Homemade: Dressing the Roaring Girl

11 Jan 2024

As part of our ongoing collaboration with migrant business support organisation ACH, Bristol Old Vic has provided three work placements in our wardrobe department. 

Inspired by the rich history of costume design in our archive at the University of Bristol Theatre Collection, Munira, Susy and Tetyana have been sewing, pattern cutting and garment dyeing for the Young Company show, The Roaring Girl.

Our Young Company shows are a great opportunity for learning. Many of the cast are performing in a professional theatre for the first time, and the creatives working behind the scenes are in the early stages of their careers.

The Roaring Girl was a great chance to work with ACH, to provide women who may not have considered a career in the theatre experience of costume design on a professional show.

Our three placementees are all experienced, professional dress makers. Luckily for us, they’ve decided to turn their skills to theatre costumes.

The Roaring Girl was written and set in the early 1600s so they’ve been researching historical costume, with support from our Heritage team. They’ve been to Bristol Costume services, to look at the rows and rows of costumes from all different periods of history. They were inspired by the Bath Fashion Museum’s collection and handled 400-year-old shirts. And also visited the University of Bristol Theatre Collection to explore examples of costume design in the Bristol Old Vic archive. Then they got to work using what they learned to make ruffs, capes and codpieces, among other things.

Our Heritage Participation Assistant, Hatty Welsh, has been producing the project. She says:

‘This project has been a joy to work on. We’ve all learned from each other, and picked up new skills, techniques and knowledge along the way. I can’t wait for audiences to see what’s been made.’

If you’d like to see the costumes, the The Roaring Girl will be on in the Weston Studio until 13 Jan. To learn more about the work that’s happened behind the scenes, keep your eyes peeled for an exhibition about the project, coming to the Pit Passageway in March 2024. 

Homemade is a project aimed at developing opportunity, experience, and skills for employment for clients of migrant support and integration organisation, ACH. It is part of Unscripted, a National Lottery Heritage Funded project which uses heritage as a tool to help foster integration and a greater understanding of Bristol between its newer and older inhabitants. 

ACH is a social enterprise providing a range of support to build better futures for refugees and migrants living in the UK. More info