Tag: Theatre Lovett

Show Programme > They Called Her Vivaldi

“A show that leaves nothing unconsidered. (Even its show programme, a witty continuation of the performance by Kate Heffernan, is a work of art.)”

Irish Times

The 4th in my series of show programmes for Theatre Lovett went into circulation this week – for the opening of They Called Her Vivaldi and its month-long run at the Abbey Theatre (if you’re reading this before December 23rd, you can book tickets here.)

For this series of special show programmes, I start by sitting down with the script and, with the production design aesthetic in mind, I imagine each world to its fullest.

From this I write a full text before designing it into a programme-sized publication (have a look at the 3 previous programmes here.)

Written by Louis Lovett, They Called her Vivaldi is set in the imagined city of Triste, a metropolis carefully controlled by its cobble washers. The main characters (Cecilia Maria and her father) run a haberdashery, with buckets a large part of their trade. Throughout the play, things start to go missing, and Cecilia Maria sets out to find who is responsible.

So I pitched this 12-page show programme as a vintage tourist magazine, an official publication of The Cobble Washers Guild. The Guild sets about trying to encourage visitors to visit their city which may in recent years have acquired a reputation for robberies. The city’s slogan – “Triste: Leave Lighter” becomes an unfortunate allusion to the tendency of personal property to disappear. 

As always, the programme pokes gentle fun at the format of show programmes and is full of ‘advertisements’ drawn from the world of the play – all for Haberdashers of Triste in this case, and many trying to sell buckets and bucket-related paraphernalia.

There’s a Bucket List for the Grand Big Bucket Sale; the Dear Liza Bucket Puncture Repair Kit; the Dear Henry Vessel Replacement Scheme. There’s an ad for Gambas & Mermaid Organic Seaweed Detox Baths, Squeaky Feet Shoes, Auroara Oarealis Oars. 

Voiceless characters are given voices. In his Thimble-Sized Thesaurus, Timmy Thimbles explains the meaning of words from the play. Sebastian Sweep of the Cobble Washers Guild details the awards the city has won (including a Bronze Medal in Synchronised Street Sweeping at the 2014 Cobblewealth Games). 

 

And in a rare dialogue, the Narrator discusses the loneliness of narration. 

Elsewhere, there’s a pizza recipe (sponsored by Vesuvio’s Bucket-Fired Pizza). There’s a Word Search for all the items beginning with B for sale at Haberdashers (sponsored by Haberdashers of Triste). There’s paper folding instructions for the Zephyr Dell Peccadillo Paper Boat Canal Regatta. There’s an 8-step guide to dancing The Fandango (with dance move sketches taken from Louis’ rehearsal notebook). There’s tips on Invisible Sword Fighting. 

And 5 hats from Akram’s Hats of Weird have been hidden throughout the pages. 

This was another fun one to both write and design. 

They Called Her Vivaldi is a theatrical treat. Richly layered, its sheer attention to detail is just staggeringly good, right down to the lovingly detailed programme.”

theartsreview.com

 

Show Programme Series > Theatre Lovett

 

A real lesson in producing a programme, particularly for children” Lyn Gardner, The Guardian

Whether writing or designing, I have always been inspired by an attention to detail in production: the subversion of things we take for granted – the double-take.

My work on Theatre Lovett’s show programmes is dominated by this interest: taking something throw-away and turning the tables on it, subverting the audience’s expectation in terms of the aesthetic and the content.

This is particularly rewarding when working with the rich tapestries woven for young audiences by Theatre Lovett.

Working initially with company directors Muireann Ahern-Lovett and Louis Lovett, I then sit down with the script and, with the production design aesthetic in mind, I imagine each world to its fullest. From this I write a full text before designing it into a programme-sized publication.

Taking a sideways glance at what is happening on stage, the articles, fake ads, and interviews riff and expand upon the play’s imagined universe. I try to pack in as much content as possible, filling each page to the last, offering as many moments of recognition and reminder as possible for the young audiences.

I try to give a sly voice to voiceless and minor characters, while poking gentle fun at the format of show programmes – and at Theatre Lovett’s leading star (sorry, Louis!).

Originally called The Trumpeter, the series for Theatre Lovett began with an edition for The House That Jack Filled by Finegan Kruckemeyer. The story of an old hotel, Louis played every one of its vast cast of characters. The programme included an interview with Harrison the Housecat, Mr Truro’s Spectacular Guide to Playing the Spoons, a recipe for Crepes Suzette by mischievous twins Charlotte and Brian and a series of unusual hotel facts (including the mysterious story of the train on Track 61 and New York’s Waldorf Astoria hotel).

The Girl Who Forgot to Sing Badly (also by Finegan Kruckemeyer) has been performed at theatres and festivals all over the world. Its Peggy O’Hegarty comes from a family of packers, and the programme was thus pitched as a special edition packing manual. It included Peggy’s Packing Particulars, a series of facts about packing, Louis Lovett on Packing a Play, instructions for how to play a game called Packed Like Sardines and, lastly, sadly, an obituary for Hildegaard the mouse.

The latest was for A Feast of Bones. Originally produced for Dublin Theatre Festival in 2013, the edition was updated for its run at On the Edge Festival Birmingham and Baboró Galway in 2016. A Feast of Bones was set in a restaurant called Le Monde Bouleversé in the wake of World War I, and so its programme became a menu.

In its mix of wit and wisdom, Theatre Lovett’s show programme series is a beauty, capturing the humour, logical absurdity and intelligent detailing of Kate’s writing”Louis Lovett and Muireann Ahern, Theatre Lovett