Fiasco and Ben the Illustrator make theatre-going more “active” with Old Vic animated microsite

Theatre is known for its exclusivity. Fiasco Design and Ben the Illustrator’s work on a new animated microsite for London’s Old Vic hopes to change that.

15 December 2022

This year there have been a couple of projects pushing theatre visuals in exciting directions – Talisman’s animated posters for Everyman Theatre and Neue Gestaltung’s “absurd” rebrand for Theatre Magdeburg are among them. Now, London’s Old Vic Theatre throws its hat in the ring, though not with a rebrand or anniversary identity, but a microsite aiming “to make the world of theatre more accessible to people from different backgrounds”, a release explains. The creative team behind the project is Fiasco Design and Ben the Illustrator, who provide design, animation and illustration with a focus on immersion and engagement.

While the free new learning resource (part of the Old Vic’s The Hub) needs to be engaging – its aim is to bring more people into the inner workings of theatre, debunking jargon with an interactive glossary – that doesn’t mean dry. The platform captures some of the atmosphere you might associate with a trip to the theatre with a colour scheme split into ‘light’ and ‘dark’ themes, reminiscent of stage lighting. Meanwhile, the palette draws from The Old Vic’s interior itself – “opulent shades of reds and gold contrast a suite of deep and electric blues”, the release says.

Animation is also central to the project. The microsite is meant to illustrate the different roles and responsibilities involved in running the theatre on a day-to-day basis; Fiasco opts for experience-led learning to do it. Visitors to the site are guided through an animated performance set on a stage, merging theatre’s front-facing persona with the work that goes on behind the curtain. Fiasco adds in the release: “Visitors can watch and explore at their own pace, scrubbing back and forth to discover, revisit and learn.”

“Right from the start we were aligned on a more experiential approach, turning the passive action of watching into something active, engaging and fun,” Mike Frost, Fiasco’s digital lead, explains. Magid Elbushra, digital content producer at the Old Vic Theatre adds: “We want viewers to feel like they’ve stepped into our world and discovered something new and unexpected on their own terms.”

GalleryFiasco Design: Old Vic Theatre, illustration by Ben The Illustrator (Copyright © Old Vic Theatre, 2022)

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Fiasco Design: Old Vic Theatre, illustration by Ben The Illustrator (Copyright © Old Vic Theatre, 2022)

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About the Author

Liz Gorny

Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. In January 2023, they became associate editor, predominantly working on partnership projects and contributing long-form pieces to It’s Nice That. Contact them about potential partnerships or story leads.

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