OVER 3,500 pairs of shoes, 36 mannequins and one 80-year-old anvil are just some of the items on the move at the RSC Costume Workshop.
As part of the £8.7million restoration and redevelopment of the cramped and outdated workshop opposite the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, the team is being temporarily relocated to the company’s Arden Street rehearsal rooms for the duration of the works, which are due to be completed by early 2020.
The move coincides with a £950,000 National Lottery grant towards the revamp of the workshop hidden behind the grade II-listed 1887 former scene dock constructed for the original Shakespeare Memorial Theatre.
Thousands of people from around the world have already donated to the RSC’s Stitch In Time campaign to help fund the project, but it is still looking to raise a further £1.3million.
The grant awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) will give the public access to the building’s heritage for the first time, with a focus on the craftspeople, designers and actors who have worked there.
Vanessa Harbar, head of HLF West Midlands, said: “I’m delighted that we can support the RSC to restore the Costume Workshop and open the building to the public. This project will celebrate the theatre’s unique history of costume-making and ensure its talented craftspeople continue to weave their magic for years to come.”
The RSC, a registered charity, 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 ladies’ costume-making, millinery, dyeing and printing. The team create hundreds of costumes each year, which are seen by audiences across the world.
Visit www.rsc.org.uk/stitchintime to support the appeal.