Costume at the National Theatre, a new exhibit showcasing the behind-the-scenes work of the designers and craftspeople who create costumes for over 20 productions each season, will open this fall.
Running October 3 through March 2020, the exhibit will include costumes from Follies, War Horse, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, and Antony & Cleopatra—taking visitors through each phase of a costume’s theatrical life-cycle from design to construction, sourcing and alterations, to dressing, repairs, and laundering.
A companion book will be published this fall.
Costume at the National Theatre is curated by Aoife Monks and designed by Tom Paris. Both have worked closely with the NT Costume department and in consultation with designers Vicki Mortimer (Follies) and Katrina Lindsay (Small Island).
"Costume is one of the first things we see on stage, telling us immediately about the world of the show we are about to watch," Monks said in a statement. "Despite this we often overlook it, thinking more about the character wearing their fictional clothes than the actor in their costume. However, even the most ordinary costumes take extraordinary amounts of work. Drawing on interviews with NT staff, this exhibition reveals the skill, thought and time that costume requires. You will never overlook it in the same way again."