The half hour before going on stage corsets wholesale is a time for a performer's final preparations and presumably for controlling nerves.
An exhibition called The Half: Photographs of long gown dress Actors Preparing for the Stage, shows many big-name performers and the result is a fascinating exhibition of black and white and colour photographs taken over 30 years by Simon Annand.
This V&A touring exhibition is being staged in the Ferguson Room at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford.
There are qwqfdvdsadf 94 images, many revealing the stars of today earlier in their careers. The young Kenneth Branagh from 1987 is posed looking a bit stressed amidst a cluttered space. Richard Wilson is far from his One Foot in the Grave persona, in costume and make up, lounging around waiting for Cinderella to start. Jeremy Irons from 1986 probably looks the most luvvyish, holding a cigarette very artily.
David Tennant by Simon Annand. Maggie Smith, in a 1986 image, cheeks her make up, and there is a close up of the heavily made-up Antony Sher before he performed in Torch Song Trilogy in 1985. David Tennant in The Rivals from 2000 sits on the floor, so made up he looks like he's smiling through a mask. Judi Dench, before the 2002 The Royal Family, is reflected in a mirror from 1720 which has seen many performers through the centuries.
Michael Pennington is pictured before performances in 1983 and 2013, and Alan Rickman poses by a door in 2001, surrounded by posters telling actors what they were not allowed to do back stage, and Daniel Radcliffe looks anxiously through the same door many years later.
Gillian Anderson is pensive in hair curlers in 2002, and Peter Capaldi rubs back his hair for his role in The Lady Killers. Jenny Jules, before her appearance in The Vagina Monologues in 2002, lounges in underwear doing a crossword.
Daniel Craig shows he could always carry off the bare-chested look, even before James Bond, in a 1999 shot, and Colin Firth in 1985, in a tight uniform, looks skinnier than his later career-making TV appearances.
Some of the performers are conscious of the camera and post, others seem deep in thought or in practical preparations. Ethan Hawke uses Method to get into character, and Sara Kestelman smokes a cigarette, as she is incongruously dressed in a costume and neck ruff.