16 fast facts about London theatre costumes
As shows come and go on the West End, the outfits leave a trail of sparkle and fabric. We’ve collated some jaw-dropping facts about the London theatre costumes underworld.
London theatre costumes: Did you know?
Elphaba’s skin tone is a major part of Wicked the Musical. For those looking to recreate her exact shade of verdigris, head on down to your nearest MAC stand and pick up the multi-use face product Chromacake in the shade “Landscape Green”. It’s £22.50, but it’s a must-have item to really make your Elphaba outfits bewitching.
With large puppets throughout the entire musical, The Lion King works seamlessly to weave costumes and puppets in an eye-catching display. To make the puppets, over 750 pounds of silicone rubber was used for the 232 puppets that help bring the show to life. Finishing off the entire wardrobe took over 17,000 hours, equating to 708 days!
What lurks underneath the Phantom’s mask shall remain a mystery for those who have not seen The Phantom of the Opera. But once the mask is lifted, you’ll see why the Phantom’s makeup takes 2 hours of work to create a spooky look that will haunt your mind.
The National Theatre offers thousands of London theatre costumes and props that are available to hire. With the majority of the collection made in their workshops, why not hire a piece that’s unique and made of the highest quality in the UK? Available for professional productions, fancy dress costumes and everything in between, there are over 60,000 outfits to choose from! Anyone could find the perfect outfit for them with a wardrobe that big!
The recent National Theatre production of Follies saw outfits dazzling under the lights in Swarovski crystals. To capture the 1930’s, the wardrobe department used over 600,000 crystals to decorate the costumes.
With one of the largest casts in the West End, the closets of 42nd Street are decked out with 623 outfits and 107 wigs! There are so many sequins and beads on some outfits that they can’t be washed, so they’re sprayed with a mix of vodka and detergent to keep them smelling fresh!
The cast of Kinky Boots dancing in their iconic heels is definitely not to be missed. For cast members playing Lola, Charlie and the Angels, they have to wear six-inch heels while dancing. For the rest of the cast, their heels are slightly smaller at 4 inches. Let’s hope none of them takes the phrase “break a leg” literally!
Michael Jibson holds the Guinness World Records for the fastest costume change and most costume changes. Playing the role of Joe Casey in Our House, he would have to deal with 29 costume changes with the quickest change taking a speedy 4 seconds!
The Dreamgirls wear dazzling outfits throughout the entire show. Lighting up the Savoy in a variety of colours and cuts, the Dreamgirls change 16 times during the performance. But with 30,000 sequins sewn onto the show’s costumes, their wardrobes perfectly capture the Motown spirit.
Rocking back to the West End, Bat Out of Hell hasn’t scrimped on using leather to create the perfect costumes. To produce the wardrobe, 500 square feet of leather was used to really get the biker look across to audiences!
With 350 outfits in Strictly Ballroom and each one taking up to 150 hours to complete, the finished wardrobe has the potential to have taken up to 52,500 man hours, an equivalent of 6 years.
Sending us to Agrabah, Aladdin symbolises a treasure trove of glitz. With vibrant colours across the colour spectrum, there are 1,125 fabrics used in the entire production decorated with 712 types of beading to add an exotic feel to each scene. 136 individual costume designs feature in the show, but one that stands out is the Friend Like Me costume. Adorned in 1,428 crystals per pair of trousers, the musical number really goes off with a bang!