‘Portraits in Character’

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The Portraits in Character exhibition is a creative collaboration between the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company, Fiery Angel and Alexander Newley, to support the work of St Martin-in-the-Fields. In March 2017, these portraits will be auctioned to raise funds for St Martin’s.

Contemporary portrait artist, Alexander Newley, collaborated with Sir Kenneth Branagh to create this unique series of portraits of leading cast members from Branagh’s 2016 season of Plays at The Garrick Theatre, which came to a close in November 2016.

Newley spent time with the cast over the course of a year, capturing the actors in character backstage after performances. The result is a series of drawings and paintings that evoke the singular aura of some of the UK’s most celebrated actors; Dame Judi Dench, Kenneth Branagh, Adrian Lester, Derek Jacobi, Richard Madden and Lily James.

“Painting an actor in character adds another layer of interest for me.  I’ve always been fascinated by the unknowable human self and how it variously disguises and forms itself into the mask of personality. In a theatrical portrait, that self is further warped and refracted through the mask of portrayal. I am making a portrait of their portrait, in other words, which is a fascinating game of chess on many levels.”

Each year St Martin’s raises money for its buildings, mission, music and for the work with homeless and vulnerable people in London and around the UK.