DEMOLITION is underway on the redevelopment of the RSC’s Costume Workshop.
The two-storey workshop on Waterside is being restored and redeveloped at a cost of nearly £9million – some 70 years after it first opened.
The project will see the historic grade II listed buildings conserved and extended. A new entrance will also be created using the former doors which were built for the original Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in 1887.
The RSC 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 women’s costume-making, millinery, dyeing and printing.
The team will continue to produce costumes during the project, having relocated to a temporary space across town for the duration of the works.
Once re-opened visitors will be able to experience the Costume Workshop for themselves through tours, interactive experiences, education, participation and outreach opportunities.
RSC head of costume Alistair McArthur said: “The workshops have been our home in Stratford-upon-Avon since the 1950s where we have crafted thousands of bespoke costumes for our world-famous productions – so it was with a real sense of nostalgia that we watched work begin.
“But the buildings were in desperate need of repair, and the restoration and redevelopment of our Costume Workshop is essential in providing us with the best facilities for costume-making fit for the 21st century, made in Shakespeare’s hometown and shared around the world.”
* Staff from the RSC, including executive director Catherine Mallyon will be going the extra mile to support the project’s fund-raiser Stitch In Time, by taking part in this year’s Stratford Half-Marathon on April 28. The campaign is closing in on its £3million target, with £250,000 left to raise.
Thousands of people from around the world have already supported the project including contributions from the local Stratford community, major philanthropists, trusts and foundations and businesses.
To support the Running Wardrobe team, visit their JustGiving page – www.justgiving.com/campaign/stitchintime