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FROM STAGE TO PAGE: Book Cover Design Project

Recently I've been expanding my work to encompass the wonderful world of book covers. Despite obvious similarities, there are some big differences between theatre posters and book covers. Book cover designs are often gentler and subtler than theatre posters. A book is a beautiful thing that you own and keep in your home, to enjoy in private, whereas theatre posters are advertising, selling a live, exciting communal experience. In order to test the water without venturing too far from my comfort zone, I've made a series of designs for books that I love, which I think would work excellently on stage.

A Secret History by Donna Tartt.

This is my favourite book ever. It would work brilliantly on stage - probably in a smallish space where you can really feel the claustrophobia of the friendship group. If I was doing a theatre poster for A Secret History it would probably feature some sort of bacchic revels, or Bunny falling to his death (don't worry, that's not a spoiler - it happens on the first page). But for a book cover I wanted to look at the quieter aspects of the book - the idea of studying and delving into a text at university - and perhaps taking it a little too far.

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro.

This made a pretty good film adaptation but I think it would work better on stage. This book has a uniquely wonderful combination of nostalgia and sci-fi. I've gone for some retro imagery (which hopefully hints at the themes without giving it all away), with contrasting sci-fi typography, and the colour scheme of a few-days-old bruise.

Enduring Love by Ian McEwan.

I studied Enduring Love at school, and have been a lifelong McEwan fan since. The number one choice for stage adaptation was The Cement Garden, but that's already been done by the fantastic David Aula and Jimmy Osborne. The Enduring Love movie didn't really do it for me. So much of the intrigue is in the protagonist's inner monologue, which is tricky to show on film but I have a feeling it would work well on stage as you can be a bit more creative with how you show those things. The theatre poster version would probably have man-dangling-from-balloon, but for the book cover I've gone for something subtler, but still a bit unnerving.

Paragons by Alex Mae.

The greatest book you've never read. I'm one of a handful of lucky readers who have been able to read this book ahead of its publication. Paragons is a dystopian novel for young adult readers (33 is still young, right? Good.), and it's as brilliant as Harry Potter. I won't give away the plot, but this would make a fantastic stage adaptation with fancy Cursed Child style stage magic, and someone kooky and hilarious like Patsy Ferran in the lead role.

The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham

This would make an amazing play. I'd want it dark and scary though, not the B-movie spoof version. You could get whoever designed the puppets from Pan's Labyrinth involved. Or you could just round up all the Audrey 2s from theatre props departments around the country - up to you.

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