Thursday, 6 October 2011

Behind the Scenes at the National Theatre

On Wednesday I spent the afternoon getting lost in a maze of clothes at the National Theatre costume department. When a friend told me she had an appointment there, I jumped at the chance to explore the vast warehouse filled with old costumes.

The National Theatre hires out their costumes to individuals and theatre companies, who can come to an unassuming building in Oval and rummage through the ages and continents. My friend had the exciting job of selecting costumes for an upcoming production at the school where she teaches drama.

When you picture the afterlife, pearly gates and white fluffy clouds may spring to mind. But for me heaven is a warehouse in South London. For several hours I walked up aisle after aisle packed with costumes, as happy and overwhelmed as a child who had been searching for a four leaved clover when they stumbled across a whole field of them.

The building smelt of musty fabric and the excitement of thousands of curtain calls.

We were left to wander as we pleased, so with my camera around my neck I explored undisturbed. I took 500 photographs in the process. Over the next few days I shall continue to share some of my favourites.

And if I ever disappear, you will know where to find me. Somewhere between the 18th Century dresses and the tail coats at the National Theatre costume department.

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