Sarah Siddons as Isabella from 'The Tragedy of Isabella'[medium]William Hamilton, oil on canvas, c.1785, UoB Theatre Collection[/medium]

Sarah Siddons as Isabella from 'The Tragedy of Isabella' William Hamilton, oil on canvas, c.1785, UoB Theatre Collection

John Philip Kemble as Richard III in 'Richard III', William Hamilton,[medium]oil on canvas, c. 1783. UoB Theatre Collection[/medium]

John Philip Kemble as Richard III in 'Richard III', William Hamilton, oil on canvas, c. 1783. UoB Theatre Collection

Actors and Artifice delves into the internationally renowned holdings of the University of Bristol Theatre Collection to present an intimate exhibition of theatrical portraits in partnership with the RWA.

Actors and Artifice examines the changing depictions of actors onstage and off, including performers dressed for the stage together with portrayals of the ‘real’ personalities behind the dramatic artifice, exploring the power of costume to create the illusion of an alternative identity. It also highlights the crucial role of the costume designer, presenting sketches and costume designs to illustrate the multitude of techniques employed to evoke a particular time, place, and most importantly character.

Selected from over one hundred paintings depicting actors, directors and theatre professionals, Actors and Artifice explores the theatre’s fascinating relationship with artifice in art, including artworks commissioned by actors keen to document themselves in character. The Theatre Collection holds an outstanding array of examples of this from the eighteenth through to the twentieth century, such as Sarah Siddons as Isabella in ‘The Tragedy of Isabella’ or John Philip Kemble in the title role of ‘Richard III’.

The Theatre Collection is one of the world’s leading archives relating to the history of British professional theatre. To find out more please visit www.bris.ac.uk/theatrecollection

University of Bristol Theatre Collection logo

5 February – 23 March

Admission prices

Tickets include entry to all concurrent exhibitions

Adults: £5.00
(includes a 50p donation)

Concessions: £3.50
(includes a 40p donation)

Under 16s/SGS, UoB & UWE students: FREE

Art Fund card holders: By donation - suggested minimum £2

GIFT AID YOUR TICKET and help us to claim up to £1.25 more
(Please ask for details)

Become a Friend (yearly membership): from £15, enjoy unlimited repeat visits, private view invitations, and other benefits.

For more details on admissions go to: www.rwa.org.uk/visit-us/admission/

Opening times

OPENING HOURS Galleries and café Closed Mondays Tuesday – Saturday: 10am – 6pm Sunday: 11am – 5pm Last admission 30 minutes before closing. Before travelling, please call ahead to check opening hours as we occasionally close for special events.