London theatre exhibition provides an intimate portrait of West End stars

Simon Annand exhibition The Half reveals West End stars backstage 

Amanda Holden as Princess Fiona in Shrek, part of The Half exhibition. Photo: Simon Annand
Amanda Holden as Princess Fiona in Shrek, part of The Half exhibition. Photo: Simon Annand

A great deal of mystery surrounds the nightly ritual of a performer preparing to go on stage. The final half-an-hour before curtain up, known as The Half, is when actors spend their last few minutes transforming themselves into someone before going on.

Theatre photographer Simon Annand has captured these intimate moments in a new exhibition in London called The Half, which runs until 8 April 2012 at the Idea Generation gallery in Shoreditch.

The exhibition features portraits from his 2008 book of the same name and a number of new and unseen images of London’s leading theatre performers.

Simon has been building up this project for over 25 years and has gained unprecedented backstage access to a host of big name theatre performers including Anthony Hopkins, Cate Blanchett, Daniel Day Lewis, Judi Dench, John Gielgud, Vanessa Redgrave, Jim Broadbent, Jeremy Irons, Glenda Jackson, Jude Law, Charlotte Rampling, Michael Gambon, Maggie Smith, Martin Sheen, Felicity Kendal, Kevin Spacey and Ralph Fiennes.

New works on show include Amanda Holden in Shrek The Musical, Kelly Brook in Calendar Girls and Danielle Hope as Dorothy.

Simon Annand said: “To photograph actors when they are “getting into character” is to see them at their most photogenic as you can see why they have been attracted to this particular thrill of becoming another…  The performer is very exposed and there is something endlessly romantic and heroic about it.”

A series of events will also be held at the exhibition including a book signing by Simon Annand on Sunday 18 March 2012 from 3pm to 6pm, and  ‘Its Not About The Tits’ with Polly Rae and Simon Annand on 8 April 2012 from 6.30pm, featuring a one off Burlesque performance by the inimitable Miss Rae.


Simon Annand: The Half is open to the public until 8 April 2012 at the Idea Generation Gallery, 11 Chance Street, London E2 7JB. T. +44 (0)20 7749 6850. The gallery is open Monday to Friday 10.00am – 6pm & Sundays 12 – 5pm.


Idea Generation Gallery website

Simon Annand website

Amazon: Buy The Half by Simon Annand


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