Dublin’s iconic Gate Theatre, celebrating its 80th anniversary this year, has dropped its longstanding Irish incumbent – Design Image – in favour of Rose Design to help it realise its expansion plans.
Gate marketing director Nuala Kavanagh explains, ‘We’ve been using the same designer for the past 15 years, but just felt that we needed a new vision to reflect all this change going on. I put the design contract out to tender among ten groups, after doing a lot of research and looking at various theatres.’ These included the Almeida and the Old Vic in London, and The Guthrie in the US, she adds.
Kavanagh appointed Rose following a creative pitch against a mix of Irish, UK and US design consultancies in February.
Rose Design is currently developing the creative work it did for the pitch – a poster of Terence Rattigan’s classic play The Deep Blue Sea, which opens on 15 April.
The consultancy, which recently created the face of the Tate Modern’s blockbuster Dada exhibition, has been contracted to ‘evolve and update’ the theatre’s identity, while maintaining its 80-year heritage. It has also been briefed to develop marketing materials and programmes for the forthcoming season.
Rose partner Simon Elliott says, ‘Part of the process will be to sit down and help the Gate define what its wants to retain [in its identity]. They’ve clearly got a lot of heritage. That will be the exciting bit.’
Kavanagh explains that, as one of Ireland’s oldest and most prominent theatres, an updated and strong new look is needed to reflect the current £4m investment in developing the theatre and its increasing international reputation.
The Gate, which has helped advance the careers of Irish playwrights Samuel Beckett and Brian Friel, will open a new wing in October, housing office, rehearsal and workshop space, as well as a new ‘theatre laboratory’. Architect Scott Tallon Walker has undertaken the project.