Theatre Royal Uniforms - Design Drawings, 1978


Theatre Royal Uniforms - Design Drawings, 1978




Designs and drawings of Theatre Royal uniforms by theatre interior designer Clare Ferraby, as part of the 1978 venue re-build and refurbishment.

What's the story?

Born in Leeds in 1938 and trained at the Manchester School of Art, Clare Ferraby has decorated and restored the interiors of some of the UK’s greatest theatres, including the recent massive refurbishment of the Victoria Palace in London.
Ferraby started as a freelance designer in London in 1963 when she was 25, and married Nicholas Thompson, a young architect, who went on to become a leading light of the theatre architects’ practice RHWL three years later.
RHWL were commissioned to oversee the rebuilding of the Theatre Royal in the 1970s, following the success of projects at Sheffield Crucible and Warwick Arts Centre.
In a recent interview for The Stage Clare spoke of her craft:
“I’ve always looked at the history of the theatres I’ve worked on. It is important for me to have a feeling for the soul of the building before I develop new ideas. Every theatre has its own distinctive soul. With the older buildings, I look at the detail to understand the original designer’s intention.
The great Victorian theatre architects Matcham, Sprague and Phipps wanted to get everything right and I understand that. You want everything to fall into place and fit together, like a painting.”
As part of the Theatre Royal’s heritage work Nick Thompson & Clare Ferraby have kindly loaned us items from their private collection revealing their work on the Theatre Royal.
In these images one can see that Clare’s work not only involves the interior of the building, but encompasses the design of the front-of house uniforms as well. These sketches show various designs, with the long skirt design eventually chosen.
Clare wanted the uniforms to give a feel of the era of the late 1970s refurbishment, as well as be up to date for the 1980s. She therefore designed the uniform in the 'Laura Ashley style', namely pin-tucked blouses and maxi skirts of the time. They were very fashionable, as contemporary images of Princess Diana portray.


Uniform design

Location of item

Private Collection - Nick Thompson & Clare Ferraby


Private Collection - Nick Thompson & Clare Ferraby


Researcher: June Ellerby


30 cm x 21 cm