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RSC to exhibit costumes worn by Olivier, Dench and Tennant

David Tennant in Richard II. Photo: Tristram Kenton David Tennant in Richard II. Photo: Tristram Kenton
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Costumes worn by David Tennant, Judi Dench and Laurence Olivier during productions at the Royal Shakespeare Company are to be displayed as part of a major exhibition in Stratford-upon-Avon.

The Play’s the Thing will run in the RSC’s Swan Wing and will also include the Chandos portrait of Shakespeare, which has been displayed at the National Portrait Gallery since it was founded in 1856. The painting will be on display for a limited time when the exhibition opens in October.

The RSC said the permanent exhibition would feature “rarely seen props, exquisite costumes and original set designs”.

There will also be a number of interactive elements to the exhibition, with visitors able to try on “virtual costumes” and discover how effects are produced in plays.

Costumes worn by Helen Mirren, Vivien Leigh and Ian McKellen will also be displayed.

RSC director of events and exhibitions Geraldine Collinge said: “People love to find out how we make our productions and discover the many brilliant skills that go into bringing Shakespeare’s work alive. Our new exhibition opens the door to some of those secrets and stories and will give visitors access to our rarely seen collection of costumes and props.”

The Play’s the Thing runs from October 22 and marks the culmination of a project to restore the RSC’s Swan Wing, which was originally built in 1879.

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