From paper to photo to award-winning play: Iphigenia in Splott

Iphigenia in Splott - from paper to photo to play

It's great to see Sherman Cymru's very own production Iphigenia in Splott continuing to make the rounds in the UK.

Way back when, we were commissioned by Sherman Cymru to help conceptualise and create Iphigenia in Splott's main image for promotional endeavours. The one shot, as you'd expect with advertising and press photography, was intended to feature on programmes, leaflets, posters, adverts, e-trailers and billboards.

The early stages

Working with Sherman Cymru directly, Alex and the team set to work visualising how the image might look. From the outset, the image of a single, striking, solitary figure in the foreground of a street was a strong concept.

Sketching out the ideas in rough, the composition of the image began to come to life.

Iphigenia in Splott initial scamp sketch
Another Iphigenia in Splott initial scamp sketch

Then a moodboard for the right kind of clothing was created - the model needed to look 'natural' and blend into the Cardiff scene. We used our modelling network to look for models which fitted the criteria for the shoot (at this stage, the main actress still wasn't actually cast) and worked with our fantastic model who helped source some clothes. In addition, we helped with some accessories to set the entire look off.

This was a particularly difficult role to cast for - we were very open about the kind of play it was. It is no fairytale.

We then embarked on some location scouting, treading the pavements of Cardiff's infamous suburb of Splott for that one, single location that would fit the brief to a T. We stumbled across several places that worked.

Iphigenia in Splott location scouting
Iphigenia in Splott location scouting
Iphigenia in Splott location scouting

Bang bang, shoot!

Once we had our general location finalised, we sourced our model and hit up the streets of Splott. We spent time shooting throughout the day and early evening - it was important to see what lights worked best with the different kind of activity happening in the background.

Iphigenia in Splott photography process

We shot with several angles and varying points of focus. We wanted to find that perfect image.

Test photograph for Iphigenia in Splott
Test photograph for Iphigenia in Splott
Iphigenia in Splott photo
Iphigenia in Splott photo
Test photograph for Iphigenia in Splott

The print & the press

Next up after the client(s) (in this case the writer and the director) selected the final image. All that was left was to kick in the creation of the marketing materials, like the posters and show programmes. One of the things we love about this kind of work is that it's the equivalent of nose to tail eating but in a creative sense. We always represent our clients as brand guardians, and when we have control over final layouts, we always feel we can do our work and other people's justice.

Iphigenia in Splott show programme
Sherman programme featuring Iphigenia in Splott
More Sherman marketing materials featuring Iphigenia in Splott
Iphigenia In Splott Edinburgh Railing Board Ad

What happened next...

Soon after, Iphigenia in Splott was making waves in the UK theatre scene, as well as the press. It won the UK Theatre Award and garnered glowing reviews, getting picked up to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe and, later, in London with the National Theatre until February 20th 2016.

Before its Scottish adventure in Edinburgh, we reshot the whole thing (gasp!), but this time with the play's actress, Sophie Melville.

The story of Iphigenia in Splott

Directed by Rachel O'Riordan, the play started out in Cardiff last year. Following rave reviews from the press and critics alike, it extended performances and then moved to Edinburgh Fringe followed by London's National Theatre - the first time that a play from a Welsh producing house has had residency.

The play has recently toured at at Sheffield's Crucible StudioNewcastle's Live Theatre, and Birmingham's Repertory Theatre, and played at Bristol's Old Vic theatre just last week. Iphigenia in Splott is a true Welsh theatre success story.

It really is amazing how one image can be used and distributed. Without a doubt, it is one of our most viewed images. It even cropped up in a chip shop in Conwy!

Have you got a project for Burning Red? Whether it's content marketing, hero imagery, social media direction or something totally different, let us know.


More behind the scenes