Full disclosure here: I love costumes. Everything from the dollar-store Halloween masks that you can barely breathe in to professionally-crafted armor seen in Hollywood blockbusters. There’s an allure to being able to put on some new clothing and become a different person entirely, and as such, it was a joy to visit the costume warehouse on this trip.
The costumes and props present in Stratford’s warehouse align well with Tom Patterson’s philosophy of having the best of theater will bring out the best in actors. The majority of what was seen in the warehouse were props, and while they pass muster with the audience, they fare worse up close, as seen with the food below; the liquids in glasses become clearly painted on, seams in paper are seen on candy, and adornments on trophies become spoons.
<a data-flickr-embed=”true” href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/156603883@N02/35616155392/in/dateposted-public/” title=”20170706_094911″><img src=”https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4003/35616155392_553ccd8d19_z.jpg” width=”640″ height=”360″ alt=”20170706_094911″></a><script async src=”//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>
The costumes themselves are a different matter entirely. Half of the warehouse is rows upon rows of costumes, hung up on racks, organized by what era they’re meant to represent, from antiquity to Elizabethan to more modern times. The quality of the costumes reflects Tom Patterson’s philosophy of the best actors in the world will come as a result of the best facilities, which includes the best costumes.
<a data-flickr-embed=”true” href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/150632390@N02/35777447005/in/photostream/” title=”IMG_3531″><img src=”https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4125/35777447005_8dbf150947_z.jpg” width=”640″ height=”480″ alt=”IMG_3531″></a><script async src=”//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>
What I looked forward to most in the tour, however, was the opportunity to actually wear some of the costumes (or replicas of said costumes). The very first play I saw at Stratford was a production of Camelot, and at the beginning of the tour, our guide informed us that most of the costumes from that production had been sold, save for a cloak worn by King Arthur. I was given the opportunity to wear this cloak, and the photograph speaks for itself.
<a data-flickr-embed=”true” href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/150632390@N02/35645503811/in/photostream/” title=”IMG_3548″><img src=”https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4288/35645503811_92bbbe0974_z.jpg” width=”640″ height=”480″ alt=”IMG_3548″></a><script async src=”//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>
Camelot was easily one of the best productions I’ve seen at Stratford, and being able to wear something from it was an amazing experience. Part of me wishes that they had kept Merlin’s robes from it as opposed to simply the King’s Cloak, but overall, just being able to see the hundreds of costumes felt amazing.