The RSC's The Play's The Thing

A new exhibition reveals the secrets behind the world's most famous theatre company...


The RSC will open its first ever permanent exhibition devoted to the making of Shakespeare’s plays in 22 October. The new visitor attraction – The Play’s The Thing – will be in the Swan Wing, at the Company’s home in Stratford-upon-Avon. The project is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

For over 400 years, Shakespeare’s plays have inspired audiences and theatre makers. From the eternal love affair of Romeo and Juliet and Titus Andronicus’s blood, guts and gore, to Macbeth’s witches and Shylock’s pound of flesh, The Play’s The Thing explores the imaginative ways in which Shakespeare’s stories, settings and characters have been interpreted for the stage.

This immersive exhibition highlights some of the RSC’s most iconic theatre productions and features treasures from the archive including rarely-seen props, exquisite costumes and original set designs.

Hands-on digital interactives transport visitors both behind the scenes and on stage at the RSC. Visitors will experience what it feels like to stand on stage, try on costumes made in the RSC’s costume workshops and get creative as set designers.

The family-friendly exhibition also reveals some of the RSC’s more gory theatrical secrets, including how a snapping carrot can replicate the noise of bone breaking, rice crispies and glue are mixed to make scabs and how soup is used on stage to represent vomit.

Many famous faces have performed at the RSC, and some of the highlights of The Play’s The Thing include costumes worn by David Tennant, Dame Judi Dench, Sir Ian McKellen, Dame Helen Mirren, Sir Laurence Olivier, Paul Robeson and Vivien Leigh. 


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