Our Stitch In Time fundraising campaign has reached the £3 million we needed to restore and redevelop our Costume Workshop in Stratford-upon-Avon.
More than 30,000 people supported Stitch In Time, which launched in September 2017 and will help secure the future of costume-making in Shakespeare’s hometown. And Ian McKellen, who performed his one-man show in the Royal Shakespeare and Swan theatres last weekend, has donated all profits from the event to the campaign.
He said: “Touring the country with my solo show has been invigorating but sometimes a little depressing, as I see that fewer and fewer regional theatres mount their own productions and make their own scenery and costumes. The RSC is a shining exception: and always has been.
“I remember as a schoolboy marvelling at an exhibition of Stratford costumes which in the theatre had looked glamorously expensive and yet up close were fashioned from the cheapest and most ordinary of materials. The tradition of craftsmanship thrives, thank goodness, in Stratford and I’m pleased that the RSC is to use the proceeds of my two performances there to achieve the fundraising target for the Stitch In Time Campaign. This ensures that the RSC Costume Workshop can be restored and redeveloped. Hurrah!”
Redeveloping the Costume Workshop
The restoration and redevelopment of the Costume Workshop will create the best facilities for costume-making in a working environment fit for the 21st Century. The project will also care for the heritage Grade II listed buildings, including the 1887 Scene Dock which will become a new entrance to the building.
We had to find a total of £8.7 million overall to fund the project. We secured major public funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England, the National Lottery Heritage Fund and The Government’s Local Growth Fund through the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership. After this funding we had a £3 million fundraising target through the Stitch In Time campaign, which we met through gifts from other trusts, foundations and individuals, including the proceeds from Ian's two shows.
Major visible construction work will start in the forthcoming weeks as the steel frame of the building will start to take shape with 130 tonnes of steel set to arrive on site throughout August. The site is scheduled to re-open in the summer of 2020.