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29th Jun, 2022

RSC staging huge costume jumble sale

Ian Hughes 7th Aug, 2017

THE ROYAL Shakespeare Company is clearing out its wardrobes.

The company is staging a massive costume jumble sale at its former rehearsal rooms in Stratford on Saturday September 23, with the doors opening at 9am.

Over 10,000 items, including uniforms, suits, shirts, doublets, shoes, jewellery, hats and more, will be for sale with prices starting at £1. The sale will consist of both period and contemporary costumes.

The garments in the sale, mainly made by the world-renowned RSC Costume Workshop, have been chosen from the RSC Costume Hire, which hires out costumes once productions have ended. The RSC needs to free up more space to make room for new costumes available to hire.

Items in the sale will come from RSC productions stretching back over the past 20 years, and among the items on offer are uniform coats from the acclaimed 2008 production of Hamlet, which featured David Tennant in the title role.

The RSC has the largest in-house costume-making department of any British theatre, employing 30 award-winning craftspeople. They are responsible for making the costumes for RSC productions seen by millions of people in Stratford and around the world. Skills within the department range from men’s and ladies’ costume construction, armour making and millinery, to dyeing and printing.

The RSC has plans to restore and redevelop its Costume Workshop, housed in an assortment of buildings on Waterside opposite the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, and money raised from the costume jumble sale will go towards funding this.

Alistair McArthur, RSC Head of Costume, said: “Costumes are an essential part of any production here at the RSC. People are often surprised to learn that we create the vast majority of them ourselves in our costume workshops.

“I am very proud of the talented team that makes the costumes. All of their skills, and the diverse range of costumes they make, will be reflected in the items in this costume jumble sale.

“Most pieces are labelled with the name of the actor who originally wore them, so who knows what little gems people might pick up?”

Entry to the sale, at the Arden Street venue at the junction with Birmingham Road, is £3 (pay on the day, cash only), and items can be purchased with cash or debit/credit card. The sale runs until 5pm. Customer parking is available nearby at the Stratford District Council pay and display car park on Arden Street.

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