Q&A: Matt Humphrey (Curtain Call)

curtain call

After gushing about the superbly delicious book – Curtain Call: A Year Backstage in London Theatre – we caught up with photographer Matt, who talked to us about creating it and his favourite shots.

  1. Describe Curtain Call: A Year Backstage in London Theatre in 3 words.

Exclusive Backstage Content.

  1. Last production you saw at the theatre?

‘Doctor Faustus’ at the Duke of York’s Theatre – I love what Jamie Lloyd is doing in the West End, continuously pushing the envelope and producing exciting, daring theatre for a new generation. It was the most out there production of his I’ve seen.

  1. Which is your favourite shot in the book?

This is such a tough one – I have a personal connection to all of them, for such different reasons. Above all I think perhaps the shot of Chiwetel Ejiofor descending from above the stage at the beginning of ‘Everyman’ at the National Theatre. Aside from the photographic aspects of it, being taken from such a unique angle, it signifies so much and is a pivotal moment in the history of the NT, marking the beginning of Rufus Norris’ tenure as Artistic Director.

  1. What were the 3 most interesting dressing room must haves?

We’ve seen it all but I think my favourites have to be: Jamie Parker’s 5000 piece puzzle that he worked on during the run of ‘Guys and Dolls’ at the Savoy Theatre; Tim Pigott-Smith’s hand towel that he was given when he performed ‘Sherlock Holmes’ on Broadway in 1974 and has been a personal dressing room mainstay ever since; a lot of artists listen to music, but I think most poignant for me was Sharon D Clarke listening to Prince days before his death, during the run of ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’ at the NT.

  1. How long did you have to capture each production?

We only go backstage once to shoot each production, generally arriving at the warm-up call and staying until the end of the show. If we don’t get it during our sole visit backstage, we have to live with it.

  1. Would you consider a Broadway edition?

Yes! We would love to do a Broadway edition, and plan to be able to do so soon – it would be a remarkable legacy.

  1. Is there someone in theatre you would love to capture that you haven’t yet?

Of course, there are plenty of people I would love to capture that I haven’t yet – some of whom have been acting for decades, others that have just started out. I suppose there are certain legendary figures on my bucket list that, although I have photographed before, it would be ace to get them onstage / backstage – Judi Dench, Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart to name a few.

  1. Will there be a 2017 book?

Yes, we are looking to produce a book to come out in 2017.

  1. Which production are you/would you be most excited to feature?

I’m really looking forward to Ivo van Hove’s season at The Barbican next year – his company produce such extraordinary theatrical productions that I am sure they will be a treat to feature, if we can get in! Jan Versweyveld (Hove’s partner and Designer) has a tremendous photographic eye himself with a very distinct visual stamp on his work – I would love to work with him.

  1. Best place for a post-show night cap?

I’m a bit out of the loop on this one I’m afraid – I live on the South Coast, so I may have to say Victoria Station or on the train itself with the other actors and crew who travel in.

  1. Theatre you’d most like to be locked in overnight?

I used to work at The Old Vic and still have a lot of friends who do, so perhaps there. Otherwise, I think it would have to be the Theatre Royal Drury Lane – not only steeped in history, but it would be amazing to take a ride in the Glass Elevator, and hang out with the Oompa-Loompa’s – they live there right?

  1. What’s next for you?

Our plan is to carry on providing exclusive backstage content from the most exciting shows in London Theatre, and beyond. Building up our website is a priority at the moment, as well as working on the next book. Aside from that, I’m sure there will be other photographic projects to squeeze in if that doesn’t keep me busy enough!

Curtain Call: A Year Backstage In London Theatre is £45 and available at www.curtaincallonline.com


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    May 21, 2016 at 6:31 pm

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