I recently completed a DREAM job. I was commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company to create two stories in celebration of their Costume Department. They sent me a dozen oral history interviews – costume makers, designers, actors – and granted me full access to their magnificent in-house photo archive. Then I dived in and swam around in an ocean of memories, facts and fabrics. It was totally absorbing and I loved every minute.
Friday 20 August was Costume Day. The RSC took over the riverside Bancroft Gardens in Stratford Upon Avon and filled it with performances and an exhibition of the elements of costume making, from dyeing to wig making. They also hired a river boat calledTitania, and that was where I spent my day, sharing my stories with the public as we sailed up and down the Avon, flanked by a retinue of swans.
What a perfect day. Especially after the months of lockdown and loss of all public performances. To see smiles and hear laughter from an audience was joyous – as was wearing a real RSC skirt and headdress. I couldn’t help wondering who had worn them before me. What production was it? Such tantalising thoughts.