For 33 years I have photographed theatre actors in their dressing room during the 30 mins before they go on stage. Many leading actors have kindly given unprecedented access to see them prepare during this private and intimate time.

This unique collection of images shows all aspects of the actor’s preparation across a wide variety of performances. We witness their exuberance as well as melancholy, the thrilling moments as well as tedium. 

The monograph is neither predatory nor pro-celebrity. The intention is show actors at work who know that to perform the same text night after night requires a high degree of discipline.  Live performance is growing ever more popular in the digital age and the thrill of performing to an audience has attracted many top stars.

Those who have given permission include: Tilda Swinton, Cate Blanchett, Rachel Weisz, Daniel Day-Lewis, Damian Lewis, Jude Law, Judi Dench, Ben Whishaw, Daniel Craig, Alan Rickman, Colin Firth, Vanessa Redgrave, Spike Milligan, Max von Sydow, John Hurt, Ian McKellen, Juliette Binoche, Martin Sheen, Angela Lansbury, John Gielgud, Kristen Scott-Thomas, Benedict Cumberbatch, Maggie Smith, Max Wall, Matt Smith, Chewetel Ejiofor, Derek Jacobi, Mark Rylance, Jim Broadbent, Glenn Close, Kathleen Turner, Jeremy Irons, Elizabeth Moss, Toby Jones, Ethan Hawke, Keira Knightley, Ian McKellen, James Corden, Ralph Fiennes, Helen Mirren, Kevin Spacey, Peter Capaldi, Orlando Bloom, Rebecca Hall, Tom Hardy, Charles Dance, Michael Gambon, Richard E Grant, Carey Mulligan, Eddie Redmayne, Tim Roth, Joanna Lumley, Stephen Fry, Priscilla Presley and Ewan McGregor.

When THE HALF is announced backstage over the tannoy all members of the public are obliged to leave the building and the actors start a 30 mins countdown to curtain up. There is no escape. Whatever frame of mind they are in, the actor has to go on stage and face another audience, without a safety net. 
-Simon Annand, December 2014

click to view the complete set of images in the archive