Photographer and filmmaker Rankin has today announced details of one of his biggest projects to date: PERFORMANCE, RankinLIVE x West End Theatre.
Produced in partnership with the Mayor of London and the Society of London Theatre (SOLT) as part of the #BackOnStage campaign, this will be an ambitious programme of live shoots, a city-wide exhibition, ground-breaking interviews, a book launch and a charity auction – all in celebration of the capital’s world-leading theatre industry and its pandemic recovery, and in support of Theatre Artists Fund and London youth homelessness charities.
In an historic record of a West End reborn, PERFORMANCE will see Rankin shoot up to 200 subjects drawn from a multitude of productions and theatre venues in central London. With a mission to provide a platform for the full spectrum of the West End’s finest talent both on and offstage, the project will feature everyone from star actors, dancers, writers, directors and producers through to costume, sound, lighting and set designers, puppeteers, technicians, dressers, stage managers, front of house staff and many more.
Rankin said: “Everyone working in theatre has a story to tell of their experience over the past eighteen months, inspiring tales of hardship, perseverance, patience, innovation, despair and joy. With this project and exhibition, we want to celebrate the jewel in the crown of our city’s unparalleled culture sector – epitomised by these countless faces and voices who make up the backbone of London’s theatre community and will spearhead its post-Covid recovery.
“I honestly can’t remember the last time that I’ve seen so many different organisations come together so quickly around an idea – from the Mayor of London and SOLT offering their practical and logistical support; Fujifilm offering their flagship store for an entire season; Westminster Council and the central London landlords offering empty units; the production companies and theatres offering their stars and staff; all the way through to the suppliers like Addison Lee assisting with the nuts and bolts of transportation. These are all reminders of just how important theatre and culture is to us as a society.”
A landmark exhibition of the portraits will run from 3 November to 31 January at the Fujifilm House of Photography in the heart of London’s West End. In addition, edited behind-the-scenes films of the shoots will be shared on digital and social platforms, granting an exclusive look into the project and Rankin at work.
The project is part of the Mayor of London’s Let’s Do London campaign, the largest domestic tourism campaign the capital has ever seen, bringing together London’s leading hospitality, culture and retail organisations to attract Londoners and visitors from across the UK back to central London to enjoy its world-class attractions, theatres and venues.
Visitors to the PERFORMANCE exhibition will have the chance to support young Londoners facing homelessness by making a donation to four London youth homelessness charities – Depaul, akt, Centrepoint and New Horizons Youth Centre – as well as the Theatre Artists Fund, which provides emergency aid to struggling theatre freelancers. Further money will be raised for the chosen charities through the purchase of limited-edition books and merchandise.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “I’m thrilled to support this exciting project by Rankin. From our galleries to our theatres, London’s cultural sector has had an incredibly difficult 18 months. This once-in-a-lifetime portrait of the West End will showcase the incredible talent that comes together to make our theatres the envy of the world, providing another reason to visit central London and supporting the vital work of youth homeless charities.”