c/o Anne Turner
Head of Lewes Theatre Wardrobe
Lewes Little Theatre
Lewes Theatre Club
Tel: 01273 474826
Contact Anne Turner to make arrangements
Lewes Little Theatre was created by the Rev Kenneth Rawlings (c 1886-1969), a keen dramaticist, who was appointed rector of St Michael in 1925. His was the idea of forming the Lewes Theatre Club and he served as a director for many years. He was also an actor and producer (including the first production in 1940). He joined with the Lewes Players to find a home for a permanent theatre in Lewes and was a trustee of the building before its transfer to Lewes Little Theatre Limited in 1949. Since then this theatre group has continued to flourish and it now owns a large collection of theatre wardrobe costumes, donated by supporters in the Lewes and District area. Many have been made up for specific historic productions, with a few additions donated by Glynebourne Opera House.
This is a large collection of many, many hundreds of examples of period dress and accessories which date from the mid 19th century onwards. The function of the collection is to entirely to provide stage costumes and thus many pieces have been dyed, altered and reconstructed, though some others remain intact. Highlights include a bustled back late 1870s silk dress embroidered in India, some simple cotton and linen day dresses of about 1912, some beaded 20s dresses and evening wraps, a printed velvet evening jacket from the salon of Michael Sherard of about 1956 and a range of 1950s/60s ready to wear dresses, as well as menswear. A small special collection has been set aside of items which will not be used or altered.
Viewing is by group appointment only, planned well in advance, with a fee going into the theatre funds.