Tag Archives: pilottheatre

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…

Digital Archaeology – building the future archives for the Arts

23 Aug
cc Big Data Water Wordscape by Marius B

cc Big Data Water Wordscape by Marius B

One of the key things I have been thinking about and working on is how the digital data of projects and work we have made will form part of the future of archaeology. How the data will relate to the spaces and the collective memories of artists, participants and audiences.

This has formed part of my thinking whilst working on the Unesco project for York, which was was recently designated the first City of Media Arts in the UK, as part of the global Creative Cities Network. Here the city joins a network of 68 other creative cities across the world with designations which include – music, film, design, food, literature, folk art and our own, media arts.

For me the definition of what constitutes media arts is broad and far reaching and it involves the integration of new media technologies into creative practice and social exchange. This includes disciplines such as video games, computer animation, digital and interactive art, sound art, film, television and theatre.

It is clear to many, that that there is a strong heritage and archaeological emphasis on York’s historical past within the City. For many visitors this is a key aspect of their visit – to see the Minster, the Jorvik Viking centre, the Roman foundations, the Mediaeval Walls or the National Railway Museum to name but a few.

But in this historical DNA of the City runs a bright seam of innovation, be they the Roman water systems, the railway engineering or more clearly the stained glass windows of York Minster. It is here we need to stop and think about those windows, and realise that they were of course the cinema, internet and television of their day. Their use of light, space, story was extraordinary and provided a shifting and colourful storytelling experience.

They were the media arts of their day.

Which is why I am keen to explore the future possibilities of how we can evolve the experiences and social interactions that the media arts can create. Sharing stories on and offline, in spaces and places can help to embed and build the future memories and narratives for us all. The data of these interactions through sharing of pictures, stories, images, vines, videos, all tagged and geo-located will help to form the future archives and provide rich digital archaeological seam for future generations to discover.

It is key that Artists and Arts organisations come to realise their role in the work that they make and how they can help to build these future archives digitally and make them available and accessible. It is their connection with audiences and participants to help to build and grow these vast connections with data, stories and memories of the work that has been made and what is has meant to be part of it.

I am not able to walk up the steps of my office at Pilot Theatre without the memory of the HD projection of our co-production of Blood + Chocolate onto the building back in 2013. I am going to add to the digital archaeological heritage of the city by tagging this picture of my office below.Blood+ChocolatePilotTheatre

Marcus Romer – Artistic Director – Pilot Theatre

 York City of Media Arts

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

Pilot Theatre – International Connections….

9 Mar


As a company, armed with ipads and notebooks, we have been getting out and about recently and making some stuff happen.

As I write four members of the Pilot team are away in Drammen, Norway for the final meeting of our EU network – Platform 11+ – So Amanda Smith, Mark Beasley, Sarah Rorke and Associate artist, Tom Bellerby are putting the final touches to the network’s evaluation as well as opening the show that Tom directed, called ‘Face Me’ which will perform there, as the last country in its 6 country tour, with actors from 4 different countries. The network has involved 11 countries, and we have visited them all…International? yes indeed.

Tom has been busy, not just in his role with Pilot – attending the TMA touring conference, as well as his position as creative engagement co-ordinator for the Touring Consortium, but also, his Edinburgh hit show ‘Beulah’ will hit the Arts Theatre at the end of March as part of its UK tour. So new work? yes indeed.

We have also just completed the premiere tour of Running on The Cracks – directed by Associate Director, Katie Posner – A cracking show in co-production with the Tron in Glasgow – which has picked up 4* and 5 * reviews all along the way  and again a touring team with actors with their roots from all over the globe.

This way of approaching our work and developing opportunities and International connections now runs through the organisation’s DNA. Indeed I have been fortunate to recently attend the TED conference in Los Angeles and Palm Springs. Here I was in a room with attendees from more than 70 different countries, sharing ideas, thinking and making some serious shift happen…

In fact I have met several key speakers for our Shift Happens conference that we are running on July 8th in York. So in addition to the line up here I will be adding speakers from New York, Australia, and LA. The conference hosted 52 TED talks –  I saw them all – so as they release one every week – I saw a whole year of talks in one week – like a high protein shot of ideas, thinking and new stuff. Lots of new stuff…This is always inspiring and good to get a different perspective on the issues and situations we face on a daily basis. I have posted some of the TED talks on this blog and will continue to do so as and when they come out.

So the team has not just been away – we have been filming too…Liam has been revisiting his acting roots on a new movie and has been on location all week before hitting the ground again with our Blood and Chocolate project with SlungLow. I too have just finished working on the pickup shoot and ADR recording session for The Knife That Killed Me. We are on the final stretch for this now and we deliver to Universal Pictures at the end of March. The #TKTKM team are all working really hard and The Producer Thomas Mattinson and co-director Kit Monkman are working really hard with the visual effects team to finalise the 5 reels. We are then onto the final mix and grading before delivery.

So, as a company we have been away and making things happen – As Lyn Gardner referred to Pilot Theatre a multi-platform organisation – I can safely say that this is more and more the case these days as I look at the reach and connections we have been making recently. As Artistic Director of Pilot, I am immensely proud of the team and their diverse work and connections.

So whilst the funding outlook in the UK looks bleak – we are really opening up the connections to make our work resonate on a global scale, and are looking for people who want to share this journey to join us and share the conversation.


Cast for ‘The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner’ – adapted by Roy Williams #LDR2012

16 Jul
We go into rehearsal on August 20th – Open in York September 13th – tours until November 24th

Info here…pilot-theatre.com

Spotlight Graduates
Colin Smith

Spotlight Actresses

Spotlight Actors
Luke / PC

Spotlight Actors

Spotlight Actresses

Spotlight Actors

Spotlight Actors
Dad / Trevor

Spotlight Actresses
Sandra / Guard

Spotlight Actors
Asher / PC / Guard

Testing six camera livestream for #thespacearts #mysteryplays

16 Jul


An exciting day at Pilot Theatre today – as Kinura are testing the six encoders and cameras for our use for the York Mystery Plays as part of the BBC and ACE project

The Space…

So watch this space for more info as we head towards our broadcast date of Aug 10/11

Exciting times and Kinura are just awesome – with three audio feeds and six cameras – full transcript and audio description Access All Areas


In The Space – Everyone can hear you stream… #thespacearts #yorkmysteries

14 Jul


(With thanks to Bill Thompson for the title from his talk at #shifthappens )

So in the picture is Mark Beasley – our Digital Producer for @pilot_theatre on the site of the #YorkMysteries

Why you may ask? Well as part of The Space (http://thespace.org) we will be delivering a six camera live feed live stream that you can interact with.

This will be on the weekend of August 10/11 and we have been working with Kinura behind the scenes since April to prepare for this.

The York Mysteries are taking place with a new production in the museum gardens in front of the ruins of St Mary’s Abbey throughout the whole of August.

This mammoth project involves a community cast and team of over 1000 people – a professional production team and has been in preparation for two years now.

Key partners are of course York Theatre Royal, Museums Trust, City Council, Riding Lights and of course Pilot Theatre with the livestream.

Pilot Theatre’s Associate Director, @katieposner has been working as an associate director on this too, and we as a team have been testing all the technology as part of our #PilotLive work on http://pilot-theatre.tv

So what are we going to do and why?
Well on the livestream weekend it will be possible to follow and watch the performance from a number of places. So from front of stage, backstage, overhead, and from the control desk. We will also have some remote and robot cameras that will move during the action.

On top of this you can choose which audio feed you want to hear. The stage action, with all the dialogue, singing and performances, or you could choose the production and cans feed from the DSM calling the show. Here you can hear all the cues, set ups and action points whilst watching the results as they happen live. Or you could have the audio described version of the events that are happening live on stage.

So yo can access all areas throughout the performance. The idea came from when I was watching a show in the main house at York Theatre Royal – and realising of course that you are free to watch wherever and whatever you want. Be that the follow spot operators, the audience, the action downstage right – or the lighting changes. So as a next iteration of the Idea of live performance we wanted to recreate this idea using multiple camera viewpoints.

So as a difference from say an NT Live stream where the decisions to which shot you will see have already been predetermined by a director – this gives you a greater sense of creative intervention and participation in the event. As of course the chatroom facility is still available to cross connect with fellow online audience members.

But this is not all. This is the start of the project – after the livestream – the footage will then still be available on the space site – where the view again option is still available – only now you will be able to drag and drop from the clips available into an audio timeline so you can choose your own bespoke version of the York Mysteries, by mixing the clips from the 6 cameras into your own version to watch back.

So you can watch the backstage journey for some clips, cut to the choral sections on stage and back to the control desk view…infinite possibilities

Which is what this project is all about. The next iteration of what iplayer might become, the interaction, participation and creative involvement of audiences, viewers and collaborators.

The Mystery Cycle traditionally had all sectors of the community playing their part in the delivery of the project for each other. The Guilds would collaborate and work together For this part of this amazing project we like to think of Pilot Theatre and Kinura belonging to the new Guild of Digital Livestreamers…

So as you can see Mark is scratching his head – and we are working out the optimal positions for the cameras and cables…

This is the start of this story – follow us @pilot_theatre and @thespacearts #mysteryplays for more info…

We are continuing to make shift happen….


In a Galaxy not very far away (York) #shifthappens on July 5th @pilot_theatre – Episode iv – A new hope

14 Jun


It is never too late get on board and find out what the new digital opportunities have to offer you and your organisation.

Come and find out for yourself at Pilot Theatre’s Shift Happens Event  on July 5th 2012 at York Theatre Royal from 11am to 8pm

Hear inspiring TED style talks from the world’s leading thinkers, digital creators and artists.

Discover new ideas for facing the digital future –

Gain inspiration from fellow attenders and speakers about  how to navigate your way through the shifting digital landscape

great ideas / great food / great company / get involved…

tickets online shift-happens.co.uk

or call 01904 623568

Things that have happened to me this week – and Cheryl Cole’s dog

30 Sep


Mitzi Jones (from Vancouver) who played Sunny in our last show (Catcher) greets Rachel Spicer (also from Vancouver) who is Juliet in our current show…Romeo and Juliet – #kissbythebook

We took the show to Yeovil after finishing our run in York. It took me over 6 and a half hours on the train. Yeovil is a long way away.

We are now on tour and stuff happens now – like half the cast deciding to stay in a caravan. They are the Montagues.

The Capulets are in a mansion overlooking rolling hills with balconies and ensuite facilities…It is apparently Poker night in the caravan tonight…

I also took my son to London to start at LSE. I got a £120 parking fine whilst unloading a fridge behind Tate Modern. The fruit in his fridge has gone mouldy now he said. Well, that has cost me…

It rained a lot. It rained all day in Yeovil too. This morning a woman in a cafe made me a sandwich – she had prepared 30 chicken nuggets on the counter previously that morning, they were free. I declined. She told us that she came to work on a mobility scooter.

I sat on the train today next to Cheryl Cole’s dog. He was with her mam and her brother. The dog drank evian water and ate a chicken panini. This is true as are all the facts on this blogpost

The show went down well. We have had to alter the fights again. Mercutio has no spare ribs left…we need to keep the ones he has.

The audience asked us questions before the show. They had heard it was in modern dress…whatever that means. For me it is easier to identify with characters who aren’t wearing baggy tights and strange doublets. Who knew?

I was shown how to drink a cup of tea using a twix and a timeout as a straw. Strange Newcastle ritual apparently.

This blogpost was written whilst listening to UFO by Newton Faulkner – but I haven’t posted that on here, but I have posted Kiss by the book by Sandy Nuttgens with Molly McQueen

The aforementioned dog is here eyeing the panini next to what appears to be a dead man ( he wasn’t) just a snory business man…


That is all…



Flowers in the theatre #kissbythebook

22 Sep

Romeo and Juliet at York Theatre Royal…

Star crossed lovers take their life…