Nine Night / National Theatre
Submitted By Emilie Chen
Natasha Gordon’s first play opened in 2018 at the National Theatre.
It tells the story of the wake following the death of Gloria, a Jamaican woman who had been living in London for decades.
For Gloria’s children and grandchildren, marking her death with a party that lasts over a week is a test. Nine nights of music, food, sharing stories – and an endless parade of mourners.
I came up with the idea to show the funeral procession as a parade, using 5 members of the family: Gloria’s grand-daughter learning to dance the Kumina, her uncle breaking his back carrying the sound system, her daughter waiting for a sign from her, her son glued to his phone and her auntie trying to keep everyone in check.
Natasha and director Roy Alexander Weise loved the concept, but they had only cast one actor at that stage and were nervous about using models. To solve the problem, I suggested to switch the lighting from fontlit to backlit.
Natasha and Roy enlisted their friends and friends' families to take part in the shoot with photographer Simon Sorted, and Natasha ended up on the image, wearing a wig!
The play was a big hit, and the Marketing team decision to place posters in neighbourhoods with a big Black British community paid off. The audience was really diverse, with many coming to the National Theatre for the first time.
The poster was awarded Best Poster Design at the Theatre and Technology Awards 2018 and when the show transferred to Trafalgar Studios, the producer made the unusual decision to keep the artwork. A big campaign push followed, with the artwork appearing on the tube and on the side of London double-decker buses.
To promote Natasha Gordon's first play at the National Theatre.
National Theatre in-house design studio