Photographer visits gallery for exhibition

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THEATRE photographer Simon Annandsited Scarborough Art Gallery for the opening of his latest exhibition.

It is called The Half, which is the theatre term for the 30 minutes before curtain up.

Consisting of photos of well-known actors preparing to go on stage, it is straddling two venues.

The largest part of the exhibition is at the art gallery, where black and white photos can be seen. The Stephen Joseph Theatre has Simon’s colour shots.

The half-hour before curtain up is when actors are reputed to shed their personality and take on the lives of their stage characters.

Simon captured portraits of some of the most familiar faces of stage and screen during these tense and vulnerable moments.

He has been granted unprecedented access to actors’ dressing rooms during this sacrosanct period of stage productions for the last 25 years.

The result is a collection of glimpses of well-known actors at the height of their powers, such as Eric Porter readying himself for King Lear in 1987.

The exhibition features portraits of the young Kenneth Branagh, Anthony Hopkins, Colin Firth and Daniel Day Lewis in the 1980s, before they became household names.

Each actor is caught in the midst of routines and rituals; visualising lines and moves, smoking or simply staring into space – whatever it takes to remain calm and poised, ready to become someone else.

The photos were initially displayed at the V&A Museum in London and are now touring the country.

In association with the exhibition, a photography workshop will be run on 6 May by local freelance photographer Tony Bartholomew, who often takes press shots of SJT shows.

The exhibition runs until 26 June.