Tag Archives: directing

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:

MarcusRomerUK@gmail.com

marcusromer.com

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

observe / assist / do #blogpost #theatre

26 Jun

Operating_theatre_pic

The job I do here as Artistic Director of Pilot Theatre has clearly been informed by my previous work. This came home to me at a recent meeting on our trip to Pilsen when a theatre company raised the spurious point that directors should only be allowed to direct once they reach the age of 35, as before that they couldn’t possibly have the right experience level… After hitting the roof and then coming back down to my chair I outlined my thoughts on this, and to what extent I disagreed with them.

For those of you who don’t know I have worked in theatre for quite some time. Only when I started out – when I said I am going into theatre it meant scrubbing up, wearing green and performing – only this time live operations. On people. In operating theatres… I trained as a dental surgeon and have worked and perfomed surgery in this way. During our training and subsequent working practice the schedule was – You Observe the first operation. You Assist on the second one, and on the third one You Do it yourself. Admittedly this was still in an environment with support and assistance should you need it. After all lives were at stake.

So as a result of this we entrust our lives into the hands of doctors, surgeons, and paramedics who are in their twenties. They are doing this now. How come many organisations don’t do this with their trainee directors? …Because this is what we still do at Pilot Theatre on our productions. Our Associates work as an observer, then assistant and the third show they make themselves. After all this is not a matter of life or death – and as we all know – the only way to learn.

Which is why in Pilsen, Tom Bellerby (23) made the show, he last assisted on Romeo and Juliet and prior to that he observed The Fever Chart in his final year at Central It is why he is directing Letter to the Man from the Boy at Edinburgh this year for Pilot Theatre too. He will also be staff director on tour for our Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner this autumn.

So I said this very calmly and then sat down.

Observe / Assist / Do …it doesn’t just work for theatre…

Working on the R&J script for @pilot_theatre

14 Jul
Photo

In my office at home with a ruler and pencil and on paper in a folder, with pictures on the wall stuck on with blu-tac

Today I am an #oldschool theatre director

🙂