Jeremy Corbyn and the art of the theatre publicity pic

In Features, London theatre, Opinion, Pantomimes, Photos, Plays by Terri PaddockLeave a Comment

When news of the Park Theatre’s pantomime, Rapunzel, came through earlier this year, I remember clocking the name of the hero character Prince Corbyn – names are never a coincidence when it comes to pantomimes, surely?

But had naming considerations also played a part in casting the role? Finding an actor named Alex Hope to play Corbyn in a fairy tale story really was just too good to be true.

Of course, I should have anticipated the inevitable publicity photo, as well. The clever people at the Park invited the real Jeremy Corbyn – who, in addition to being Labour leader is the venue’s local MP (for Islington North) and a “long-time supporter of Park Theatre’s work” – along this past week to meet his namesake. Corbyn even agreed to pose with some cheeky puppets – not Spitting Image-style political punchbags, by “Fairy Jane” and “Fairy John” who feature in the show.

Click to view slideshow.

Whatever my feelings about Corbyn’s performance as leader of the Labour Party (of which I am a member), I love MPs who champion theatre, especially their local theatres, so this gets a big thumbs-up from me.

Having a willing famous person – especially one who so dominates the headlines at the moment – is a big bonus when planning a photo opp that makes commentators like me take notice. What else?

Well, speak to a good photographer (and you definitely need one of those) about composition, lighting and the rest, but also on the checklist must be:

Famous person being shown out of context
Famous person with impossibly gorgeous sidekicks
Famous person doing something laugh-out-loud silly….

Click to view slideshow.

On these scores, my favourite publicity pics this year, and possibly of all time, were the series released in September of the inimitable Christopher Biggins, dressed as an RAF servicewoman, being carried around the foyer of the Dominion Theatre by some extremely hunky soldiers, ahead of the West End Heroes concert Biggins hosted there.

The PR for that, Kevin Wilson, told me this was one of the most fun photoshoots he’d ever organised, non-stop laughter. It shows. And that may be one of the most important, “secret” ingredients for a great shot: humour.

Rapunzel opens tonight (7 December 2015) at the Park Theatre, where it continues until 2 January 2016.

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Terri Paddock
Terri Paddock runs the Terri Paddock Group, which provides content and social media marketing services for theatre clients across channels including MyTheatreMates.com, StageFaves.com, Stage Talk and TerriPaddock.com. Previously,
Terri Paddock founded WhatsOnStage.com and the WhatsOnStage Awards, running the company and its events from 1996 to 2013. Terri is also the author of two novels, Come Clean and Beware the Dwarfs, and has previously written for the Evening Standard, Independent, The Times and other national publications. She is renowned for her 'legendary' post-show Q&As and also produces the annual Critics' Circle Theatre Awards and acts as a digital, content strategy and event consultant for theatre, producers and other clients. She tweets about theatre at @TerriPaddock.
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Terri Paddock on FacebookTerri Paddock on InstagramTerri Paddock on LinkedinTerri Paddock on TwitterTerri Paddock on Youtube
Terri Paddock
Terri Paddock runs the Terri Paddock Group, which provides content and social media marketing services for theatre clients across channels including MyTheatreMates.com, StageFaves.com, Stage Talk and TerriPaddock.com. Previously,
Terri Paddock founded WhatsOnStage.com and the WhatsOnStage Awards, running the company and its events from 1996 to 2013. Terri is also the author of two novels, Come Clean and Beware the Dwarfs, and has previously written for the Evening Standard, Independent, The Times and other national publications. She is renowned for her 'legendary' post-show Q&As and also produces the annual Critics' Circle Theatre Awards and acts as a digital, content strategy and event consultant for theatre, producers and other clients. She tweets about theatre at @TerriPaddock.

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