An 18-tonne excavator with a muncher on the end went in to our former Costume Workshop to demolish parts of the building last week.

Our Costume Team came to watch some of the demolition, looking on with mixed emotions as the excavator tore into the building where we have made costumes for our productions since the 1950s.

Head of Costume Alistair McArthur said: "It is with a real sense of nostalgia that we watched work begin. We have mixed feelings as we’ve had some great times in there and produced some amazing costumes, but it wasn’t the easiest place to work in with the leaking roof and steep stairs. We’re all really excited about the future building and moving back into our new and improved home.“

Work to create our new Costume Workshop started in February when we cleared the site, and put temporary fencing in place, ready for the demolition works to begin. The Grade II listed parts of the building are being retained and restored and the old electrics and plumbing from these areas were stripped out, before bringing the excavator on-site for the external demolition.

excavator tearing into the roof of a building
The excavator removes the roof from part of our former Costume Workshop building
Photo by Sam Allard © RSC Browse and license our images

Once we have stripped the building and foundations, there will be some underpinning work to strengthen the foundations of the adjoining cottages, and build a flat surface to work on, before the sheet piling begins in April, when a 50-tonne crane will come on site to put in the new foundations to the building.

Reusing and recycling

Ninety percent of the debris removed from the site is recycled and reused. It’s separated into waste streams for wood, metal and building materials - bricks and slate which are crushed then formed into briquettes for the building industry.

Photo of building site from above
The construction site behind Waterside and Chapel Lane, seen from the RSC Tower
Photo by Sam Walton © RSC Browse and license our images

Stitch In Time

Stitch In Time is our fundraising campaign to support the restoration and redevelopment of our Costume Workshop, helping us continue to create stunning costumes for audiences around the world to enjoy.

Our award-winning costumes are essential to creating the very best theatre, but the workshops where our craftsmen and women work are no longer fit for purpose. Our new workshops will give our team of skilled costume makers 21st century workshops with the space, light and facilities to help them continue to create stunning costumes. More about the Costume Workshop project and Stitch In Time.