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We had our first (and possibly last) poster and promo shoot for Smitten this past weekend.

It was a tight squeeze timewise on Saturday night but we managed to get a large amount of content, both for our poster and for a series of promo photos and images. Bases were covered all round!

It was also the first time we had all 10 members of the cast in costume and looking like their characters so it was doubly exciting. Our crack team of theatre professionals worked overtime to get everything up to speed and between props, make up and costume the look of the Smitten characters was brought roaring to life. It’s really at this point in a production where it starts to come to life as the actors finally get to grips with their costumes and how they look.

Again, it was another green screen job like the Shifting poster before it. We set up 3 green screens (2 for backdrop and 1 for the floor) in No. 76 on Saturday afternoon, spent a few hours lighting it and test shooting and then we let fly with the promo shots.

We tried hitting the town to get some exterior promo shots but rain + Kilkenny City on a Saturday night = Disaster. So we had to abort mission before returning back to the Arts Office to complete our shoot.

The concept of the poster is going to be very much in the style of a 1950’s movie poster and like the teaser poster has a whole load of rain and umbrellas. We’ll keep it all under wraps (and the characters) until the big reveal later on this week.

Keep an eye tuned in here and on the Devious Theatre website.

Every time we’re just about to start the heavy promo for the next show we’ve got coming up, you can usually find myself (Ken), John, Paddy and anyone else who’s involved in the hands-on side of things standing around asking ourselves “why do we do it?” On normal Sunday mornings everyone else is tucked up in their bed, rolling over for a second sleep but at Devious Theatre it’s absolutely all systems go and yesterday was no different.

The days turn into nights here at No. 76 and likewise the weeks run into weekends as we’ve taken to running things seven days a week since Scratcher. So yesterday, true to tradition of our promotional poster shoots, we found ourselves setting up lights, green screens, moving furniture and everything else besides from the early hours of a Sunday morning for the cast to clock in at 10:30am to get into costume, makeup and everything else that was required.

The only thing we’ll tell you for now is that the promo material involves a couch – and that’s all you’re getting for the moment. Our thanks to Susan and Terry (VibrantIreland.com) for the donation of the couch for the production. We were told it was going to be a comfy couch with plenty of room for men sitting down and it’s living up to everything we thought it would be.

But at the end of the day, we take great pride in our promotional material. You’ve seen the videos from Scratcher posted here on the blog already, along with the promotional imagery that was used for the play. Those on the Friends Of programme may have a small but growing collection of DVDs complete with custom artwork for each production while the front of No. 76 is also becoming a gallery to show posters and photos from previous productions.

We put the time and effort into planning and plotting these shoots, making use of green screens, multiple cameras, lighting setups, picking locations, days, times and everything else because, when it comes down to promoting a show – and promoting a show effectively – these things matter. The process has become second nature to us after five years of early morning setups leading to late nights at the desk but if there’s one thing we couldn’t stress enough as a theatre company, particularly when you’re starting out, is to never skimp on your promotional material. Ever.

With Heart Shaped Vinyl (2007 version) we took the bold step of creating not one, but six individual posters for the show. With Cannibal! The Musical (2007) a conversation over breakfast one morning lead us to recreating the last supper over two mornings. With Trainingspotting (2008) we had our main poster, plus an individual poster for every cast member and their back story, shot at different locations over a two week period. With Stags and Hens we built a fake pub toilet for all the images that went into the main poster, plus created different posters and photos for elements within the show (like shooting for a gig poster for the fictional band in the show, appearing in 1978, which we would go on to hang in the toilets in the theatre).

On one side, we do it because we can do it. We’re lucky to have, within our core group, film makers, graphic designers, photographers, sound designers and more (some people wearing a lot more than one hat) but more importantly we do it because we know it will capture attention. It will turn heads. It will, hopefully, bring people through the door and into a seat on the night of a performance. That time, at the weekend, pays great dividends in the long run.

Lesson for the day aside, you’re about to get more of the same from us for Shifting. Yesterday’s photo shoot at No. 76 went down great with the cast, yielded some great shots and thanks to the quick assembly work of one Paddy Dunne, should yield some fantastic promotional posters as well. But for now, all you’re getting is a couch. You can figure the rest out.

With the photos done, next weekend we move onto the video side of things for the first of the promotional trailers for Shifting. If you’ve already seen enough and you’re looking for tickets then look no further – you can get your tickets online here (with secure payment).

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Art at No. 76

The aim and focus of the Art Residency at No. 76 is to enable the successful applicant to research and develop their practice. Other aims of the residency are to: give insights into how and why artists create their work, build relationships and further promote the Arts, provide an awareness and further appreciation of the Arts, cultivate and develop new audiences. The Kilkenny Arts Office is part of ArtLinks.ie

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