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Why I love outdoor theatre: photographing Heartbreak Productions' The Railway Children


George Naylor and Faye Lorde in Heartbreak Productions' The Railway Children, Jephson Gardens, Leamington Spa

I love photographing theatre. It's my passion, my love and my chosen career. And I like to think I'm pretty good at it - certainly other people tell me so:


The Hired Man | Night Project Theatre | The Albany Theatre

And while I love it, one downside is that I'm normally photographing a rehearsal or a dress rehearsal - which means the company are performing with no audience, and I'm just a shady figure in black capturing it all.

But outdoor theatre, with an audience, is completely different. Which is why I Ioved going along to Jephson Gardens in Leamington Spa last week to photograph Heartbreak Productions' outdoor staging of The Railway Children.

Not only were the actors performing for the paying public - which always adds a certain something - I could actually see the people watching. I could see their smiles, their delight, families enjoying cuddles, the wine and the picnics. And I could capture this on camera - something I don't really get to do in a theatre.

The audience enjoying Heartbreak Productions' The Railway Children, Jephson Gardens, Leamington Spa

One thing that's really lovely about Heartbreak shows is the audience participation. There's always something for those watching to be involved in - making train actions from where they're sitting, children getting up and running around, and sometimes across the stage, or even being part of the set. And again, at an outdoor performance, I can photograph all of this.

The audience get involved in Heartbreak Productions' The Railway Children, Jephson Gardens, Leamington Spa

The real magic of outdoor theatre, though, is the setting. I photographed an evening performance, set against the River Leam. As the sun slowly set, the whole place was bathed in the lovely orange glow of summer, and I could see people relax more and more as they were engrossed in the story, covered themselves with blankets and snuggled closer to their loved ones.

Families enjoy cuddles while watching Heartbreak Productions' The Railway Children, Jephson Gardens, Leamington Spa

It was a magical way to end a busy week.

If you want a photographer who understands theatre - indoors or out - and can capture those moments that really tell your story and show your production at its best, drop me an email to contact@davidfawbertphotography.co.uk or give me a call on 07813 155 289. And why not give me a follow and a like on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram?


Heartbreak Productions are currently touring four productions across the UK: The Railway Children, Much Ado About Nothing, Pride and Prejudice and The Midnight Gang. Visit www.heartbreakproductions.co.uk for more information and follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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© 2020 by David Fawbert Photography