Behind The Scenes of The Sleeping Beauty Wardrobe Department

We caught up with Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Acting Head of Wardrobe Vanda to find out how her and her team put the sparkle and enchantment into The Sleeping Beauty which comes to The Lowry from Wed 25th – Sat 28 September.

The Sleeping Beauty.BRB.3-3-2010
The Lilac Fairy

Vanda has worked for Birmingham Royal Ballet for seven years. She says; “I love working with such amazing designers and watching creative minds at work. The quality of costume making is very impressive.

The Wardrobe is a busy department with 9 permanent members of staff, a team of casuals who swoop in to help out in the most demanding times and up to 10 dressers working on each show. The Sleeping Beauty has a cast of over 80 dancers using 150 hand sewn costumes. It’s a tough call but Vanda says her favourite costume from the show is The Lilac Fairy, she says “I love this costume because it’s so grand, beautiful and sparkly, with lots of Swarovski crystals sewn into it”.

Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Wardrobe department re-use and preserve all of their costumes. Vanda says “Some of our oldest costumes which are still used are from the ballets Job from 1948 and Façade from 1946”.

The enchantment, magic and romance of The Sleeping Beauty is brought to life on stage using gold braids, endless sequins and beautiful colours and fabrics, set off by shimmery lighting.

Shoes; photo Lee Armstrong
250 pairs of ballet shoes are used on the tour

The Sleeping Beauty tour has:

–       43 rails of costumes (only 18 of which are men’s)

–       12 skips of hats, headdresses and shoes.

–       80 wigs & hairpieces – ranging from the long curly golden wigs for the King to the smaller ponytails and hairpieces for the cavaliers

–       Female dancers go through 250 pairs of pointe shoes over 5 weeks

–       Male dancers go through 50 pairs of men’s ballet shoes over 5 weeks

–       Endless sequins are used!

Wigs; photo Andrew Ross
Wig making
Wardrobe; photo Andrew Ross
Rows of Fabric

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