Theatre poster for The Mousetrap
Ambassadors Theatre, London
Museum no. S.69-2008
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London
After the World War II, when the West End opened all its theatres again and paper was no longer such a precious commodity, theatre posters became larger, and many used photographs. This 1953 poster for the original production of a new play called The Mousetrap features photographs of the stars Richard Attenborough and Sheila Sim. Richard Attenborough made his name while still training at RADA (the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts) when he got his first film role as a cowardly sailor in the 1942 film In Which We Serve. In 1945 he married Sheila Sim, who by 1951 had also made films. Their appearance together in The Mousetrap was celebrity casting. By featuring their photographs on the poster, the producer Peter Saunders knew he had a good chance of attracting an audience. Now The Mousetrap needs little publicity because it is a phenomenon - the longest running play on the West End. As Richard Attenborough has said: 'It is like a London institution - like the ravens in the Tower of London'.