Coats, the world’s leading industrial thread manufacturer and a major player in the Americas textile crafts market, has become the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Official Thread Supplier and is also supporting the RSC’s ‘Stitch In Time’ campaign
The three-year partnership will provide the RSC with a regular supply of Coats thread. It is already used frequently by RSC staff in costume making and millinery and Coats will also collaborate on design innovations where its expertise in threads, yarns and fabrics brings new opportunities to explore for costume design.
Rajiv Sharma, Group Chief Executive, Coats, said; ‘This is an incredibly exciting and unique partnership. The RSC is known worldwide and has tours, residencies and live screenings in many of our key markets. Being Official Thread Supplier to the world’s leading theatre company creates an unparalleled opportunity to bring the Coats brand direct to our end consumers and there are also excellent synergies and opportunities on many different levels, including commercial, innovation and talent development.’
The RSC’s costume department in Shakespeare’s hometown of Stratford-upon-Avon, UK, is the largest in British theatre, and millions of audience members enjoy RSC costumes every year. As well as the plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries, the RSC produces new work from living artists and also has an extensive education programme.
Over 50 detailed measurements are taken of each RSC actor’s body to make each bespoke pattern and costume, and an RSC costume can be on stage for well over 100 performances seen worldwide, so it needs to be made to withstand the rigours of the stage. As well as being worn by some of the greatest names in British theatre, many of the costumes made for previous RSC productions have been hired out and used for countless TV programmes and movies including Shakespeare in Love, Braveheart and Gladiator.
Alistair McArthur, RSC Head of Costume, said: ‘Each year we use over 170,000 metres of thread on costumes made from the finest chiffon to the toughest leather. We rely on Coats thread in all five of our workrooms, and every member of the RSC’s Costume Workshop team uses Coats thread every working day. Our costumes must be robust, and look as good on their one hundredth performance as they did on day one. The strength, durability, high quality and range of Coats thread means that they can cope with everything we throw at them, from washing, to dry cleaning, dying to distressing. The thread influences every aspect of our costume making and production.’
Coats will also support the renovation and redevelopment of the RSC’s Costume Workshop, due to be completed in 2020. The new workshop will provide the best facilities for costume-making, conserve the buildings’ heritage and offer new opportunities for training, apprenticeships and public access. The public fundraising campaign for this project – Stitch In Time – was launched in September last year and the RSC is aiming to raise £3 million towards the costs of the redevelopment.
Catherine Mallyon, RSC Executive Director, said: ‘We are so pleased to have Coats as our Official Thread Supplier and as a supporter of our Stitch In Time campaign for the restoration and redevelopment of our Costume Workshop. With a shared passion for high performance, Coats and the RSC will also collaborate on new projects at the cutting edge of design. It is fantastic to partner with a world class company, whose heritage, skills and innovation expertise combine so well with our commitment to excellence and attention to detail. We look forward to working together over the next three years.’