Marking the 40th anniverary of the Olivier Awards and our second collaboration with theatre designer Tom Piper, this exhibition immerses the visitor in the behind the scenes world of West End and Broadway theatre production.
The challenge was to create a dramatic, immersive graphic language that could support the theatrical narrative but also hold and convey the content with clarity. We wanted to explore scale and the architectural differences between London and New York and photographed a number of theatres and street views in both cities to capture the subtle sense of illusion as the buildings loom above street level.
These images were further distorted as a basis for creating the large illustrated backdrops. Each highly detailed illustration was designed to place the visitor in the scene and draw them through the space.
The idea of playing with the perspective views one might have when looking up at the billboards and theatre signs when strolling through both theatre districts, was also reflected in the graphic interpretation.
Curtain Up is a joint collaboration between the V&A and The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center, where it will be on display from October 2016, part of a year-long programme of activity organised by the Society of London Theatre to celebrate 40 years of the Olivier Awards.