Creating ‘The Snow Queen’ Image

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How did we go about creating the key image for this year’s epic Christmas production The Snow Queen? We unwrap all the details with our Strategy and Campaign Manager Karen Palmer, who led on the artistic process.


Tell us a little bit about yourself and your role at Bristol Old Vic
I’m Bristol Old Vic’s resident Aussie and the Strategy and Campaign Manager who oversees all marketing campaigns for the shows and events that come to our theatre.

A big part of that is working with the directors of our shows to create a picture that represents the story, look and feel of each production we make as well as trying to give people an idea of the kind of experience they will have should they choose to come along to the show.

What was your inspiration behind The Snow Queen key image?
Image generation for our Christmas campaign begins a loooooong time before we have a very clear idea of what the show might look and feel like. For The Snow Queen, we started work on the visual identity of the show in January 2016, starting with meeting the director of the show, Lee Lyford.

Based on that conversation, reading the original story and some lovely mood boards of inspiring images provided by the designer Tom Rogers, I wanted the show image to capture the struggle between good and evil, the shards of the mirror of opposites which is the action point for the show when a shard is stuck in Kai’s eye and finally, the lovely folksy world that Lee wanted to create that was the Village of the Yellow Roses.

How did you achieve your vision?
We started by commissioning local Bristol designers Extra Strong to work with us on the show image. Responding to our brief, they created a title treatment of broken mirror shards which we arranged to spell ‘The Snow Queen’, and animated it as well!

As we discovered more about the show throughout the year, I decided that we wanted both Kai and Gerda to appear in the artwork. The challenge around this was we didn’t know who the actors playing Kai and Gerda would be. Luckily, we had two wonderful young actors, Alyssa and Marcus, who are connected to Bristol Old Vic Young Company and previous Outreach shows and were willing to step in to be Kai and Gerda for our photoshoot.

The next step was to make the photoshoot happen! First we tapped the lovely photographer Jack Offord on the shoulder to help us bring the show image to life. We also had to style the shoot which involved a team trip to Bristol Costume Services in Filton which is a warehouse FULL to the brim of every costume you could possibly want (yes, we did try on A LOT of costumes). Here, we had some lovely costuming assistance from Emma Cains who helped style the look and feel of each character based on notes from the show designer Tom.

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After the photoshoot was finished, Extra Strong brought together the title treatment, the photographs of Kai and Gerda as well as finding a background that fitted the world of the show. The result – our lovely show image which represented elements of the story, has ties to the look and feel of the show and fits our sparkly title treatment.

Where’s the most exciting place it’s been displayed?
Hmm. This is a tough one as our Christmas campaign ends up all over Bristol. I think the large billboards look best – you might have seen them on North Street or perhaps at Welshback near Queen Square!

What was the funniest moment of the whole process?
Working with Marcus and Alyssa on the photoshoot was DEFINITELY a highlight. We had so much fun playing games during the shoot and making them imagine they were characters from The Hunger Games and Mad Max and looking into the camera as if they were Beyonce – it was a hoot and they were so great to work with!

The other hilarious afternoon was when our team, including Charlie, Matt, Zoe and myself, went to Bristol Costume Service to find the clothes for the shoot. EVERYONE tried on costumes and we had such a strange combination of layers to work with – knits, long undergarments, scarves, hats, coats, dresses, skirts – it was chaos but everyone embraced the challenge and we had a great time.


This Christmas we round off the year with our epic adaptation of The Snow Queen. For more information and to book tickets, click here.

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