Nottingham theatrical collaboration enriches tour audiences’ experience

Emily Connell, Ade Andrews (tour guide) and Maddy Clark

In Nottingham, the Theatre Royal & Royal Concert Hall team cleverly used the lengthy break in backstage tours due to Covid-19, along with National Lottery Heritage Funding, by reassessing, updating and bringing a fascinating new dimension to the venue’s popular backstage tours via a bespoke costume commission.

Two costume design students from Nottingham Trent University (NTU), Maddy Clark and Emily Connell, were commissioned to produce a unique new costume for tour guide Ade Andrews, inspired by materials found in the venue’s extensive archive Heritage Archive at Theatre Royal and Royal Concert Hall Nottingham.

Maddy Clark, a second year BA (Hons) Costume Design and Construction student at NTU, said: “The design of the waistcoat is based on wallpaper patterns from the original plans for the building, and I also used original designs for the pillars, stone and marblework. The design for the scarves is taken from a huge variety of postcards featuring actors and lots of interesting characters and faces from the archive. It was really fun to consider all the theatrical needs of the costume.”

Emily Connell, in her final year studying BA (Hons) Costume Design and Construction at NTU, said: “The best part of this project has been the freedom to have fun and look into the archive. The waistcoat fabric matches the venue perfectly. It’s really cool to see our work up on stage.”

Ade Andrews, who leads the Limelight Backstage Tour in character as storyteller Ezekial Bone, said: “It’s a joy doing the Limelight Backstage Tour, but I haven’t done it for a couple of years so being here again, in the costume, is really bringing it back to me. Before, the costume I wore was some bits and bobs I had of my own to conjure up the character, but now I have the definitive costume it’s going to really help breathe life into the whole thing again.”

Character-led Limelight Backstage Tours of the Theatre Royal & Royal Concert Hall recommence from April 23rd. See the attached link for more details. Limelight Backstage Tours