Category Archives: Theater

The Theater

I was lucky enough my freshman year at Brown University to be hired by the Theater Department as their Staff Photographer. It was quite the accomplishment. Little 18 year old me beat out 5 other candidates for the job. Our job interview was that we all had to photograph the same dress rehearsal and then they looked at the pictures we’d taken and gave the job to the one they liked best. It was more than a little nerve wracking.

Colored Museum, 1996
Colored Museum, 1996

That job was easily one of my very favorites EVER. I was paid to photograph all the publicity stills for the newspapers and then I would come in during the final dress rehearsal and photograph the whole show for the lobby photos and for the theater archives (and what ever else they might need them for – newsletters, programs, posters etc.). It meant I got to see every single show put on by the two main stage theaters at Brown all four years I was there. Plus I got extra free tickets if I wanted to take other people with me once the show officially opened. Because of that job, my work was published in 11 different Rhode Island and Massachusetts newspapers and publications (under my maiden name, Brakeley, of course). Not bad for a college kid!

Arcadia, 1996.
Arcadia, 1996

Arcadia, 1996

Our Country’s Good, 1997
Our Country's Good, 1997

Las Meninas, 1997
Las Meninas, 1997

Keep in mind, I was shooting with plain old Kodak color film and a little Minolta SRT101 (from the 70s). No digital, no retouching, no flash even. Just what ever came out of my camera. I didn’t even have a zoom lens! I was forever jumping up and over the empty seats in the theater and zooming up and down the aisle to get closer or farther away from the stage.

Sweeney Todd, 1998
Sweeney Todd, 1998

Sweeney Todd, 1998

This was one of the publicity stills for The Bacchae that was published in the Brown Daily Herald in the spring of 1998. They had this deeply annoying habit of not publishing my name, just saying “courtesy Leeds Theater” even though the theater always gave them my name with the photo. Whatever.
A page from the Brown Daily Herald

The Bacchae, 1998

This is a page from The Independent, another local Providence paper. The show was Cymbeline, 1998.
A page from the Independent

Camino Real, 1998
Camino Real, 1998

Camino Real, 1998

A Flea in Her Ear, 1999
A Flea in Her Ear, 1999

Passion Play, 1999
Passion Play, 1999

Passion Play, 1999

Artistic Licence, 1999
Artistic Licence, 1999

Marisol, 2000
Marisol, 2000

Marisol, 2000

Spring Dance Concert, 1998
Spring Dance Concert, 1998

I also photographed the dance concerts held each spring on the main stage. Dance is next to impossible to photograph if you haven’t seen it before. It was one of the few things I would ask to come in for the pre-dress rehearsal just so I could see what was coming. With theater, at least you can have an idea of what is going on and where people are going to be by what they are saying. But dance is all movement and no words! Its impossible to guess when something truly photographable is about to happen!

Spring Dance Concert, 2000
Spring Dance Concert, 2000