We provide regular creative direction for OperaUpClose’s productions to help their shows reach both traditional opera fans and possible opera converts. We produce eye-catching visuals in a range of formats, that range from digital gifs to print advertisements for the underground. We have also worked with them on experiential marketing and press campaigns.
OUC came to OLGA at the concept stage. We worked with the Artistic Director, Senior Producer and Set Designer, through to production.
OLGA supplied and briefed a photographer. This production at the Arcola Theatre aimed to attract audiences from North and East London. The OUC version of Onegin had a feminist twist, and the production was set in the ‘60s. Artwork needed to be gender neutral, so two sets of artwork were provided, one with Onegin and one with Tatyana, the strong female lead; these were used on the front and back of the flyer, and although the cost of doing so was slightly greater, an even number of posters were printed of each gender. A bold red background was employed to make the artwork more eye catching, and reminiscent of the Russian origin of the Tchaikovsky opera based on the Pushkin classic. We also needed to work collaboratively with the Arcola’s design department to ensure there was space in the upper right-hand corner, where Arcola’s text always appears, and that the custom font used by the Arcola theatre (called Arcola) would work with the overall design.
Create a bold, recognisable and versatile identity for OperaUpClose's Eugene Onegin featuring both of the opera's main characters. This would highlight the different spin this unique company put on the show, which gave prominence to the female protagonist.
We developed a strong, recognisable visual identity for the production that supported every area of the marketing plan and was effective across all media, from underground posters to mobile digital banners.
MARIA STUARDA I
There were two iterations of Maria Stuarda, which toured around historic houses (mostly owned by the National Trust). The production aimed to attract a more mature audience, but artwork still needed to convey the fact that OperaUpClose aims to do things boldly and differently.
The company came to OLGA as they began to plan the production, which would be a concert performance, rather than a fully staged production. The company planned to have the characters (queens) begin in power suits. As the performance progressed, each queen would add historical costume garments and, by the end of the performance, the queens would be in full period dress.
As funding for productions by independent companies can be a difficult chicken/egg scenario: high impact, effective marketing collateral is helpful in receiving sufficient funding to put on the shows, and yet until further funding was received, the company could not secure appropriate period attire that they wanted to feature in the artwork surrounding the show.
OLGA suggested a design concept that would convey the costume concept at minimal cost. The queens were photographed in power suits (the company chose red and blue to represent England vs Scotland) and OLGA illustrated period garments over the top. We also created video gifs that showed the garments being added, piece by piece, which can be seen set to music here.
MARIA STUARDA II
Following the success of Maria Stuarda I, there was appetite to create a fully staged performance. OperaUpClose approached OLGA with a new design brief: to create a memorable artwork to attract a mature, sophisticated audience to shows at other unusual venues around the country, including churches and abbeys. The singer playing Mary Queen of Scots was photographed in The Charterhouse, London, and we selected a tapestry photograph to work from. The resulting artwork is above and to the left.
THE MAGIC FLUTE
Design, Experiential Marketing & PR
Increase OperaUpClose’s social media following and get more people to attend The Magic Flute at Soho Theatre. Opera is considered an expensive and elitist activity that’s difficult to understand, but OUC’s aim is to make the artform more diverse, emotionally direct and intellectually stimulating for as many people as possible. Our main challenge was to overcome aversion based on assumptions about opera as an artform.
We created a campaign based on the opera’s core themes of compassion and love, two things which everyone can understand. The idea was to allow access to discounted tickets in exchange for sharing. Anyone who followed OperaUpClose on social media and shared one thing they’d done for love using the hashtag THIS4LOVE got the code for £10 tickets.
Key elements for success
Fun factor – we made and distributed bespoke boxes of melody pops with instructions on how to participate in the campaign around London’s cafes, bookshops and theatres. Our aim was to target not just opera enthusiasts, but writers, readers, tourists, and people looking for weekend activities.
Social media assets – with the participation of OperaUpClose cast we created vox pops and bright imagery to share on social media in order to encourage participation and spread hashtag use.
Social media swap – with Soho-based members’ club House of St Barnabas to target a local audience interested in the arts and charity.
Paid social – we worked with Target Live on activity to boost uptake of the promotional offer on Twitter and Instagram.
Media coverage – we approached popular digital magazines to include the promotion and the opera in their activities sections, and were featured in The Pool’s ‘Top Weekend Things To Do’