Sandy Farrier has been a professional designer for 35 years. His work has appeared in Communication Arts, How Magazine, Print Regional Design Annual, and the AIGA Awards Annual. He completed his BA at Middlebury College and his MFA at the University of Washington.
After 28 years on the West Coast, Sandy returned to New England where he worked for three years at MIT as Associate Director of the Publishing Services Bureau and as Communication Design Consultant for the Office of the Arts and the Center for Global Change Science. For ten years he was Associate Professor and Chair of Visual Communications at Endicott College in Beverly, MA. He is currently retired (gainfully unemployed).
Sandy’s play Mating.com was a finalist in the New Works Festival at Newburyport’s Firehouse Center for the Arts. He has appeared as Nick in Anne Nelson’s The Guys; as The Good Cop in Ray Cooney’s British farce Funny Money; as Gunter in Michael Frayne’s Democracy; as Judge Taylor in To Kill A Mockingbird, and as Beverly Weston in Tracy Letts’ Tony Award-winning August: Osage County. With actress Bonnie Lake, he shared the Audience Favorite Award in the New England Fringe Festival, appearing in playwright Ray Arsenault‘s shorts The Mediator and Coming Clean. He continues to be an active and supportive member of the Newburyport theatre community.
Sandy serves a variety of clients through Farrier Design. He lives in Newburyport, MA with the lovely and talented Karen Chandler, and he continues to produce posters for plays not yet written.
There are theatre posters, and then there are theatre posters. The worst examples are utilitarian handbills, providing the who-what-when-where and perhaps an innocuous, almost always arbitrary, illustration. They’re passed by, ignored, don’t get people in the seats who wouldn’t have been sitting in them anyway. The best are pieces of art in and of themselves, delivering an arresting visual manifestation of the essence of the play while also conveying the logistical information clearly but simply and unobtrusively. Sandy’s are decidedly in the latter category, deserving of permanent display, suitable for framing. He’s helped a bit by the fact that when the plays don’t yet exist, he can’t get the essence wrong! However, a talented and intuitive actor himself, he can also get under the skin of actual plays in ways deep and provocative. His posters make you want to see THIS play, find your way to THAT theatre, get there ON TIME, and take your seat. And you may also find yourself, after surreptitiously verifying that no one’s watching, carefully removing the poster from its moorings, spiriting it home, and proudly, if guiltily, displaying it in a place of prominence.
Alan Huisman - Development Editor, Heinemann Educational Books, Portsmouth, NH
Plays Not Yet Written - a lifelong project for which no end is in sight - forms a bridge between my career in design, my love of photography, and my relatively recent involvement in theater.
A good poster has to satisfy several requirements: a.) it should stop you in your tracks; b.) it should reward closer scrutiny; c.) it needs to account for the nuts and bolts (who, what, where, when, etc.); and, most importantly, d.) it has to respect the intelligence of the viewer. A good poster should be a thoughtful visual distillation of the play it represents without giving away too much.
In the Plays Not Yet Written collection, each poster is an invitation to the viewer to engage in a conversation about theatrical and thematic possibilities. It starts with a first impression, hopefully leads to thoughtful exploration, and finally poses the question “So, given this treatment and imagery, what do you think this play is about?”
The more I’ve studied acting and playwriting, the more I’ve found a natural connection between the creative processes of theater and design. I am fascinated (and a little intimidated) by the craft of acting, by how people morph from who they really are into being the characters a play calls for. Like design, acting often requires a willingness to purposefully get out of one’s comfort zone.
Several years ago, a friend talked me into visiting my first acting class - a Wednesday night cold reading session attended largely by experienced performers at The Newburyport Actors Studio. Though I’d intended to sit quietly in the back and observe, I was instead handed a script and told which part I’d be reading on stage in fifteen minutes. So much for a comfort zone.
The accompanying blog exists in response to questions about where the ideas for these posters come from. Each posting includes text describing some of the influences and ideas that contributed to the final composition. For me much of the fun happens when viewers share their own ideas about narrative story line, staging, characters, and plot.
I hope you enjoy the possibilities.