National Theatre: Nye poster

Entrant: Rachel Louise Brown; Category: Photography

National Theatre Nye poster

“I was commissioned to photograph the key poster campaign artwork for the National Theatre’s new original play, Nye, a piece of biographical theatre written by Tim Price and directed by Rufus Norris, focusing on the life of Aneurin Bevan and his battle to create the NHS,” says Rachel Louise Brown.

From campaigning at the coalfield of Wales to becoming a high-profile politician who fought fiercely to nationalise healthcare in Britain, Nye Bevan is often referred to as the politician with the greatest influence on Britain, without ever having been prime minister.

The play shows Bevan (played by Michael Sheen) confronted with death, when his deepest memories lead him on a mind-bending journey back to key moments of his life – a surreal journey through the life and legacy of the man who transformed Britain’s welfare state.

“Working with the National Theatre’s creative lead, Sateen Panagiotopoulou, our final images draw inspiration from the strength of Nye’s personality in a setting reminiscent of a hospital ward,” says Brown. “The hospital curtains around him are animated, capturing the political force and visionary that he was, as well as being representative of a fluid, dream-like surface.

“The setting is surreal, paying homage to the fantastical elements of the play. In one image, Nye stands on a plinth in his pyjamas – inspired by the commemorative statue of Aneurin Bevan, which can be found in Cardiff. In the other, he moves through the hospital curtains as though lost in a hospital ward within his lucid dreams. “The lighting brings in a clinical feel but was also used to enhance the dream world he enters in the final morphine-induced weeks of his life.”

Photographer: Rachel Louise Brown
Agency: Wren
Art Director: Sateen Panagiotopoulou
Styling: Catherine Ladd
Hair & Makeup: Suzanne Scotcher
Set Design: Lyndon Ogbourne