Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Art of the Theatre Poster

Season of Anglo-Irish plays
 One of the most intriguing and valuable assets of the Druid theatre archive is its collection of posters. Ranging from the early days of Druid in 1976 right up recent years of major international and national tours by Druid, the series of posters offers an insight into the design, printing and use of theatre posters. The art of creating these posters have changed and developed along with the changing times, from hand drawn and sketched posters in pencil and ink to the latest high resolution photographic images.
The posters from the Druid archive are in general in good to excellent condition with very little degeneration in structure or stability throughout. The majority have been previously stored folded or rolled so the job of archiving the posters will involve the time consuming task of flattening the posters for optimum preservation and storage.

'At the Black Pig's Dyke'
by Vincent Woods.
 For researchers of print media, theatre studies, marketing, history of print or any such discipline these ephemeral sources are a fantastic asset. It is interesting to note that there is a trend among the posters that moves along the decades. Focus moves from the name of the play or playwright to an image of the actor or cast as the dominating feature of the poster. Irish actors became much more recognisable to Irish audiences in the late twentieth century, especially with greater exposure to those working on our TV screens, cinemas and those who earned great success in our media headlines for success abroad as well as at home.

'Sive' by John B. Keane. 2003.
 The art of the play poster has certainly moved from being a tool simply to advertise the date or place of a production. It is an art and it is a crucial tool in the exposure of a production to an audience. Associations between audiences in different regions or countries may react differently to a particular image used and therefore also interpret the theme and message of the play with varying reaction.
The Druid posters ranging from the 1970’s to the early 2000’s are an incredible resource and create a visual archive that is certainly a powerful representation of the legacy of Druid theatre.

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