Tag Archives: Roy Williams

Breakthrough in new #DigitalTheatre immersive concept with online participation for audiences – developed by @Mutinyprojects

9 Jul

On June 19th there was a theatrical world premiere. It included a newly commissioned piece written by Roy Williams. It was performed live by three actors – Suzann McLean, Oliver Alvin Wilson and Simon Munnery. It had an original sound score specially composed by Sandy Nuttgens – and it was performed live in a brand new theatre space that we had built on the game platform called Roblox.

Screen Shot 2020-06-19 at 21.41.10Suzann McLean performing on the stage in Roblox

Mutiny is a new Arts organisation founded by Simon Poulter, Sophie Mellor and Marcus Romer. It was set up in November 2019 and received Arts Council Funding to develop our new project – Locus Solus – which means Solitary Space. Our work started in February at the Pervasive Media Studio in Bristol with their support. This was pre-lockdown and we were developing the project and building the world for the narrative in the software development side of Roblox.

Roblox is is an online game platform and game creation system that allows users to program games and play games created by other users. At present there are over 100 million active monthly users.

IMG_3278The audience setting off to the start the story and to be part of the project

On the platform we built the entire world – over several locations and areas, including, rivers, frozen lakes and one of the spaces with a bespoke theatre.

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The Theatre space can house many audience members – as of course to be part of the show you will need to have developed an avatar to enter the world. As part of the process as a director we ran a full rehearsal schedule, including a technical and dress rehearsal prior to the premiere.

Screen Shot 2020-07-09 at 12.51.58The Theatre space with room for several hundred seats

The key area of development was the integration of live HD sound for the actors and live mixed soundtrack.We achieved this by laying another program into the Roblox world – so we were able to live mix and integrate the sound and actors’ voices as they moved their avatars around the environment. The real breakthrough was the ability to have active participation and engagement from the audience as we all moved through this immersive environment together – and they too were able to use their voices and talk back at key times too.

Screen Shot 2020-06-19 at 21.43.31Suzann McLean and Oliver Alvin Wilson’s avatars performing the new text by Roy Williams for the audience.

There are several locations in the Locus Solus world and we performed new text across them all. The worlds all interconnect and can allow for multiple immersive experiences at the same time for audiences. This is a truly interactive space and experience for both audience and performers. It lends itself to bespoke design and development of new performance pieces

Screen Shot 2020-07-09 at 13.17.47The ice plateau area of Locus Solus

As Mutiny we are keen to develop this concept and build partners who would like to join us in this project as we move forward. We are looking to build the next iteration and series of commissions as we continue with this project and we will be looking to fund this.

If you are interested and want to get involved then – drop us a message marcus@artsbeacon.uk or info@mutinyprojects.org.uk

 

Pictures from the archive of shows I have directed – Sing Yer Heart Out For The Lads

11 Jun

This toured nationally from September 2006 through to March 2007 with a cast of 14 actors. It was a great cast with Peter Bankole, Claude Close, Andrew Falvey, Chad Gomez, Darren Hart, Neville Hutton, Suzann McLean, Charles Mnene, Mark Monero, Mikey North, Sally Orrock, Tom Sawyer, Tim Treloar, Deka Walmsley.

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Darren Hart, Mikey North and Charles Mnene

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Andrew Falvey, Tom Sawyer, Chad Gomez, Neville Hutton with Peter Bankole as Barry

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Peter Bankole as Barry

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Tim Treloar, Andrew Falvey, Peter Bankole

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Claude Close and Sally Orrock

Creative Team

Director Marcus Romer

Writer  Roy Williams

Design Emma Donovan

Music Sandy Nuttgens and Sweetie Irie

Lighting James Farncombe

Fight Direction Richard Ryan

Photographer  Karl Andre

Trailer

 

Reviews 

‘Marcus Romer’s production seems to have everything: pace, precision, power. The result is sensational’

The Guardian ****

“Resonant and timely”
The Stage ****

 

 

 

 

Pictures from the archive of shows I have directed or produced. Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner

9 Jun

This show was from 2012 and the cast and creative team list is below. Adapted by Roy Williams this was a national tour from September to December 2012. It had an amazing cast and introduced Elliot Barnes-Worrell in his debut role. It was also a stage debut for Jack McMullen – who joined the cast just after we had finished filming The K fir That Killed Me. The design incorporated a 5 metre long running track which could move in both directions. During each performance Elliot would run over 5 Kilometres.

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Elliot Barnes-Worrell as Colin Smith

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Jack McMullen, Alix Ross, Savannah Gordon-Liburd, Elliot Barnes-Worrell

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Elliot Barnes-Worrell, Doreene Blackstock and Richard Pepple

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Elliot Barnes.-Worrell, Curtis Cole and Sean Sagar

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Elliot Barnes-Worrell and Jack McMullen

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The set and one of the projection states.

 

The trailer video

QUOTES & REVIEWS

“…this is a brainy as well as a brawny performance, as far removed from Tom Courtenay’s in the 1962 film as one could conceive – we’re hearing here from the voice of alienated black London youth – yet imbued with the qualities that made Courtenay’s troublemaker so sympathetic: surly defiance, sly humour and much below-the-surface vulnerability.”

The Telegraph

“Flawlessly directed by Marcus Romer and stylishly designed by Lydia Denno, the discussions this show will provoke will run and run.”

The Observer

“Certain performances are destined for a long run, though few are likely to run quite this far. At the heart of this Pilot Theatre production, Elliot Barnes-Worrell not only puts in an aggressively charismatic performance as Alan Sillitoe’s antisocial athlete, he spends much of the evening pounding away on a treadmill. A conservative estimate is that he covers around 4km per show.”

Alfred Hickling – The Guardian

The Independent Review

“Roy Williams’s remarkable updated adaptation of Alan Sillitoe’s The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner at Nottingham Playhouse is full of nuanced politics.”

The Telegraph

 

CAST

Elliot Barnes-Worrell as Colin Smith

Doreene Blackstock as Mum

Curtis Cole as Luke/PC

Dominic Gately as Stevens

Savannah Gordon-Liburd as Kenisha

Jack McMullen as Jase

Richard Pepple as Dad/Trevor

Alix Ross as Sandra/Guard

Sean Sagar as Asher/PC/Guard

Luke James as Gunthorpe and Company ASM

 

 

CREATIVE TEAM

From the novel by Alan Stilltoe

Adapted for the stage by Roy Williams

Directed by Marcus Romer

Designed by Lydia Denno

Lighting Designed by Mark Beasley

AV Design by Lydia Denno & Mark Beasley

Soundscape by Sandy Nuttgens

Staff Director – Tom Bellerby

Photographer  Karl Andre

 

Pictures from the archive of shows I have directed or produced. #Antigone

8 Jun

This is part of a series of photographs from shows I have directed or produced over the years.

This is a striking image from the rehearsal room where I was directing Antigone – a new adaptation by Roy Williams. This was a coproduction with Derby Theatre and Theatre Royal Stratford East with Pilot Theatre.

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It shows Sean Sagar, and Lloyd Thomas at the back as the soldiers with Oliver Alvin-Wilson and Savannah Gordon-Liburd at the front As the Lieutenant and Antigone as they confront her uncle Creo’ played by Mark Monero.

Later in the production shots you can see Creo’ and Antigone in an uncle and niece standoff.

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And later when Antigone is with Eamonn played by Gamba Cole before they make their final decision.

 

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This show toured the UK between September 2014 – March 2015.

Directed by Marcus Romer / Designed by Joanna Scotcher / Music by Sandy Nuttgens

Cast also include Doreen Blackstock, Freida Thiel, Luke James.

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Doreene Blackstock as Eunice and Savannah Gordon-Liburd as Antigone.

Photos by Robert Day

The trailer

 

QUOTES & REVIEWS

“a brilliant example of exciting and electrifying theatre truly connecting with a modern day audience. “

The Big Issue

Read Full Review

Making theatre? for me it’s all about the audience… #Theatre #audiences #Kingston14

30 Mar

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I had one of those moments last night when I realised what this theatre stuff was really all about. Again.

I saw the first preview of Roy Williams’ new play, Kingston 14 at Stratford East. This is a really strong and important piece of work, and the first night audience gave it the applause and response it truly deserved. When I say audience, I mean the people who were there that night. The groups of individuals, couples, families, all who had come out on a Friday night to see something that had been made for them. A new piece of work that said ‘this is for you, these are characters that you may recognise, and relate to their stories’.

This particular theatre encourages first time attenders to come to the previews from the borough – if you haven’t been to Stratford East before it costs just £2.50 to see the show for a preview. Consequently the theatre was sold out, the show and its relationship to its local audience was electric. Riotous laughter and reaffirmations one moment to hear a pin drop tension the next. This is what this theatre stuff can do. And here at Stratford East, it does it very well indeed.

The audience were a reflection of the creative team and the cast on stage. It really is that simple. If you don’t see it on stage, it’s highly unlikely you will see it in your audience. Think about it – It’s not rocket science, it’s rocket salad. If it’s not in the bag you’re not going to get it on your plate.

Initiatives, audience development schemes, all that stuff is all very well, but if the work you make, and who you make it with, doesn’t reflect who you are making it for – then it is doomed to fail. Some theatres are too risk averse to think outside their own comfort zones, and as Nii Sackey said at our recent No Boundaries event – ‘Theatres need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable’ This is a key concept and vital to the whole nature of how we make and share our work.

This play, the theatre it was premiered in and the team that made it have clearly got this right, as was demonstrated by the reaction from the audience last night. Testament to the fact that this had to be made.

I am glad that Kerry Michael, Artistic Director of Stratford East, had the foresight, and determination to pick this play up and to produce it – otherwise that audience on that first night would never have had the opportunity to see this come to life. He knew that his audience deserved to see this work, and for it to have a four week run.

This is about a mutual trust between artists and the communities that the theatre serves. The history of this building has long roots and connections that stretch back to the work of Joan Littlewood and the Theatre Workshop that created a theatre for its communities. In the shifting times of developments and building around the theatre, this legacy still continues.

I have also have always made work in this same way. The audiences we want to see for Pilot’s work are reflected by the cast and creative teams we work with. It really is that straightforward. Roy and I have collaborated together for a good few years now, and we are currently working on his new version of Antigone that we are making for Pilot, with Derby Theatre and the Theatre Royal Stratford East to this venue next January and February 2015 for 4 weeks, and we are looking forward to making something new and very special for the audiences who come and see it.