communities for which they are there to serve, the greater the opportunity for connection and understanding of each other, and to help us find our common humanity.

This livestream has been made possible with support from Galliard Homes

Moving on – onwards and upwards

3 Nov
A new landscape

A new landscape

Hi Friends!

Before the press releases hit, I thought I’d take the opportunity to let everyone know that I will be moving on from Pilot at the end of the financial year. Yes—after 22 years as Artistic Director of the company, I’m stepping down to take up some new and exciting freelance opportunities.

I’ve been asked to put together some work highlights from my time as AD for a press release, and I figured the best way of doing it would be to do my usual blog-style thing with a list of stuff, in no particular order, and let you choose what interests you.

I’m proud to be leaving the company in a great financial and reputational position. We’ve secured our second round of Arts Council NPO funding until 2018, have EU-funded projects until 2019, and have built a great team who are creating extraordinary work across the UK and internationally.

So in no particular order….here’s stuff I made earlier, since becoming Artistic Director back in 1993:

  • I directed the first livestream of a theatre production back in 2008, which lead to the 6 camera livestream of the York Mystery Plays for the BBC and The Space. We now lead the TheatreLivestream.TV project nationally

  • Following my first visit to TED in 2007, I created 5 national Shift Happens Conferences which started back in in 2008 and ran to 2013—these led to TEDxYork, which I also curated, and became the template and structure for the Arts Council / British Council’s ‘No Boundaries’ which ran in 2014 and 2015.

  • The 960 performances of the first ever tour of my production of ‘Lord of The Flies’ – which ran between 1998 and 2008 to almost every theatre in the country. We employed 5 different casts in 6 separate productions over the period and won the MTA (Manchester Theatre Award) for best touring production

  • I wrote the script and co-directed ‘The Knife That Killed Me’, the first ever feature film shot entirely on Green Screen in Yorkshire, which was picked up and distributed by Universal Pictures

  • We won the UK Theatre Award for best production for young people, with the first ever adaptation and premiere of Anne Cassidy’s‘ Looking for JJ’

  • I worked with and commissioned new work from the brilliant Roy Williams, then saw that our first adaptation of The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner had a new production in New York

  • I was part of the team pitching for York to win the title of Unesco City of Media Arts—the first city in the UK to achieve such a title, and I am continuing to help steer that project forward with new plans and ideas.

Some more? OK, OK. Some more highlights:

  • Directing the opening sequence of the Bollywood Oscars event in Sheffield—The IIFAs—for an arena audience of 15,000 and a TV audience of 500 million

  • Blood + Chocolate and bringing Slung Low theatre to York to help make this happen

  • Making a show in Buenos Aires 

  • Meeting Susan Hinton, who flew from Oklahoma to York when we premiered the first ever theatre production of her novel, Rumble Fish which had the first ever integrated AV and sound projection on back in 2000!

It’s been a phenomenal job and I’ve worked with lots of amazing people some them at the start of their careers, and helped them on their way to make amazing projects. Thanks to everyone who has been part of the journey up to now.

But all of these things are just work things. During that time I have seen my two children grow up and launch into the world and be creative and brilliant, and I’ve shared the journey with Susie, who continues to go from strength to strength and is now heading up an amazing charity in Cambridge, where we now live. It seems like the right time to take the new freelance opportunities that are coming my way.

I’m going to carry on making new projects and helping to deliver new ideas in a freelance capacity from 2016— so, onwards and upwards. If you’re interested in finding out about work we could do together, just drop me a line:



Oh — The recruitment process for my successor will begin in late November…

up close and personal… #PlatShift blogpost

15 Jun

Last week I discovered a new thing, a new idea maybe? one that allows two different acting styles, to be incorporated into one piece of theatre that also allows better performance capture and subsequent livestream delivery across a range of devices.

Jamie Shelton rehearsing

We were working in Portugal, in a converted pig farm near Palmela, the home of the internationally acclaimed theatre company, Teatro O Bando. We were there as part of our Platform Shift project with 11 other companies from 9 different European countries. This particular piece of work was part of a scratch performance as part of our research and development.

We were developing a piece called / Green / Amber / Red / which focused on a young woman called Amber, and her relationships with the people she knows outside the world she now finds herself in.

As part of our work we created a dual sectioned performing space, with Jamie Shelton (Max) playing directly into a camera lens, which projected his image into the other section of the space onto a wall, right in front of Natalie Davies (Amber) who was sorting out clothes on the floor.


This played with the idea of ‘FaceTime intimacy’ where we reveal our thoughts and personal information directly to each other via our socially connected devices. The filmic and televisual performance style of Jamie existed in the space that Natalie was working in. Her direct and real time interaction with him across the distance, whilst the audience were watching on either side of her created a really moving and electric connection.


The projection was in the same space as the actor playing the character. So we could watch and hear both live, but for Natalie she was focused on the image on the wall as if on her phone and it was in that gap that we, as an audience were included into that space of intimate conversation between both protagonists.

The performance to camera was appropriate for that medium and as such would translate really well across to a live-streamed capture version for an on screen delivery.  This existed in the theatre world for Natalie and her performance was geared to that space. Both co-existed and connected in a way that opens up new possibilities and ideas for future work in this area for this new piece of work.

Marcus Romer June 15th 2015

Big thanks also to Ben Pugh for his photos and his video capture work as part of this, and to Natalie Davies and Jamie Shelton, and the rest of the Pilot Theatre team.

#ArtsFightBack – an update

10 May


I want to make a new project. I want to make it with people who want to make it too.  I sent out a tweet on Friday night asking if anyone was interested in helping out. You know, writers, directors, actors, artists, makers, helpers across the whole spectrum who might want to lend a hand.

I sent the message out on the 8th of May, the day the UK election results became clear.

So far over 200 people have offered help and would like to know more. Thank you for getting back to me with such strong and positive reactions.

This is not about asking the question what next? more like what now?  – what can we do now – creatively.

So, I have contacted Stratford East and in a truly supportive way they have said we can have a space there to kickstart the conversation. I will check and post on here when we have confirmed a date. We can also have a get together in Yorkshire in York – and we can have a space there too.

If anyone wants to suggest or offer a space elsewhere please let me know.

So thanks so far for the responses and offers – I will post on here and on the usual sites. If you want to drop me line here is my email – MarcusRomerUK@gmail.com

The picture at the top? It is one I took in Buenos Aires when I was making a show there. I think it shows that most things are possible…

Digital? The Arts? This time it’s personal…

2 Oct

Personal Wax Seal

This is my new personal sealing wax stamp. I bought it at the ‘Rivoaltus’ shop on the Rialto Bridge in Venice when I was there delivering one of my talks about the arts and digital stuff at the Teatro la Fenice.

The shop is great – they make their own paper and handbind their own version of Moleskine notebooks. Just the thing to write notes on with my trusty old fountain pen. It’s worth a look online if you get chance.

The reason for sharing this? Well, increasingly I have become more and more aware of the rising digital fatigue / panic in the arts. It oscillates between the two at any given moment. So I wanted to share my thoughts about how we rethink and refocus what ‘digital in the arts’  means. So this is my sort of talk that I will be giving at the SOLT / UK Theatre / ITC ‘Digital Forum’ day today.

Back in the day, the sealing wax stamp meant that a personal message could be hand delivered to a particular person or group. It would be specially for that person, and they would know that no-one else had seen the message if the seal had not been broken. It was a personal message. Delivered directly into their hand.

The human need to convey information, to share ideas and pass on details has not changed at all. Only the mechanism has. We now have the ability to place not only information, but amazing works of art into the palms of our friends, colleagues, followers,  via their handheld devices.

So, the question is this – What do we have to share with them that they will want to find interesting enough to keep and to share with their friends?

This is not about technology, we know this, it is always about people. People making things, and people who are interested in the particular things you make.

So let’s get over the whole ‘what can we broadcast’ and ‘how do we do it’ thing. Let’s shift the focus onto what we make and how we can we make something that will look beautiful and special – and that we can place that in the palm of someone’s hand – who will want to treasure it, and maybe show it to their friends.




Two separate projects both opened on the same night #PilotAntigone #TKTKM

27 Sep


So, September 22nd 2014 turned out to be pretty important date for Pilot Theatre. We had press night for new co-production ‘Antigone’ at Derby Theatre – We are heading out on tour and will be bringing the show to Stratford East London for a month next February. Here is the trailer.

And our new feature film – ‘The Knife That Killed Me’ had a public screening in London in Soho at the Century Cinema. We also had a good review in Empire magazine, and we are going to be in competition as part of the Rome Film Festival Oct 16 -21st. The movie will launch at the end of October – with UK distribution by Universal Pictures. Here is the trailer.

Both of these projects have been over two years in the planning to get them to this point. We shot the movie back in April 2012, and we commissioned Antigone from Roy Williams back in 2012 too.

Needless to say we have more commissions in the pipeline for Pilot,  and I am working on a new screenplay. It is only once projects launch that you can refocus your mind onto future projects. Prior to that you time and energy is quite rightly spent on the delivery of the work in hand.

I am immensely proud of both of these pieces of work and the teams behind them. The whole Pilot team and the Greenscreen company have been very creative and supportive work partners. I would like to thank both Derby Theatre and Stratford East too, for enabling the Antigone project to take flight.

Here is the link to the Alice in the City programme in Rome for #TKTKM

And for the movie website with the artwork and quotes on is here TheKnifeThatKilledMeMovie.com

and the Huffington Post review is here

‘Reminiscent of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, this tale of gang wars and one young protagonist’s love for his fellow student is mesmerising. Imagine a mix of Kes and Sin City and you get the idea behind this clever and inventive movie.Easily one of the best films of the year’

And for Antigone – A  5 ***** review here

‘The audience atmosphere in the theatre throughout is tangible. It seems at times that one hardly dare breathe as the story unfolds. It sucks you in…”

Here is the link to the tour schedule for #PilotAntigone



Marcus Romer – Artistic Director – Pilot Theatre – 27/9/2014