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30th Jun, 2022

Royal Shakespeare Company auctions star costumes on eBay

Ian Hughes 10th Apr, 2018 Updated: 10th Apr, 2018

TROUSERS worn by David Tennant, Ian McKellen’s floor length coat, and doublet and hose donned by Judi Dench will all be open to bids on eBay.

The RSC will auction 54 costume items to raise money for the company’s Stitch In Time campaign, to support the restoration and redevelopment of its costume workshop.

The ten-day online auction will take place over Shakespeare’s Birthday between April 17 and April 27, starting and finishing at 8pm. All costumes will be listed with costume measurements and a certificate of authenticity.

The auction will include items which date back to productions in the 1970s, including Mr Tennant’s black dress trousers from Hamlet (2008); Sir Ian’s red coat from King Lear (2007), and Dame Judi’s doublet and hose from Shakespeare Live! From The RSC (2016).

There’s also Simon Russell Beale’s waistcoat from Restoration (1988); Anita Dobson’s grey blazer from The Merry Wives of Windsor (2012); Susannah Yorke’s cream dress from Camino Royal (1997); Patrick Stewart’s beige suede shorts from Antony and Cleopatra (2006), and Al Murray’s black donkey jacket from his Bottom in Shakespeare Live! From The RSC.

There will also be costumes worn by big names such as Simon Callow, Sinead Cusack, Antony Sher, Tim Pigott-Smith, and John Nettles.

The RSC, a registered charity, makes thousands of costume items each year in its Stratford-based costume workshop. Once a production ends, most costumes are placed into the company’s costume store and are available to hire. Some key items go into in the RSC’s Museum Collection and appear in exhibitions in the RSC’s theatres and around the world.

Stitch In Time is a £3million fundraising campaign and there is £1.8million left to raise towards the cost of restoring and redeveloping the costume workshop. Thousands of people from around the world have already supported the project including contributions from major philanthropists, trusts and foundations and businesses.

The redevelopment will create improved facilities for costume making; create more space to enable new training and apprenticeship opportunities; and allow visitors to experience the company’s costume workshop for the first time through tours and online.

RSC board member and associate artist Mr Tennant said: “I have had the pleasure of wearing many costumes at the RSC, created in their workshop in Stratford-upon-Avon. I always think of the very first costume I had when I went there, which was Touchstone in As You Like It. I had this extraordinary, calf-length coat in the jesters’ motley. It was beautifully put together, and the amount of work that had gone into it took my breath away. The attention to detail, the sheer craftsmanship that is ingrained in each costume impressed me then and continues to impress me at the company today.”

Visit for more on the auction, and for more information about Stitch In Time.

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