As a busy producing theatre, we have a highly skilled Wardrobe Department who make and look after all of the costumes.
Each production's Designer gives the Wardrobe team the costume designs about four weeks before the play opens. The costumes are then created during this time.
The Wardrobe Supervisor oversees the work and makes sure that everybody knows what they are doing; the Costume Designer who creates all of the ideas for the costume; and Makers who actually cut and sew.
Because the audience are close to the stage at the Royal Exchange it is important that all costumes are as authentic as possible. If the play is a period piece the Wardrobe Department will make costumes that show the period as close to reality as they can. For example, they will make the costumes using only fabric that would have been available during the time the play is set. Great attention goes into the detail of stitching, jewellery and ribbons.
The Costume Designer and the Wardrobe Supervisor usually go shopping together for any fabrics they are going to use, and for any costumes that need to be bought or hired. In modern shows the costumes are sometimes bought rather than made – from all sorts of different shops including High St stores like TopShop and H&M.