Two new exhibitions open at the RSC in November

8 November 2013

This November the Royal Shakespeare Company launches two new free public exhibitions, open from 10am daily at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon:

  • Simon Annand's critically acclaimed photographic exhibition The Half with added photos commissioned by the RSC of current actors and the behind the scenes work of the Costume Department.
  • a new art installation and trail exploring the world of fairies from multidisciplinary artists Davy and Kristin McGuire, Sprite Symphony.

The Half: Photographs of actors preparing for the stage. By Simon Annand
Ferguson Room, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon
30 November 2013 – 16 February 2014

Simon Annand's exhibition of photographs of actors preparing for the stage opens at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre on Saturday 30 November. The Half is a touring exhibition from the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (V&A) curated with Simon Annand. This special version of the exhibition, created in collaboration with the RSC, includes new photographs on public display for the first time of Jane Lapotaire, Michael Pennington and David Tennant from the RSC's current production of Richard II.

The Half is an actor's countdown to walking on stage and facing an audience. Simon Annand's photographs capture this final 35 mins of excitement and intensity before the show begins. Visitors are invited to peep into the secret world of the dressing room to discover actors engaging in personal reflections and private rituals as they make the transition into character.

The exhibition also features a video of images by Simon Annand of the RSC's costume team and acting company working together backstage, commissioned by the RSC as part of In Stitches, a celebration of costume. The images capture the team's energy, collaboration and breadth of skills drawn on every day before and during a show.

The Half includes 94 prints of actors spanning over 30 years of British Theatre including new images of RSC actors preparing for the summer 2013 shows Titus Andronicus and Candide and the current production of Richard II. Other RSC actors featured include Judi Dench, Jeremy Irons, David Oyelowo, Jonathan Slinger, Pippa Nixon and Mariah Gale. The exhibition also includes Cate Blanchett, Daniel Craig, Martin Sheen and Jude Law.

The exhibition is curated by Kate Bailey of the V&A in collaboration with Simon Annand and the RSC's Events and Exhibitions Department.

Sprite Symphony. By Davy and Kristin McGuire
PACCAR Room, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon
16 November 2013 – 2 March 2014

Sprite Symphony takes you on a journey around the theatre into a world of magical fairies and sprites. Follow the trail to find enchanting fairies trapped in jam jars and the Queen of the Fairies' haunted dress. Discover a cabinet of curious sprites in the foyer and listen to their enchanting music.

Created by award winning artists Davy and Kristin McGuire, Sprite Symphony combines animation and projections with costumes and props made by the Royal Shakespeare Company, recomposed to invent a brand new contemporary fairy tale.

For further press information, please contact Amy Belson on 01789 412622 or


Simon Annand: For 25 years Simon Annand has worked as a photographer in and around the theatre with many of the leading companies, including the National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, The Royal Court, Comédie Française, Odeon Theatre Paris, Moscow Arts Theatre, Théâtre de Complicité and The Old Vic.

V&A's Theatre and Performance Collections: The V&A holds the national collection of material about live performance in the UK, which ranges across all performance types from opera, ballet and drama to puppetry, circus, rock and pop.

Davy and Kristin McGuire: Winners of this year's Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award, Davy & Kristin McGuire are multidisciplinary artists whose work has included The Icebook and an atmospheric stage adaptation of popular fantasy novel, Howl's Moving Castle. Their latest commercial commission for Courvoisier was displayed at Harrods and their new theatre production The Paper Architect premiered in July 2012 at the Barbican. The McGuires critically acclaimed theatre projects have toured to 12 different countries over 3 continents and their art work has been exhibited, published and screened internationally.

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