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, wonder.land, 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.