On Wednesday last week, Maggie, Claire and Chris (Claire’s mum) went on a tour of the Corn Exchange Theatre’s costume hire warehouse. The wonderfully enthusiastic manager, Ludmilla, told us all about the costume hire operation. They receive costumes from Corn Exchange shows, many of which have been produced to a very high standard to allow for the proximity of the audience to the stage in the Corn Exchange, and make them available to the general public for hire. Typical hirers range from amateur dramatics societies and schools to individuals attending costumed weddings and balls. Ludmilla showed us the spectacular costume that she borrowed for the Venice carnival, and to which she is now making a partner, the fashion being for couples to dress alike for the Venice carnival.
Although some costumes are made by the costume hire team (all volunteers apart from Ludmilla), most of their work involves assisting customers to get the correct look and fit for their costumes and maintaining the large array of outfits, complete with accessories. The tour was interesting and informative and the costumes themselves sumptuous. We would all highly recommend the tour to anyone with an interest in theatre and/or costume.