CURTAIN CALL: A YEAR BACKSTAGE IN LONDON THEATRE

BOOKS, LONDON, PHOTOGRAPHY, SELF PUBLISHING
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Description

STOP PRESS: This book was shortlisted for a British Book Design & Production Award. Click here to see the full list of nominees.

All images of the book ©Matt Humphrey and John Schwab
All photography ©Matt Humphrey

The book is available to buy from the Curtain Call online shop

Curtain Call is a company set up by John Schwab and Matt Humphrey which promotes and celebrates London theatre. Their website is a content-rich hub for theatre reviews and images and a place for its professionals to connect. To launch the company and to add a further dimension to this new business they also collaborated on a book, covering the shows they saw in the year or so leading up to publication.

Using their bank of knowledge and contacts from years of experience in that world they gained amazing behind-the-scenes access and amassed an enormous amount of great material.

They took their idea to a self-publishing agency who helped them edit and otherwise develop the material and a design to go with John’s text and Matt’s photography.

I got involved as an additional part of that publishing team, adding the necessary specification, supplier, pre-press and print knowledge needed to make the thing a physical reality.

The photos were mostly taken using only available light so were often characterised by eye-socking combinations of dark shadow areas and vivid stage lighting. The design used lots of black backgrounds which showcased the images brilliantly. The production challenge was to ensure the blacks were rich and solid, but using CMYK values which would harmonise with the images and which could be reproduced consistently in print. A four colour black used extensively across double page spreads in a large format book is a daring thing to attempt, but working closely with the printer and pre-press repro company we found a really good approach. The backgrounds and the shadow areas of the photos blended together seamlessly and we ensured text remained legible where it was knocked out of black and other colours.

Working closely with the designer and with Matt I managed the digital photography and the design layout files through the pre-press process ensuring we reproduced them accurately.  I got Matt, John, the designer and others from the agency together to see the proofs so they could check through and approve everything before it all went off to press, before taking the material through the manufacturing and delivery.

The schedule was very demanding, but we got the job done in time for the Olivier Awards in March.

Portfolio

  • Published March 2016, by Matt Humphrey and John Schwab
  • Development and costing of specification, identification of appropriate repro and print suppliers
  • Overall project management including print buying, purchasing, scheduling, logistics
  • Colour-managed design and image reproduction and proofing to FOGRA standards
  • 245 x 290mm landscape; Hardback with printed paper case; 408 pages