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Costume at the National Theatre

Costume Exhibition poster image, with a photo of part of the display

Costume at the National Theatre

Exhibition in the Wolfson Gallery
Fri 4 October 2019 – Sat 27 June 2020
Free during opening hours

This new exhibition invites you into the world of the National Theatre’s Costume department – unique in the UK for being housed almost entirely on-site – which sources, constructs, repairs, alters, organises, dresses and maintains costumes for over 20 new theatre productions every year. The Costume Hire department circulates costumes – from its stock of 90,000 – to venues all over the country. This team of 46 people possess astonishing skills from producing muddy uniforms and fantastical giant caterpillars, to dressing an actor in a corset in under 60 seconds and eliminating stage blood from garments.

The exhibition features costumes from Follies, Antony & Cleopatra, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,, Dara and War Horse, amongst other NT productions. The exhibition visits each part of the production process; from design to construction, sourcing and alterations, to dressing, repairs and laundering. Costume at the National Theatre has been curated by Aoife Monks and is designed by Tom Paris.


The book Costume at the National Theatre is available to buy from the NT Bookshop and online for the exclusive price of £19.99 (RRP £25).

Related Events

Exhibition Insight Tour with Curator Aoife Monks Sat 9 Nov, 12pm
Costume at the National Theatre Mon 11 Nov, 6pm
The Secret Lives of Costume: A Multisensory Walk at the NT Sat 23 Nov, 12pm or 3pm
The Art of the Dresser Fri 20 March, 5pm
Exhibition Insight Tour with Curator Aoife Monks Sat 21 March, 11.30am
The Secret Histories of Costume Making Sat 21 March, 2pm

Please note the exhibition will be closed to the public 12:30pm – 1:30pm on 26th February for a private event.

You can also go backstage on a guided tour.