by Aoife Monks
Costume at the National Theatre is a beautiful new book exploring what goes into designing and creating the unique costumes seen in National Theatre productions. The perfect gift for the theatre-lover in your life, or a great complement to the NT’s upcoming costume exhibition, in the Wolfson Gallery in October 2019. Overflowing with stunning images, and with an introduction written by Dr Aoife Monks, it offers a privileged tour of the NT Costume department.
The costumes produced by the National Theatre are works of extraordinary detail and craftmanship. As varied as the shows themselves, over 10,000 costume elements are produced every year by the in-house team, transforming visual concepts into vibrant reality. Costume at the National Theatre invites readers inside that creative process, from interpreting designs and crafting costumes in the workrooms to their use once ready for the stage.
Vicki Mortimer, Designer: ‘Walking in to the Costume department at the National Theatre, the level of craftsmanship you see is unbelievable.’
Tamara Lawrance, Actor: ‘The detail in a costume can inform your performance. The lining, or the feel of the gloves is not anything the audience has to know about, but it can affect the way you move your hand or your leg or the way that you show off in front of other people. The costume becomes a different kind of skin.’
Bunny Christie, Designer: ‘I think even within the theatre industry people don’t really know how costume is done. It’s a bit of a hidden art. I don’t think they realise the hours and hours that it takes and the detail involved.’