P R O D U C T I O N
Behind the scenes at Birmingham Repertory Theatre
PRODUCTION tells the story of a side to the Rep that is unknown to the majority of theatre goers. The exhibition documents the life of a producing theatre as a manufacturing organisation. Shot over 2 months, the images show the materials, processes, skills, and above all the hard work of the crafts people who work behind the scenes at the theatre to bring a show to life.
I was given access to all areas of Birmingham Repertory Theatre during a residency project last year. During this time I shot over 600 black and white images capturing the spirit and fundamental nature of the only producing theatre in the city and one of the biggest in the country. The pictures tell the story of a theatre as a manufacturing organisation – the theatre craftsmanship that operates behind the scenes at the city’s theatre in Centenary Square, from the making to the workers, the materials to the finished props. PRODUCTION featured 100 black and white photographs from my residency at the theatre including a large panoramic picture of the theatre’s main stage and auditorium built in 1971, striking images of people at work, and more intricate images of crafting and making. The results were shown in a special exhibition, PRODUCTION, which was held at Medicine Bakery and Gallery, the old gallery space of the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists on Birmingham’s New Street from 28 June – 5 August. Occupying the whole of Medicine Gallery, the exhibition itself wase designed and built by The REP’s Scenic workshop, using the materials and the same creative approach used in building theatre productions. The exhibition was sponsored by the creative agency Colour Cubed.
Each year Birmingham Repertory Theatre presents 80 productions across its three stages many of which are commissioned, built, rehearsed and premiered in the city. A number of productions then also go on to tour nationally and internationally showcasing theatre made in Birmingham to a wider audience. The theatre houses a large set construction workshop where they make each component part of a set from timber and steel, a scenic paintshop where all sets and props are brought to life with colour and where artistic talent is used to create spectacular scenery, a small props workshop which makes realistic-looking objects such as moving models and puppets for use on stage and a wardrobe department which creates costumes.
The exhibition was featured heavily in local and national press including the homepage of BBC News.
The exhibition featured a video (below) explaining the work which was produced by the videographer Jamie Parr.
The exhibition featured over 100 black and white images that depicted the work of the producing theatre, a small selection of which can be seen below.
E X H I B I T I O N P O S T E R