New Work: Shakespeare in the Park 2012
Fifty years ago this summer Joseph Papp, the founder of the Public Theater and New York Shakespeare Festival, took his free performances of Shakespeare “into the woods” of Central Park to the Delacorte, the Public’s amphitheater in the park. The Delacorte first opened on June 18, 1962, and over the past five decades over 5 million people have enjoyed more than 100 productions presented at the theater.
To celebrate the anniversary, the Public is mounting two forest-oriented productions for this year’s Shakespeare in the Park: “As You Like It,” Shakespeare’s romantic comedy that takes place in enchanted Forest of Arden, and “Into the Woods,” a new staging of Stephen Sondheim’s classic 1986 musical starring Amy Adams, Denis O’Hare and Donna Murphy. Pentagram’s Paula Scher has designed the festival campaign, which launched this past weekend with a full-page ad in The New York Times and will be seen in posters going up this week in the streets, subways and buses of New York, along with a program of signage at the Delacorte.
Scher started designing the posters for Shakespeare in the Park in 1994, and her 18th campaign represents a departure from the graphic language of past seasons. This year’s campaign, designed with Kirstin Huber, the Public’s in-house graphic designer, has a looser feel than past posters—it’s fun, celebratory, and purely about the park. The tagline of “Shakespeare and Sondheim in the Park” appears in a large swath of verdant green with a rough edge that evokes trees and greenery. Smaller typographic elements diagram a kind of journey through the woods, with bits of information pointing out a path through the green.
The campaign prominently displays the Public’s logo, to help brand Shakespeare in the Park as the institution’s most visible program. The rough edge of the green provides a place to integrate the many sponsor logos, one of the annual challenges of designing the posters. The slightly abstract nature of this year’s campaign allowed the designers to expand it into a program of custom signage that will be installed at the Delacorte. It also allowed for a break from the established look of the Public graphics, as a new campaign for the Public will emerge this fall to coincide with the completion of the extensive renovation of the institution’s lobby and façade at its Astor Place home.
Project Team: Paula Scher, partner-in-charge and designer; Kirstin Huber, The Public Theater, designer.