THE PRINCE of Wales will get a first hand look at the on-going project to transform the RSC’s costume workshop when he visits today.
Prince Charles, who is president of the RSC, will visit the Waterside site, opposite the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, which is being restored and redeveloped at a cost of nearly £9million – some 70 years after it first opened.
HRH will then visit The Other Place where the RSC’s Costume Store is housed, and which includes more than 40,000 costume items which have been used in RSC productions. On display will be costumes and props, and the Prince will also meet with some of the craftspeople who create them.
And the heir to the throne will then move to The Other Place Studio Theatre to see a short performance from The Boy in the Dress, the RSC’s current family show, before meeting staff and RSC supporters during a reception.
The redevelopment will see the historic grade II listed buildings conserved and extended. A new entrance will also be created using the former doors which were built for the original Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in 1887.
The RSC has the largest in-house costume-making department of any British theatre. Alongside its own armoury, the workshop includes many specialist skills and crafts including men’s and women’s costume-making, millinery, dyeing and printing.
The team continue to produce costumes during the project, having relocated to a temporary space across town for the duration of the works.
RSC head of costume Alistair McArthur said: “The workshops have been our home in Stratford-upon-Avon since the 1950s where we have crafted thousands of bespoke costumes for our world-famous productions – so it was with a real sense of nostalgia that we watched work begin.
“But the buildings were in desperate need of repair, and the restoration and redevelopment of our Costume Workshop is essential in providing us with the best facilities for costume-making fit for the 21st century, made in Shakespeare’s hometown and shared around the world.”
The Prince will also officially open the National Automotive Innovation Centre (NAIC), based at the University of Warwick, and see the latest innovations in electric and autonomous vehicle technology.