Believe it or not, we feel quite strongly about the power of media and so naturally we keep our eye out for interesting and thought-provoking articles. This week, The Times published the results of a study of facial expressions in film posters and how powerful this visual tool can be in connection to human emotion. As it turns out, the emotion of the person in the poster plays a huge part in attracting audiences. After all, we know that every face and every picture tells a story.
Read the full findings of the study here.
This got us thinking. What about theatre posters? And what makes them successful? And just how much is this influenced by personal taste?
Having lots displayed around the office and seeing them every day on the London Underground, The Corner Shop team are continuously engaged and inspired by theatre posters. It did not take long for a discussion to arise after the innocent question ‘do you have a favourite theatre poster?’ That is when it became apparent how diverse theatre posters can be. Take a look below at which ones we love and why.
Spring Awakening (Novello Theatre, 2009)
Clean, compelling, contemporary, sexy and striking. Need I say more?
Bugsy Malone (Lyric Hammersmith, 2016)
Grime-y yet glamorous and relevant. I love the sepia colour effect they’ve used on the image.
Hamlet (Barbican, 2015)
I got swept up in the hype and paid a bundle for a ticket to this. What stuck with me most though was the poster. The kids look so sinister and scary, it’s just great.
Mr Burns (Almeida Theatre, 2014)
I think Mr Burns was a transcendent piece of art which comments on everything from how humans form civilisations, to how pop culture is consumed and legitimised, to who gets to document history. And I love the poster: a rough sketch of the iconic outline of Bart Simpson, which jars with the title and story of the play, with the title written in a font which if you look at it quickly could be the one used on the title card of The Simpsons.
The Duchess of Malfi (The Old Vic, 2012)
I think this image for Jamie Lloyd’s Duchess of Malfi at The Old Vic is just perfect, the lighting is gorgeous and Eve Best looks fierce and utterly fabulous!
Royal Court Season Artwork (2016/2017)
I absolutely LOVE the new Royal Court season artwork. I’m a big fan of graphic art and design, especially when it’s pared down and minimal. Shapes, words and colour. By applying a uniformity to the look and feel across their season, and taking a non literal, visual approach, The Royal Court has achieved that difficult thing in a crowded market place proper stand out. It’s a bolder move than it might initially seem and it’s going to be a hard act to follow for their next season. I spent way more time looking at this artwork than any other poster in at least a decade and I’d gladly hang it on my wall.
Wicked (Apollo Victoria Theatre, 2001)
This image has become a contemporary icon, not just in the theatre community but with people the world over. It’s what I like to call ‘edgy camp’. Elphaba’s wry smile conveys the knowing humour of the show perfectly while Glinda’s flamboyant whisper promises a jolly good scandal. I’ve often thought of having it painted on a feature wall in my bedroom.
The Bluest Eye (Leeds Theatre Brown University, 2012)
I love the combination of the colours as well as how it incorporates religion with the Amazing Grace as well as the ‘In God We Trust’ on the coin, the broken thread as a break from family ties, slavery and history.
Equus (The National Theatre, 1975)
I just remember seeing it (not in 1975 FYI) and thinking it was so much cooler than the endless slew of headshots in boring paint-by-numbers film posters.
Equus (Broadhurst Theatre, 2008)
The merging between horse and boy is so clever. Its intriguing, sensual and confusing … everything the play is!
Wonder.land (The National Theatre, 2016)
I really loved the National Theatre’s wonder.land poster. They have completely reinvented the Cheshire cat as I’ve never seen it before and it looks dark and magical. Also I love the digital style that makes it seem very relevant. Sometimes the Alice in Wonderland story can come across a bit whimsical but this poster has serious ‘street-cred.’
Let the Right One In (National Theatre Scotland, 2014)
Call me biased but I LOVE this poster shot by acclaimed Scottish photographer, Albert Watson. It’s from the first production (in 2013) when National Theatre of Scotland staged it at Dundee Rep Theatre. Jack Thorne adapted the stage version from the cult vampire fiction novel and screenplay by Swedish writer John Ajvide Lindqvist with direction by John Tiffany. I just love the simplicity of it, the tight head shot, gender neutral style and touches of teeth(!) and blood.
Medea (Almeida, 2015)
I loved all the posters for the Almeida Greeks season. Especially Medea. So gory and yet she is so composed. It’s completely chilling. Absolutely perfect for the play.
The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre
One of the best dance posters, not using a dancer.
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