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Costume at the National Theatre

Start Date 04 October 2019
End Date June 2020
Venue Lyttleton Theatre
Location London, UK
Curator Aoife Monks
Designer Tom Paris
Consultants: Katrina Lindsay, Vicki Mortimer
Exhibition display of dressed mannequins

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, wonderland, 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. 

Press release

Image courtesy of the National Theatre. Photo by James Bellorini Photography