Image from the production poster of a white line-drawn rabbit, wearing a blue hat.

Harvey opens April 12.

Spring has sprung, and so has a mysterious rabbit around the Quad here at ISU. Among the native trees and historic buildings, you may have spotted a rabbit in a hat – except instead of being pulled out of a hat like any other bunny, this charming rabbit is wearing it.

The image represents a marketing tactic prompted by faculty director Robert Quinlan and conceived by senior graphic design major Andrew Wooley to promote The School of Theatre and Dance’s upcoming production of Harvey. “I was interested in branding the production in some way, but the idea was Andrew’s,” says Quinlan. “His idea was more inspired than anything I could have imagined.”

Wooley is a part of Design Streak Studio, a pre-professional graphic design studio operated by senior graphic design students and art directed by Associate Professor of Graphic Design, Archana Shekara.  The studio provides multiple creative services to departments around campus as well as local businesses in Central Illinois.

Quinlan immediately knew Design Streak was capable of providing him with a professional poster design that was representative of the play, especially since the School of Theatre and Dance has been a regular Design Streak customer for many years, having designed posters for It’s a Wonderful Life and Balm in Gilead. “This was an exciting collaboration,” Quinlan states. “I presented my ideas about the play to the group of designers and they each spent the next few weeks designing a poster for the show and coming to rehearsals or production meetings to learn more about our approach.”

Each student presented their final designs to Quinlan who was then tasked with the difficult decision to decide which of the nine inventive designs would be picked as the final poster. “All of the students did wonderful work capturing the essence of Harvey. What appealed to me so much about Andrew’s design was the sense of mystery and playfulness. It asks the viewer to complete the picture with their own imagination, which is what Mary Chase does in the play. She asks every audience member to create Harvey for themselves.”

For Wooley, creating Harvey’s image was a combination of creative marketing and “love for the overarching message of accepting those that see the world differently.” His idea to chalk Harvey’s image around Illinois State University was a marketing tactic that he hopes will capture the attention of students, faculty, and staff. “Catching the attention of a passersby is becoming a more and more challenging feat as our smartphones become smarter and more addictive. Advertising from the ground up will hopefully catch the eyes of those that walk with their heads down or their phones out.”

The sidewalk is not the only place that you might catch this bunny. Harvey may even end up hopping right into the palm of your hand.

“Whenever Elwood P. Dowd meets someone in Harvey, he immediately offers his business card and asks them to come over for dinner,” says director Robert Quinlan. “I thought handing out a business card with this image would encourage a personal connection between Harvey’s creative team and any friend or stranger they give business cards to. It’s a wonderful conversation starter.”

Catching this rabbit around campus comes with an advantage: the chance of winning two complimentary tickets to see Harvey in The Center for Performing Arts Theatre. If you pass by the chalked image or are handed a business card, simply post a photo to Facebook or Instagram, tag the School of Theatre and Dance at illinois State and use the hashtag #BunnyLove. Each post will enter you into the Monday, April 15.

All nine of the posters designed by Design Streak students will be on display in the Center for Performance Arts Lobby during the run of the show. You can read more about Harvey and reserve tickets by calling the Center for Performing Arts Box Office at 309-438-2535 during box office hours Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

A special post-show talk with cast and crew, including director and ISU alumnus Robert Quinlan and dramaturg, Kee-Yoon Nahm will follow the Sunday, April 14 performance. All Illinois State University alumni can receive a special discounted ticket price for the April 14 performance by contacting the CPA Box Office.