Find the magic with every costume
Once upon a time in a street called London Road in Bath, UK, there lived a lady by the name of Mollie Lea (Mollie Fisher was her stage name). She would sit and sew long into the night. Sewing on lace, frills, buttons and beads, she created magical characters which actors would bring to life on stage.
Soon her front room was bursting with fabrics, dresses and all sorts of elegant gowns and it was time to find somewhere bigger. And so, still on the same road, some will remember, in 1969, Bath Theatrical Costume Hire was set up at 2 The Ballastrade, London Raod, Bath.
This tiny little shop soon filled up with a variety of colourful costumes depicting characters from all the ages.
Once Mollie (affectionately known as 'Our Mol' to her friends decided it was time to retire in her late 70's, her daughter, Dinah took over. She too had spent a life in the theatre, directing, producing, writing and performing.
Until now, the costume shop had only hired to individuals. Things were about to change and it was to grow into a different dimension.
Bath Theatrical bought out a warehouse in Frome which already had large stock of costumes and with the addition of the stock from Bath, they could now dress productions as well as individuals. For a while, the two shops operated in both locations but this proved to be impractical and so, the little shop on the Ballastrade was sold and the operation moved to Frome.
... and there, the team continued to sew and create more costumes. Now they were dressing hundreds of productions from all era's as well pageants, events, parties and themed weddings.
Now the Frome wardrobe, located on the Wallbridge Industrial Estate, holds more than 30 000 costumes ... but then, we ask, who's counting?
As Dinah went into semi-retirement (in her early 80's), the reigns are now held by her daughter, Rusette. Again the wardrobe has seen a transformation. Surviving the pandemic, it was time to 'swivel' as is the new buzz word. Introducing a number of new packages, Bath Theatrical now also takes the magical world of costumes out to customers as well providing the very personal service of dressing them in the wardrobe.
Introducing 'Living History' - adapted costumes for visitors to slip on over their own costumes to have photo's taken at historical venues to not only experience the clothing of the day but also to capture those experiences and memories for ever.
'The Regency Experience' - guests are turned into stars for the day. From the backstage where they receive a complete make over by professionals (hair, make up and dresser), to styalised studio photographs (by professional London Fashion Week and Vogue photographer) to promenading through Bath, enjoying afternoon tea and more photosessions, always being plumped and puffed into perfection by the team of professionals. (Last time we took guests to Bath, passers by all thought we were filming Bridgeton!).
Studio 2 - creation of a photo studio. The only one in the country with a 30 000 costume wardrobe attached! For use by photographers whatver their subject, but also for the opportunity to do Costumed Portraits. Always looking for a timeless way to capture a memory.
The Fancy D-Stress Room - inspired by the sound of laughter! The pandemic has created a lot of mental health issues. As we know, 'laughter is the best medicine' so now, this space is available with an assortment of costumes to dress up and have a good laugh!
Click and Collect - moving with the times, there is an assortment of character costumes all pre-packed, measured and accessorised. A quick and easy way to select a costume for a party ... with the assurance that there is never any compromising on quality.
Each year at the Jane Austen Festival Bath Theatrical now hosts a Pop Up Shop. Taking all its Regency Costumes to the Francis Hotel, they are available for anyone wishing to dress up and join the festivities of the festival. A hairdresser is on site to finalise the look and a photographer available to capture the memories. Workshops are held to help indivduals create their own bonnets and reticules as well as a presentation on the language of the fan. The ever important tool in making your way through society in the days gone by.
... and yes, they still sew ... making costume sets for iconic musicals such as Beauty and the Beast and Shrek.
But never to they compromise on their promise of a personal service. Each cast member is still dressed according to their individual measurements and the interpretation of the Director.
The Bath Theatrical team works on the promise 'Quality in everything we do, and the way we do it'. Always looking for ways to help make your event / production / evening /experience comfortable, easy and most of all fun.