Tag Archives: marcusromer

#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…

observe / assist / do #blogpost #theatre

26 Jun


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…

Lessons in life – part 37

24 Sep


When speaking on a panel and you are constantly being referred to as a man in a suit – stand up and let them see your jeans and leather Chucks.

A lacklustre review can be allowed to spoil your breakfast, but it must never be allowed to ruin your lunch.

Remember that however many times a piece is rehearsed there will always by at least one time during a run when an actor has to visit A and E.

You do not need to ask for permission to have an idea and to make things happen. Ever.

Remember when you put your head above the parapet people will sling stuff at you. But the view is better and clearer from up there.

If you never say no to invitations, what is the value of your ‘yes’ worth ?

An artist is not a different type of person, but every person is a different type of artist.

With all training I use my medical background of – observe one, assist on one, then do one. If it is how we train surgeons it is more than applicable for directors…

That is all


The Stage / Features / A meeting of minds

15 Jul

A meeting of minds

Published Thursday 15 July 2010 at 13:51


Setting up the Skype Chat with Sir Ken Robinson for Shift Happens Photo by @documentally

Artistic director of Pilot Theatre Marcus Romer talks about the highlights of this year???s Shift Happens event at the York Theatre Royal, and the unique challenges and opportunities that face the sector as the line between the arts and technology becomes increasingly blurred

For the last three years, I???ve curated an annual conference focussing on the opportunities that technology has to offer the arts.

Last week, Pilot Theatre???s third annual Shift Happens event took place at York Theatre Royal and, this time, the focus was on arts, learning and technology.

We had 27 speakers take to the stage to share their insights, stories, and provide provocations for discussion and debate.

Our 300 delegates and participants were able to hear a eclectic range of speakers. Keynote speeches were delivered by Ken Robinson – author, and educator, Alice Greenwald from the National 9/11 Memorial & Museum in New York, Jonathan Harris, the artist from Brooklyn, John McGrath from National Theatre Wales, DK from MediaSnackers and Lyn Gardner from The Guardian.

We were joined by Andy Field from Forest Fringe, Clare Reddington from Watershed and David Sabel from NT Live at the National Theatre. Meanwhile, we also heard from green arts organisation Julie???s Bicycle, as well as Mind the Gap, Slung Low, Body>Data>Space and my own Pilot Theatre.

Using new technology, we were able to provide Skype links across the world – Robinson spoke to the conference live from LA.

There, he shared his thoughts about the shifts in the cultural landscape, explaining that we are now entering a period where we need an educational revolution in how we create learning opportunities so that young people can survive and thrive in a changing world.

???What is coming down the track is more important than what has gone before,??? he explained and also made clear that we need to have a global responsibility, as we connect, communicate and share creative ideas.

Indeed, the common theme at Shift Happens was that we need to take a longer world view about how and what we are creating, and more importantly, why and for whom.

In his keynote, DK talked about literacy in this new landscape, saying that we all need to be able to ???learn, unlearn and relearn??? to keep us moving forward and why sometimes it is beneficial to look to the sides first and learn from other sectors and how they are navigating their way too.

The live connection to the 9/11 Memorial & Museum and the address by its director Greenwald was very moving.

The ability for us to be able to hear and question her live across the Atlantic from a theatre building built before the French Revolution was testament itself to the fact that shifts do happen.

Going forward, it???s important not to just ask what can the technology do for us, but what can we do with the technology. So, social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook are key to the evolution of the sector.

Gardner raised this point, as she talked about the changes since last year???s conference, when there was much scepticism about Twitter.

She pointed out that now, more than ever, in a tough funding climate, we need to connect as a sector that is grown up, joined up and more open.

She also highlighted the importance of online networks and sites such as artsfunding.ning.com which has grown to more than 400 members in three weeks.

The future of arts funding was, of course, on people???s minds. But, refreshingly, the main themes of the event were about wider creative thinking and the longer view.

The arts world needs to think about the big shifts which will affect us all – climate, global financial stability and how we find new ways to connect and communicate – and what the arts??? response to all this is. We need new models and ideas and, as a creative sector, we are well placed to be able to do this.

That is not to say that all that is new is necessarily better, but as a sector we must embrace the possibilities, and realise that these new platforms are not just for marketing and another way to ???push??? your product.

They are about a genuine two-way engagement and conversation. They have immense creative potential and we have some exciting artists pushing these boundaries.

As Field said: ???Bring art and technology together to dream stupid, impossibly grand visions of what the future might look like.???

Over the course of the event, people were able to discuss the conference using social media site Twitter.

The use of the #shifthappens hashtag meant that people could share nuggets, links and pictures inspired from the live talks. Again, amplifying, remixing and sharing the ideas that surface.

We shared with more than 280,000 people those two days, and made more than two million impressions with people via Twitter – many of whom were following the conference remotely in other parts of the planet. This would have been unthinkable only a few years ago – and shows just how new technology can help people engage with us, as a sector.

As Herb Kim, director of Codeworks and Thinking Digital said – the challenge for all of us is ???go big or go home???.

For the full list of talks and links please visit us at: shift-happens.co.uk, shifthappens.ning.com, artsfunding.ning.com, pilot-theatre.com



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Greetings from Wexford Opera House for #TFconf

17 Jun

So here I am in the amazing leather seated Wexford Opera House for the Theatre Forum Conference

I am speaking tomorrow on Digital Technology and it’s impact on Theatre

So I better get busy listening and joining in with the conversations

A long day from an early start from Stansted via Dublin then a two hour drive

So onwards, but inside now for the opening on a most beautiful day here in Ireland

Til later….

Marcus Romer
Artistic Director
Pilot Theatre
York Theatre Royal
St Leonards Place


I will be speaking at Theatre Forum Conference in Wexford 17/18 June

7 Jun
Check out this website I found at theatreforumireland.com

The session I will be running will be focusing on new ways of communication and connection and how we can utilise emerging platforms to creatively develop and engage with our work and each other

ITC Training Day

21 Apr