Freelance journalist with a passion for theatre, the arts, food and books.
Fashion & Ballet Merge For Dazzling Costumes
Birmingham Royal Ballet has spent a quarter of a century dazzling audiences with not just the dancing but also an array of distinctive, exquisite and sensational costumes. Those outfits now take centre stage in a free exhibition.
Costumes from Birmingham Royal Ballet are on display
Birmingham Royal Ballet: 25 Years of Costume runs at House of Fraser store in Birmingham city centre for just two weeks only from 28 September to 11 October.
With glittering tutus, vibrant creations and even animal masks from shows like Beauty and the Beast, the free exhibition will be of interest to everyone from families to fashion students and wanna-be costume designers.
This intimate exhibition is created to give members of the public a rare and up-close experience of the beautiful and intricate designs seen on stage and what it takes to bring them to life from initial sketches to the finished product.
Over the years, Birmingham Royal Ballet has worked with some of the biggest names in theatrical design, art and fashion to create unforgettable costumes including Jasper Conran, Olivier Award winning John Macfarlane, Philip Prowse, Tony Award winning Katrina Lindsay and prop-costume maker Robert Allsopp, who has worked on Doctor Who and Hollywood blockbusters such as X-Men, Gladiator and Robin Hood.
Animal costumes feature in the free exhibition too.
Elaine Garlick, Birmingham Royal Ballet's Head of Costume says; "This is an extraordinary opportunity for us to display to the public the time, effort and craftsmanship that goes into each and every costume that we put on stage."
She adds: "The skilled teams that we have worked with over the years are world leaders in costume making, printing and dying and it's fantastic that a major department store like House of Fraser has been so enthusiastic in helping us to display these beautiful designs in a way that audiences very rarely see."
During 25 years of ballet in Birmingham, the company has presented more than 130 different ballets over 225 weeks of performances.
But audiences often don't realise the effort that goes into creating the visual effect through intricate costumes. For example, a production like Swan Lake requires around 500 costumes, 145 headdresses and 60 tutus alone, which is why it is no surprise that production staff keep just under 10,000 costumes at their storage space in Dudley.
Based at Birmingham Hippodrome since 1990, Birmingham Royal Ballet is the United Kingdom's leading classical ballet touring company performing a range of traditional, classical and heritage ballets as well as groundbreaking new works with the aim to encourage choreographers of the future. The company's Director is the award winning David Bintley while the Chief Executive is Jan Teo.