Even though the festival runs during the summer months, the preparation for a season begins as soon as one ends. Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival admin staff are on duty year round, piecing together every part of what makes an enjoyable summer for our patrons, new and experienced!

When it comes to our Marketing department, one of the most exciting projects on the list is our advance photography shoot. Some of the actors from each production are invited to the photography studio where Bard favourites, David and Emily Cooper, take the photos that represent each play. These are the images we use in our season brochure, house program, website and any promotion for the festival. 

David and Emily help us to bring the vision to life, creating the right atmosphere with technical elements like lighting, and making them more dynamic by layering the images with graphics once we narrow down our favourites. It’s a full day of shooting including beautiful costumes, makeup and overall creative direction from Dean Paul Gibson. This year’s plays meant channeling steampunk one day, and the 1920s the next!

Carey Williams was our talented makeup artist for our Comedy of Errors shoot. She’s been working in makeup and special effects for years, using her skills not only for photo shoots, but film, television and commercials too. For Antipholus, we drew inspiration from films and magazines, pulling images like Johnny Depp’s look in Sweeney Todd. Dromio’s look was a bit grittier, turning our lovely actress into a manly sidekick before our eyes. With a steampunk theme, the costuming meant lots of layering, with vests, cravats, top hats and intricate goggles. Dean Paul Gibson dressed our actors with the help of Stevie Hale-Jones, who has worked with Bard as a dresser and was also our hair stylist for the Love’s Labour’s Lost shoot.

Love’s Labour’s Lost brought the roaring 20s alive in the studio, with flapper dresses and slickly dressed gentlemen on set. Some of our inspiration was taken from The Great Gatsby, with the ladies’ looks channeling those of the Downton Abbey upper class. We were lucky enough to have four extras join us for the day – Anais, Chris, Graeme and Shauna stepped in to set the party mood with vintage style and instruments. Stevie styled the ladies with a period finger wave, and we added a beautifully subtle 1920s makeup look. David and Emily added coloured lighting, some music to dance to and a little fog, and the party was in full swing. 

Check out our extras posing for the camera in this video we took on set!

A video posted by @bardonthebeach on

Our days in the studio are just the beginning – there’s still more work to be done before the photos become the polished images you see in our season brochure. We’re not quite ready to reveal our 2015 actors, but be sure to sign up for our Bard e-newsletter to be the first to hear the latest and see the finished product!