For the first time, these extraordinary and exquisite outfits will be on display in the free exhibition, In Stitches.
The new exhibition by the RSC launches in the PACCAR Room, in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, in Stratford upon Avon, on Saturday April 20, 2013, to coincide with this year's annual Shakespeare Birthday Celebrations.
The Ophelia costume worn by actress Glenda Jackson in Hamlet in 1965
In Stitches opens with the "Into The Wild" collection of 35 rarely-displayed outfits, which include many worn by some of the RSC's best known actors from Dame Peggy Ashcroft to Sir Ian McKellen, Dame Judi Dench and former Dr Who star David Tennant.
Into The Wild also explores how costume designers and makers have responded to themes of nature in Shakespeare's work.
It includes the dress worn by Hollywood actress Glenda Jackson when she played Ophelia in a Hamlet production in 1965. There is also the Touchstone costume worn by David Tennant in the 1996 production of As You Like It.
David Tennant's costume from As You Like It in 1996
This is just a sample of the extensive RSC's Collection and Costume Store, which houses over 30,000 items. RSC Head of Costume Alistair Mcarthur has been busy getting everything ready for the exhibition.
Some costumes are so delicate that organisers must handle them with protective gloves.
In Stitches exhibitions will run until the Spring of 2014 throughout the RSC's Stratford theatres.
Other displays will include Costume Craft, opening on May 4, 2013, which follows the journey of a costume being designed and made by the RSC Costume Department before ending up in the limelight on stage.
Along with highlights from the RSC's costume collection, the exhibitions includes interactive displays and the chance for visitors to try on costumes from a special dressing up box.
Fun for all the family, especially those interested in costumes, fashion and drama.
In Stitches Exhibition
Royal Shakespeare Theatre and other RSC Stratford Theatres.
April 20, 2013 - Spring 2014