At this time of year it is good to reflect on the past twelve months, so I thought I would display some of my theatre and dance work of 2014, putting more of an emphasis on shows I haven’t previously blogged. I am extremely fortunate in that I get to shoot some excellent productions across the UK, from small fringe plays to big West End productions, and I love the variety of the shows. There are often pragmatic differences between shooting at a sixty seater venue than a one that holds 2500 people, but ultimately it is about capturing those few moments that encapsulate the show.
This year I have been lucky enough to work on a lot of UK tours. I shot the Jersey Boys rehearsal images in London but I travelled to Manchester and Sunderland to take production images. Shrek the Musical rehearsed in the capital, but opened in Leeds. In 2014 I also worked in Plymouth, Bristol, Stratford-upon Avon, Birmingham, Salford, Stoke on Trent, Bradford, Southampton and Cardiff. The quality of theatres across the UK is superb, and it has been a pleasure to visit so many cities.
Please click on a thumbnail to see larger images.
I was also asked to take studio photographs of the cast of Shrek for promotional use. Check out my previous blog post to view more images and see a video of the shoot.
I travelled to Bristol for The Roof by Fuel. It was such an unusual show, part theatre, part dance, part movement, and very compelling. Unfortunately it rained heavily on both nights of the dress rehearsals, so I was only able to take a few images before the rehearsals were called off. What little I did manage to photograph was intriguing and very dynamic. As a photographer working in the performing arts, this is one of the many times you need to react to the situation and deal with you hand you are given. It can be frustrating to lose the opportunity to shoot the show from start to finish, but I always know that however difficult it is for me, it is even harder for the cast and crew who are usually opening the next day. It is excellent when you manage to get the images despite the conditions – and the feeling that you have managed to succeed against the odds is one of the many reasons I relish live photography. On the opposite end of the spectrum I photographed The Mousetrap Tour, a London institution, it has had a very successful tour across the UK and Ireland. Conditions could not be more different – we took the images during a photocall which meant the photos were set up for me and then lines of the play were run. The director and I moved the cast around to get the best looking photos, and these are then displayed front of house at the venues and in the local press when the play comes to town.
The Lyric Hammersmith in London is one of my favourite venues – and it was one of my earliest theatre clients. This year I captured three of their Secret Theatre productions, Show 4, Show 5 and Show 6, and also photographed promotional images for them. I was in Kingston, at the Rose theatre for Hetty Feather – a dramatisation of Jacqueline Wilson’s best selling books and at the Arcola Theatre in Hackney for Tamasha’s My Name Is…
In April I travelled to Stratford-upon-Avon to the Swan Theatre for the Royal Shakespeare Company’s The Roaring Girl, and The Witch of Edmonton. Also for the RSC, I was asked to shoot more production images of the London production of Matilda the Musical after their recast. I have been extremely lucky this year to have shot an extremely wide range of shows, from Beauty and the Beast in Istanbul, Frantic Assembly’s The Believers, Rifco’s Happy Birthday Sunita featuring the phenomenal Shabana Azmi, One Snowy Night at the Discover Children’s Story Centre and the Donmar’s Henry IV. Please click on the thumbnails to see larger images.
I also shoot promotional images using studio lighting and this year I shot a number of images for posters. Please click on the thumbnails to see larger images:
I have shot some fantastic dance performances in 2014, including Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake and Lord of the Flies and the Royal Ballet’s Don Quixote.
Sometimes the line between dance and theatre becomes very blurred – in the summer I took rehearsal images for Guys and Dolls for the Chichester Festival Theatre, which was choreographed by the ballet star Carlos Acosta.
Here are some more of my rehearsal images, including Terence Rattigan’s Variation on a Theme, the RSC’s Matilda and The Witch of Edmonton, Memphis and The Believers.
It is great shooting portraiture, although it is very different to a lot of the other work I do. Ideally with rehearsal and production photography the subjects should be unaware you are there. In reality this is difficult to achieve as most people are very camera conscious, but even so you tend to keep your distance during the shoot and observe rather than interact. When taking a portrait the photographer and subject need to have a rapport, it is my job to help the sitter relax and trust me, and normally this needs to be done very quickly. I love talking to my subjects, and getting to know them a little better, and last year was no exception. Here are a few of the images I took this year, including Ian Reddington for Oh What a Lovely War!