Tag Archives: shifthappens

So what does a multi-platform theatre company actually do?

20 Jun

2013-06-18 10.51.55

As Artistic Director of Pilot Theatre, I can really see the evolution of the company and track its DNA right back its early roots and incarnation. Whilst, not being an original founder member I did work with Pilot as an actor back in the mid 80’s and it is where I got my Equity card, and where my career was started.

This has always been the ethos of the company, providing the opportunities for emerging artists and practice – where projects can be ‘piloted’ and tried out. So, contrary to some of our recent airplane-spotter followers on twitter, we are actually nothing to do with air travel at all…Rather the organisation that creates the ‘pilot episode’ or ‘pilot project’ where something is made or developed for the first time.

So what’s new? well that’s the question the team asks itself all the time. Not that we endlessly pursue the new and shiny stuff just because it is new and shiny, but with a real creative and artistic approach to innovation we are constantly asking ‘what is out there that we can work with to help us tell our stories more effectively’

So, in the next few weeks the range and diversity of our multi-platform work will become more apparent than ever before…

We open a new piece of theatre at York Cocoa House, called ‘Clocking In’ – this is a site specific and verbatim piece that tells the stories of the workers in the chocolate factories of York. It opens on June 24th and we perform it twice each evening, where you will also get a cup of hot chocolate…

This is part of our Blood + Chocolate project which we are working alongside SlungLow and York Theatre Royal. This is now in rehearsal and will be a citywide headphone adventure piece – utilising the skills of SlungLow and their technology. In October 2013 an audience of 300 each evening will move through the City of York whilst the community cast of 200 will uncover the stories of life, love and death in York at the start of the first World War…So our theatre storytelling across the city, working with a voluntary team of over 500 people who are working already on this amazing project – here is the Flickr group from the team of 31 photographers and their 600 photos of the project thus far.

The following week on July 3rd we screen The Knife That Killed Me for the cast and crew. This is the film that was made by Green Screen Pictures in association with Pilot Theatre and Premiere Pictures, Matador and with support from Universal Pictures. It was adapted and written and directed by Marcus Romer and Kit Monkman – with Producer Thomas Mattinson. We shot this on a greenscreen studio set in East Yorkshire in April / May 2012 and the post production and compositing has taken another 12 months to complete. We deliver the film at the end of June, and this is the first time that any of the cast, crew and Pilot Team will have seen the movie in a cinema. This is exciting stuff indeed.

The week after that on July 8th we launch or 5th Shift Happens conference – which is our version of TED for the Creative and Cultural sector – where International Speakers share their inspiring visions and thoughts for the audience – alongside great food and the best coffee in York. The speaker list and schedule is here – there are a couple of tickets left and you can book online on the links on here

So innovation and making shift happen has been at the core of our work here at Pilot – we are currently also working with the City of York Council – delivering the livestreams of their council meetings as part of their open democracy initiative. This is a key element for us. Where we recognise our civic role within the community in which we are based. We want to increase the engagement of all our audiences and create the opportunities to ‘pilot’ new ideas and projects. So, all our work from our theatre and performance, through to the innovation of the new movie and online projects, sit hand in hand with our ability to share thinking and ideas across the whole sector with our conferences and training.

You can also catch up every week with our #PilotLive livestream broadcasts via our Pilot-Theatre.TV channel on this and all our work.

So we look forward to working with you too very soon…

Some Shift is Happening…

20 May

join us on July 8th….


The amazing @lessig talk from TED2013 #TED

3 Apr

I saw Larry Lessig’s first TED talk in 2007 in Monterey. It was this talk that not only made me use keynote and powerpoint properly, but the one that launched the entire embracing of Creative Commons within Pilot Theatre. This in turn led to the creation of our first Shift Happens conference back in 2008. This talk in 2013 was one of the key stand out moment for me this year. The coalescing of thinking that echoed the clarion call of ‘the power of the people is greater than the people in power’ that Wael Ghonim stated in 2011

This talk is a landmark TED Talk and one that I was privileged to see live this year. We are continuing to make Shift Happen – and in fact our 5th event ShiftV takes place in York on July 8th 2013, where we will be continuing this conversation that Larry Lessig has started – do join us and be part of the conversation

Marcus Romer

Artistic Director

Pilot Theatre

The food at #shifthappens

13 Jul

York Theatre Royal along with Henshallwood’s deli did a sterling job last week. With breakfast and lunch

But it was Manjit’s Kitchen who stole the dinner honours – preparing fresh samosa and bhel puri in the rain was above and beyond the call of duty!

But hey, the results were superb and at the end of the sessions the sun came out and the wine was opened and yes – their food was amazing.

Book them – no seriously – just book them – they are fantastic

Thanks to Manjit and Emjay again


Live from NYC – Clay Shirky #shifthappens – #York #NewYork @cshirky

6 Jul

Here in York we hosted Shift Happens – Episode IV – A New Hope – a full day of talks / provocations / good coffee / good food / and people gathered together / with one shared aim – to make shift happen.

Here is Clay Shirky live from NYC talking to us / and answering our questions. A genuine ‘rock star’ of the interwebs. I was blown away by the generosity of time, spirit and shared ideas of the whole day.

We were joined by speakers and presenters from Manila, Lisbon and Stockton on Tees…

More later – and we will be sharing the talks ‘TED’ style in due course on pilot-theatre.com

But to take this opportunity to
Say thanks to all the speakers, delegates, technicians, caterers, and the whole Pilot Theatre and York Theatre Royal teams who helped us to make shift happen…

This is still part of the story…

Marcus Romer
Artistic Director
Pilot Theatre

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

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


Skype Production meeting for R&J #kissbythebook

24 Aug

Chloe Lamford and Richard Howell live on skype for our production meeting today – saving travelling up from London

#greenmeetings are us!

Shift Happens: ALT Shift 2010 #shifthappens

19 Jul

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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