Fashion students visit the RSC

18th December 2023

Fashion students from Stratford-upon-Avon College took a trip down the road to the world-renowned Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) recently to learn about the wealth of different roles related to costume.

The Level 3 Fashion students visited the theatre as part of their work experience activities. The theatre offers a wide selection of roles relating to fashion and costume ranging from design, to making, to wardrobe technician, costume maintenance and hire so it was a wonderful opportunity for students to see a plethora of future career options.

Fashion students visit the RSC - learning

They began their trip by going to the RSC’s costume hire store where they could see an enormous range of costumes that have been a part of the RSC’s productions. They also visited the Running Wardrobe department and learned about how the Wardrobe Technicians organise and maintain all the costumes used in a production.

They ended the day with an interactive workshop where they focused on learning about quick changes – where actors must change from one costume to another in an extremely short time frame. This means the costumes are sometimes made to accommodate modifications to help this practice, and the students got to learn how costume design can contribute to the ease of this.

Sandy Smith Wilson, Head of Running Wardrobe, was pleased to welcome the students to the theatre and give them an insight: “I feel a lot of people aren’t aware that the Running Wardrobe department exists, and it is such an important part of how a show operates. It’s a fantastic line of work as every day is different. We hope that offering this day of work experience to the students will allow them to maybe find a passion for working in theatre and we find some budding Wardrobe Technicians!”

The students got to see a wealth of costumes, learn about the everyday running and maintenance of costume in the theatre, sustainable practices the theatre uses and take part in a quick-change activity.

Have a peek at what the students saw in the RSC’s Costume Hire store

Student Dom Smith commented: “It was interactive and hands-on; I really enjoyed these practical elements. I didn’t realise the work that goes on behind the scenes.” Kieran Botting added: “There was one part where they wanted to demonstrate a quick change using a corset to see how an actor would do it and I got to be a part of that; I loved that immersive experience. Getting to see the costumes was also extremely beneficial as I want to work in Fashion Visuals and Illustration so seeing all the costumes helps creatively.”

Fashion lecturer, Louisa Figus, highlighted the benefits of work experience sessions: “The students benefitted immensely from the costume tours, quick change exercise, Running Wardrobe workshop and for the wonderful industry talk about the role of the Running Wardrobe department. It has given the students invaluable insight into the industry and a deeper understanding of the role and department of Running Wardrobe specifically. This type of experience helps the Fashion students to know in more detail what opportunities are out there and available to them at a local level with the RSC when they leave college.”

Find out more about the College’s Fashion course: Fashion course