Jeremy in Simon Annand’s book ‘The Half’

For 25 years, Simon Annand has been touring Britain’s leading theatres, taking photographs of actors during “the half”: the sacrosanct half-hour just before a performance when the actor is in the dressing room, preparing to go on stage. As Kevin Spacey explains, “It can be 30 minutes of quiet contemplation or utter fear, depending on how the performance has been going.” Now, Annand has collected these images into a book that reveals players from Vanessa Redgrave to Daniel Radcliffe in their most private and sometimes vulnerable moments, before they put on their public faces and go out to confront the audience.

Whatever theatre actors do during the day, each evening they go on stage to give a performance as “somebody else”.

The dressing room is a physical space that allows for concentration and privacy so the psychological negotiation between the actor and this fictional character can take place.

When ‘The Half’ is called over the loudspeaker backstage, it is the start of a 35 minute countdown to facing the audience and there is no escape.

It is rare to see actors at this point in their work.

Over 25 years SIMON ANNAND has been given unprecedented access to photograph this in-between world that the audience never sees.