This free exhibition at the National Theatre celebrates the work of its costume department. The department sources, constructs, alters, repairs, organises and maintains costumes for over 20 new productions on London’s South Bank each year. Meanwhile, the Costume Hire department circulates costumes from its stock of 70,000 to films, photoshoots and other theatre productions. This team of 46 can produce everything from muddy uniforms to giant caterpillars; dress an actor in a corset in under 60 seconds; and strive to ensure things look as good on the final performance as they did on the first.
The Costume at the National Theatre exhibition invites you into their world and is a rare opportunity to see their work up close. Featuring costumes from productions including Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, War Horse, Follies and Antony and Cleopatra, the exhibition visits each stage of the production process; from design to construction, sourcing and alterations, to dressing, repairs and laundering.