Below: These two photos were for the Fold Gallery exhibition "Face Off - The Private World Of Theatre Dressing Rooms."
If you're not an actor, chances are you've never seen the inside of a theatre dressing room. And if you have - because you know someone who is an actor perhaps - it's more than likely to have been after the play is over. The post performance dressing room is a place of relief and release, of congratulations, maybe of flowers and champagne. Mwah Mwah, you were fabulous darling (even if you weren't).
Before the play begins though, the theatre dressing room has a very different atmosphere. It's quiet and lonely, a place of nerves and superstitions, tension and reflection, a place where actors prepare themselves to be someone else
At the National, Claire Skinner, hair in rollers, ponders the challenging task ahead of her. When she walks on to the stage she'll do so as Mrs Affleck, the bitter and jealous mother of a handicapped little boy in Samuel Adamson's modern adaptation of Ibsen's bleak tragedy Little Eyolf.
Across the river at Theatre Royal in Drury Lane, Burn Gorman sits in a corner staring into space and gripping hold of his knees, psyching himself up to be violent and controlling as Bill Sykes in Oliver.
At the Duke of York's Theatre John Simm prepares to be a policeman, not time-travelling DI Sam Tyler this time, but Leon Zat in Australian playwright Anthony Bovell's Speaking in Tongues.
And Upstairs at the Royal Court, small screen werewolf Russell Tovey gets ready to appear in A Miracle by Molly Davis with a few press-ups.
It's a moment of privacy before the performance, something you and I never get to see. Until now. Because these actors, and more besides, have opened the door and allowed in photograher Kuba Wierczorek to steal the moment with his crazy camera.
Kuba has used an old-fashioned plate camera to take these extraordinary, intimate portraits. It's a beautiful contraption, a wooden box with brass fittings, more like something you'd expect to see in a Victorian fairground than in the hands of a 21st century photographer, and the very antithesis of the modern high speed digital camera which can fire off four frames per second. It's not just because of the amazing quality he gets from using such a large negative that he's elected to use archaic technology. "It's a completely different way of working that I really enjoy, everything inverted and upside down," he says. "It slows you down and strips the image taking process down to it's very basic level. And I love the theatricality." And where better, for a bit of theatre, than the theatre?
A collaboration between photographer Kuba Wieczorek and TV/Film Director Colin Teague
Proceeds from the sale of works from 'Face Off' will be donated to the Actors Benevolent Fund
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