THE PRINCE of Wales got a first hand look at the on-going project to transform the RSC’s costume workshop when he visited Stratford today.
Prince Charles, who is president of the RSC, visited the Waterside workshop, opposite the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, which is being restored and redeveloped at a cost of nearly £9million – some 70 years after it first opened.
The revamp will see the historic grade II listed buildings conserved and extended. A new entrance will also be created using the former doors built for the original Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in 1887.
The Prince arrived in a black Bentley and chatted with well-wishers before being shown progress on the workshop which is set to be completed this summer.
RSC artistic director Gregory Doran then accompanied the Prince and the royal party on the short walk along Southern Lane to The Other Place theatre where he met the RSC’s head of costume Alistair McArthur, costume hire manager Pip Asteri, and head of millinery Alex Thompson.
Costumes and hats from recent RSC productions were on show and the Prince clearly enjoyed discussing the craft and skill involved in creating them.
Charles was also treated to a short performance of The Boy in the Dress – and judging by his laughter the heir to throne enjoyed every second of the ten minute exert.
At the end of his hour long visit the Prince was presented with a commemorative book on Shakespeare and theatre and a print of the Yellow Dress costume used to help promote the Stitch in Time campaign which raised funds for the renovation of the workshop.
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.
The Prince later officially opened the National Automotive Innovation Centre (NAIC), based at the University of Warwick, where he saw the latest innovations in electric and autonomous vehicle technology.