Costume craft

9 May 2013

RSC Costume Craft – a new display including dressing-up box

Ferguson Room, Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon - until Sunday 1 September 2013


The Royal Shakespeare Company's new costume exhibition, In Stitches, continues with the opening of Costume Craft in the Swan Theatre's Ferguson Room in Stratford-upon-Avon. The new display offers a snapshot of how costumes are made in the Company's Stratford workshops. It also includes a dedicated dressing-up area with costumes from past RSC productions from classic doublets to more unusual items such as a dress made from newspaper from the 2012 Christmas show The Mouse and His Child. Visitors are encouraged to photograph themselves in the costumes and share them on twitter using #institches.

Costume Craft highlights seven areas of costume creation including dyeing and painting, footwear and armoury, hats and jewellery, ladies' and men's costume, wigs and make-up and running wardrobe. Visitors will gain unique insights into the highly skilled process through photographs, videos and revealing cross-sections of garments to show how they are made. There are also a variety of contemporary, period and fantasy costume items on display from the RSC's costume store including Pippa Nixon's Lady Anne costume from the 2011 production of Richard III, the dress worn by Alexandra Gilbreath in The Taming of the Shrew (2003) and hand-crafted leather armour worn by Jonjo O'Neil as Richard III in 2012.

Visitors will get insider knowledge about the way costumes are made at the RSC or tricks of the trade such as:

  • The use of industrial strength magnets on costumes rather than zips, so actors can quickly change from one costume to another.
  • The average leather breastplate takes 70 hours to make from start to finish.
  • During an average year, the Dye department goes through 60 kilos of dye powder and 800 kilos of salt.

Costume Craft is the second part of the costume exhibition following on from Into The Wild, an exhibition of 35 hand-crafted costumes from the last five decades including those worn by Judi Dench, David Tennant, Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen. This continues in the Paccar Room until October 2013.

The exhibition website can be seen at 


For further information contact Dean Asker at 01789 412660 or Jane Ellis at

Images of costumes featured in Into The Wild are available on request.

MADE IN Stratford-upon-Avon - Seen around the world.
Everyone at the Royal Shakespeare Company, from actors to technicians, milliners to musicians, plays a part in creating the world you see on stage. The work, which begins its life at our Stratford workshops and theatres, is shared with audiences through our touring, residencies and online activity throughout the world. So, wherever you experience the RSC, you will experience work that is made in Shakespeare's home town.

Shakespeare has been performed and celebrated in Stratford for centuries and the RSC has trained generations of the very best theatre makers since the Company was founded in 1961. We pioneer contemporary approaches to Shakespeare's plays, as well as staging the work of those who inspired him, and today's writers.

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