14 March 2019Hi MLE,I saw Mike Leigh's "The Pirates of Penzance" for the first time at the English National Opera almost two years ago and quite liked it. So, when I heard that Sasha Regan's version was coming to Wilton's Music Hall, I thought I'd go see how it compares. And I'm so happy I did. I loved it!The female characters are played by men, and this is largely what makes this version so memorable. It just works perfectly to emphasise Gilbert and Sullivan’s already funny libretto and overly feminine females and masculine males.The entire all-male cast is brilliant. To me, it was Alan Richardson as Ruth who stood out most. Her mouth says some things, while her face and body say something totally different. She is sensitive, ruthless and hilarious.The audience followed along with ease and enthusiasm, captivated from beginning to the standing ovation at the end. By comparison, I felt that Mike Leigh’s more traditional version was harder for the modern audience to properly appreciate, as it should.After the show, the energy of the happy crowd leaving the 160-year-old Wilton’s Music Hall made me wonder if this was what the original performances felt like, 140 years ago in New York.Yes, The Pirates of Penzance premiered in New York rather than London, which is odd, as Gilbert and Sullivan were Londoners and the script is very much British. There was quite a good reason for this. At the time, American law offered absolutely no copyright protection to foreigners. This lead to hundreds of American companies mounting unauthorised British productions that often took considerable liberties with the text and paid no royalties to the creators. Gilbert and Sullivan decided to open the production themselves on Broadway, and delay the publication of the score and libretto, so that others could not copy it. This was successful for about ten years, when they inevitably lost control of the copyrights again.Suzan
11 September 2018
I am so pleased to say that Brigitte's site is now live. Her work is amazing, Brigitte herself is absolutely lovely to work with. The gorgeous imagery is showcased in a fluid fashion that is easy to access for busy directors and agents.
Well, back to work after one of our busiest summers...
17 February 2017Hi MLE,
Creative Review design magazine complied a list of their Top 20 logos of all time, and it’s been really interesting to learn about these logos that have stood the test of time. I’ll share with you the main points of each one, starting with the National Theatre logo…Concept Development- Henrion himself, the founder of FHK Henrion’s London studio pitched a concept, but it was not chosen:- Instead the concept of one of his design assistants, Ian Dennis, was chosen. Inspiration was found in the “NT” on the cover of one of the trendy magazine’s of 1974, Avant Guard:
- The logo went through a number of iterations, luckily including the removal of a curved outline around the logo, because it was hard to reproduce in hand cut vinyl.- The official version just happened to echo the brutalist architecture of the National Theatre, though this was not intentional, as Denis had never even really seen the building as it was under construction at the time:Its Success- Practically, it is really great to use. It reads well and looks great in very small and very large sizes. Roughly square, it fits perfectly into landscape and portrait formats:- Over time, it was decided that the full name needs to be more prominent, so a much less memorable generic logo was created that is used most often:
Have a nice weekend!
13 January 2017
Purni Morell is the artistic director of the Unicorn Theatre here in London. I first met her when we met to redesign their site. She impressed me right away by the way she envisioned creating children’s theatre. Create it as you would any other theatre. Treat children like equals. Don’t dumb down.
This was quite different from my experience. Perhaps this is partly due to being from North America, where so much is dumbed down, it seems…
In this article for The Stage, Purni says, “I’m often asked why it is that there is so much excellent work for children coming out of Belgium, Holland, Germany and Scandinavia. I don’t think it’s about funding or longer rehearsal periods or purpose-built buildings – most of that is not true anyway, much the same pressures apply there as here. No, simply, in those countries, children are treated as people, with respect… In those countries, children start school later, they have fewer tests, and society gives them room to discover who they are, to understand adults and to be understood by them, as equals.”
My husband Daniel and I see shows at the Unicorn all the time and we love it. Just as good, and often even better, and ‘adult’ theatre.
Purni goes on to list five things to change in children’s theatre in the UK, summarised below:
1) Stop treating theatre for children as ‘provision’ and start treating it as art.
- More commissioning does not necessarily create better art.
- Until theatre for children is commissioned and created by artists in the same way as any other piece of work, we are doing our children a disservice.
2) Just call it all theatre and don’t focus so much on differentiating who it is for.
- Stop using phrases TYA (theatre for young people); CYP (children and young people) etc.
- Really great work reaches everyone, regardless of age.
3) Stop using the words ‘charming’, ‘enchanting’ and ‘magical’ in marketing copy and in reviews.
- Nobody of any age, considers his or her life to be in any way charming, enchanting or magical. Fascinating, yes. Interesting, yes. Confusing, complex, extraordinary, astonishing, changeable – yes, yes, yes.
- We go to theatre for more interesting and complicated reasons. And so do children.
4) Adults experience the theatre with kids as you would with adults.
- Pay attention to what children are listening to in the theatre without interfering, offering beverages, shushing or asking whether everything is okay or whether they understand.
5) An end to all-white casts, across the board.
As Purni says, “Children are not the future. They are the present. They’re actually here, now. Let’s start making better art on that basis.”
24 December 2016
It's that time of year again for annual reviews of everything - which I quite really like. Something satisfying about an annual review.
Just got the one above from one of our clients, Wilton's Music Hall, it's lovely, thought I'd share. At a time when theatres are really struggling from funding cuts, rent rises and so on, it's great to see that Wilton's is doing really well. John Wilton opened his "Magnificent New Music Hall" in 1859 and after much hard work and campaigning, it is once again a great performance venue.
The site we built for Wilton's is here.
Bring on 2017!