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article imageRoyal Shakespeare Company holding costume sale

By Lynn Curwin     Jan 16, 2011 in Entertainment
Stratford-upon-avon - If you're looking for an Egyptian head dress, clerical outfit or chain mail the Royal Shakespeare Company's costume sale could be the ideal event.
More than 10,000 items will be offered for sale on 12 February at the RSC Rehearsal Rooms in Stratford-upon-Avon.
Buyers can choose from more than 1,000 pairs of shoes, 500 shirts, 300 hats, Egyptian head-dresses, military uniforms, cloaks, clerical outfits – including nuns and priests, jewellery and chain-mail.
The garments were created by the company’s costume department, used in productions and later placed in the costume store – which rents them out. More space is now needed in the facility, as new attire is being brought in.
“Looking through the wealth of costumes stored in the RSC Costume Store has taken weeks of work. It's a mammoth task, with each of the 40,000 garments held there having to be assessed and reviewed by the RSC team,” said Alistair McArthur, head of costume, in a press release.
“We have items for sale from every area of the wardrobe, including costumes that first made their debut on stage back in the 1970s and 80s. The sale will include costumes designed by top theatre designers like Deirdre Clancy and our own Olivier Award-winning Tom Piper. With many items starting at just £3 we hope that people will take the opportunity to come along and purchase a piece of theatre history.”
Chain-mail from the 1984 production of Henry V, with Kenneth Branagh, a blue 18th century waistcoat worn by Charles Dance in As You Like It, a wine velvet regency cutaway coat worn by Sir Ben Kingsley, shirts worn by Sir Ian McKellen in The Seagull and his over-robe from King Lear and several items worn by David Tennant can all be purchased.
The RSC Costume Store houses more than 40,000 outfits.
The last sale was in 2007. The Independent reported that a coat for the White Witch, from the 1998 production of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; coats and masks worm by the wolves from Beauty and the Beast, trousers worn by Brian Glover in As You Like It (1973), dresses from Merry Wives: The Musical (2006) and dresses worn in Beauty and the Beast were among the items sold that year.
The RSC Collection includes costumes, props, designs, paintings, drawings, sculpture, photos, posters, programmes and sound recordings dating from as far back at the 17th century. A few of the more than 10,000 items it contains can be seen on the RSC website.
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