Multi-million pound revamped Royal Shakespeare Company costume workshop opens

  • Amrit Gahir reports

The multi-million pound redevelopment of the Royal Shakespeare Company costume workshop has opened.

The RSC has the largest in-house costume-making department of any British theatre.The restored Grade II listed buildings in Stratford-upon-Avon now sit alongside newly created spaces capable of housing a strong team of 30 designers.

£8.7 million was raised through Arts Council England, the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The workshop lies opposite the Royal Shakespeare and Swan Theatres on the site of the 1887 Memorial Theatre Scene Dock, which is now the new entrance to the building.

It has been redesigned to provide more space and daylight, and will be able to offer training and apprenticeships to the local West Midlands community.

The costume workshop team had relocated for two years while the restoration took place.

It meant packing up and moving 36 mannequins, 3,500 pairs of shoes, more than 1,710 reels of thread, 126 paintbrushes, 45 sewing machines and much more.

The redeveloped costume workshop will now be fit to provide training and apprenticeship opportunities. Credit: PA images

Costumiers at the redeveloped Royal Shakespeare Company costume workshop. Credit: PA images

People will be allowed in for the first time to see the team's specialist skills, which include millinery, jewellery, dyeing, costume painting, costume props and footwear.

Guided tours are expected to start in 2022.