ArtsAlive.ca – Persuading Presence
image:Tour the Collection With guest curator Scott McKowen

Tour the Collection
With guest curator Scott McKowen

Season Posters

image:Centre National des Arts Theatre Francais Denis Marleau, directeur artistique 01/02 image:Centre National Des Arts Théâtre Français Denis Marleau, directeur artistique 02/03 Abonnez-Vous! image:Centre National Des Arts, Théâtre Français, Denis Marleau, directeur artistique 03/04 - Abonnez-Vous ! image:Centre National des Arts - Théâtre Français 05/06 Abonnez-vous! image:English Theatre 04/05 Marti Maraden Artistic Director image:The National Arts Centre English Theatre - Peter Hinton Artistic Director 07-08 Season

In addition to the hundreds of posters created for individual plays, NAC programming departments produce “season” posters. These images are interesting because they illustrate the overall artistic vision of the department.

Denis Marleau, artistic director of Théâtre français from 2001/02 to 2007/08, created a brilliant “image in print” for his programming. The images are eclectic, varied, surprising and mysterious.

The 2001/02 season poster featured a highly theatrical painting by Honoré Daumier from the collection of the National Gallery – a shadowy figure descending from some great height on a rope. I recall the 20-foot banner on the side of the NAC that year. It looked like a giant rappelling down the side of the theatre!

In 2002/03, photographer Gilbert Duclos created a series of black and white portraits of principal actors in the season in various locations around Ottawa and Montreal. The selected poster image shows Gabriel Gascon peering into a window at the National Gallery. In 2003/04 the season poster showed a ghostly face superimposed over a flight of stone steps, which lead up and off the page.

Robert Lepage’s Le Projet Andersen (2006) was a highlight of the 2005/06 season. The poster was from a series of images featuring actors’ hands and shows Lepage wearing a silver metallic top hat which seems to be transforming the rest of him – starting with his fingertips – into the same material.

I had the pleasure of designing the marketing materials for several of Marti Maraden’s English Theatre seasons. For her 2004/05 season, Marti had chosen many plays that seemed to reflect specific historical moments in the twentieth century. To capture this, we selected vintage black and white fine-art photography for all the play images. The series included works by Kertész, Lartigue, Lewis Hine, Baron de Meyer, and Lee Miller. The season poster featured a 1934 photograph of an intrepid boy caught in a summer rainstorm, perched on two rickety folding chairs: a metaphor for the optimistic, unlikely magic of theatre itself.

When Peter Hinton took over as artistic director of English Theatre, a campaign was devised showing a variety of people wearing white t-shirts with the slogan “There’s a Theatre in here,” with circles and arrows drawn over the type to indicate that “in here” refers to our individual perspectives. It’s a great way to suggest the diversity of the theatre’s audience. On the 2007/08 season poster, designed by orangetango, this shirt is worn by a woman in a seventeenth-century painting, which supports the season’s tag line: “Great Classics for the Modern Stage.”