Exhibition to take visitors backstage at the Royal Shakespeare Company

As part of a major restoration, the RSC will be opening a family-friendly permanent exhibition at the Swan Wing in Stratford-upon-Avon exploring iconic Shakespeare productions of past and present.


By Kossmann Dejong © RSC

Dutch consultancy Kossmann.dejong is designing the Royal Shakespeare Company’s first permanent exhibition, The Play’s The Thing, which will open next summer.

The exhibition will focus on the RSC’s productions of Shakespeare, displaying props, costumes and set designs from hundreds of years of theatre. It will be housed in the Swan Theatre Wing in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Costumes on show will include those worn by David Tennant, Dame Judi Dench and Sir Ian McKellen.

By Kossmann Dejong © RSC

Visitors to The Play’s The Thing will be able to try on costumes, stand on stage and create sound effects.

Kossman.dejong says: “By mixing pieces from the collection with interactive installations, past and present will be connected, and visitors will be invited to actively take part in the process of making theatre.”

As well as Kossmann.dejong the RSC has also commissioned artist Steven Follden to create a 3m-tall metal installation that will hang from the ceiling welcoming visitors to the exhibition.

The building itself will also be a feature. As part of a major restoration to the 1879 Swan Wing, the original stained glass windows illustrating the Seven Ages of Man speech from Shakespeare’s As You Like It have been repaired, as have three exterior reliefs depicting Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories and Tragedies.

Geraldine Collinge, director of events and exhibitions at the RSC says: “Working with our exhibition architects and exhibition designers we have thought long and hard about how best to reveal our secrets to people of all ages using the latest digital technology.”

By Kossmann Dejong © RSC

The Play’s The Thing opens 21 June 2016 and will be open daily from 10am.

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