CATS Costume Hire 2017

Cats Costume Hire,Thespis,M Bicknell,

CATS Costume Hire 2017

CATS – Adult licences now available for 2017!

Since Cats first opened on the West End stage in 1981, it has become one of the world’s best known and best loved musicals.

With a plot based on T.S Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats and award-winning music composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Cats – originally directed by Trevor Nunn and with musical staging by Gillian Lynne – has since been presented in over 20 countries and in about 250 cities, including such diverse destinations as Buenos Aires, Seoul, Helsinki and Singapore.

An all-singing, all-dancing musical spectacular, the show has also been translated into 10 languages and has not only been presented in theatres, but also in tents in Japan and Korea, an engine shed in Switzerland, and school gymnasiums across the USA.

The licence for this show is now, at this moment in time, also available to ADULT amateur groups in the UK and Eire in 2017!

We are seeking interested groups who are willing to commit to design a set of costumes for CATS. If interested please contact us via our website. The licences are currently only being issued for 2017 so we need to move fast for delivery of costumes in the autumn.

You can be sure when hiring from Thespis Theatrical Costumiers , you will look truly amazing in any of  our costumes.


CATS Costume Hire 2017

Rock of Ages Dennis Dupree Wings

Rock of ages costumes, costume hire angels wings,angel wings hire

Rock of Ages Dennis Dupree Wings

Julia Holland spreads her “wings”!

It never seizes to amaze me what Julia manages to do with any costumes or props!

This time we acquired a set of wings for the Rock of Ages musical and when I mentioned this to Julia and send her a picture, she jumped at the chance to use it in a shoot.

Two stunning photos!

Photo Shoot Julia Holland

Angels Wings by Julia Holland

M Bicknell.  BA

Victorian v Edwardian Period Costumes 2

Victorian v Edwardian costumes

Victorian v Edwardian Period Costumes 2  

1870  to 1910

Victorian or Edwardian Period Costumes part 2 ?

My apologies for taking so long to publish the second part of this subject but Christmas and shows suddenly came in between but finally found a few minutes to spare before the next rush.

So here goes:

I finished part 1 when the silhouette of the crinoline changed and rather than being bell-shaped it was now becoming flatter at the front and projected out more behind.

Link for Part 1 

The Bustle had arrived!

Fashions by the 1870s were softer and more delicate, with pastel colouring and frivolous trimmings and decoration. Bodice necklines were square with exposed décolleté for evening. Dresses had ¾ length sleeves with lace cuffs or could be sleeveless for evening wear.

By this time the sewing machine was rapidly becoming a desirable acquisition for home use and this aided the draping of fabrics and the layering around the hips creating

Victorian v Edwardian Period Costumes 2 continued

Read more…

The Snow Queen

The Snow Queen

Good Luck to the Co-op Juniors Theatre Company in Suffolk with their spectacular Christmas Production!

Costumes for hire

The Snow Queen

A frozen Christmas Spectacular


Inspired by the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale.

A magical story set in a winter wonderland, it’s a feast for the senses with vibrant music and dance on a spectacular new stage set. Journey with Kai, Gerda and a fantastical snow creature to the palace of The Snow Queen! Their epic adventure is full of surprises: meet the frost trolls, ice bandits and the warm-hearted villagers in a musical celebration of Christmas, love and friendship suitable for the whole family.

Fri 2 Dec 4pm,
Sat & Sun 3 & 4, 10 & 11 Dec 12pm & 4pm
Wed 7 Dec 7.30pm,
Fri 9 Dec 4pm & 7.30pm

Book early for best prices!

The Snow Queen

Ousedale School Miss Saigon

Ousedale School Miss Saigon


Ousedale School Miss Saigon


Good Luck to the Ousedale School with their production of Miss Saigon! Break a leg!


miss-saigon-ousedale-school,Miss Saigon costumes,Costume Hire, Theatrical-Costumes,Theatrical-costume-hire

Ousedale School presents

Tuesday 18th – Thursday 20th October 2016
Newport Pagnell School Hall at 7pm

Tickets: Adults £12.50, Concessions £10
available from Ousedale School Finance Dept – 01908 210203


Costumes supplied for Ousedale School production of “Miss Saigon “

At Thespis  we have pushed the boundaries with our costumes just that little bit further with genuine 1967 –1970`s US soldiers uniforms. These include real flak jackets, M1 helmets, dog tags webbing belts even the boots are from the correct era. Genuine Vietnamese Ao – Dai dresses, we have got them all.

It is the attention to detail that makes Thespis’ costumes stand out in this spectacular of a show.


M Bicknell

Phantom of the Opera Monkey USA

Phantom of the Opera Monkey USA

On Tour in America !!

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Monkey from Phantom of the Opera
Our Phantom of the Opera Monkey is going on tour to America!    AKA “Cymbals”

He will be travelling with the Duke Of York`s Royal Military School.  Their international musical production this year is ‘The Phantom of the Opera‘. Members of the cast will travel to “West Point”, Virginia in October, to perform with the students from West Point High School.  The school has a rich tradition in the Performing Arts and students have the opportunity to engage in a range of performances from serious drama to musical theatre.

Duke Of York Royal Military School


Enjoy your trip “Break a leg” 

Phantom of the Opera Monkey Hire

Cymbals Operating Video

Cymbals Home Page



Phantom of the Opera Costumes  

Phantom Of The Opera Costume Hire,Thespis,Neil Bicknell,Costume+hire

Phantom of the Opera Costumes.

Testimonial From Perins Schools Production Of Phantom Of The Opera. With A surprise break a leg message from ? 

Here is a small selection of the fabulous pictures taken of the Show.

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Thank you so much .Here are some photos and a testimony for you website

Perins School’s production of Phantom of the Opera was a huge hit. With the help of Thespis, our show was worthy of the West End stage!

Every performance was awash with colour, and each character styled to perfection due to the stunning costumes. This was the first time we have used Thespis and it will certainly not be the last – the whole process was so easy, organised to perfection by Margaret right down to the last detail.


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Each costume came in a suit bag, labelled with both the character and the corresponding pupil’s name, an absolute blessing when we had over 250 costumes to store and sort. Our pupils were able to embody their characters with ease as they dressed in their beautifully detailed, embellished costumes true to the era and setting of the Opera Populaire, Paris.

We highly recommend Thespis – Margaret was a dream to work with and put up with our constant requests without question or hesitation. Thank you so much, roll on the next production!

Lizzy  XX    Mrs E McLaughlin

Perins School,L.Bennett,Phantom of the opera costumes,Phantom review,Costume hire,Ballet Corp phantom
Phantom Ballet Corp

Phantom of the Opera Costumes

Costume Hire For Phantom


Hire the Phantom of the Opera wind up monkey.

Remote Control Monkey

AKA Cymbals


Cast have received a very special surprise video message from the Phantom of the Opera West End cast, organised by Daisy Hulbert, a former Perins student!


Phantom of the Opera Costumes. Hire the best.

A very special thank you for Perins School and Photographer L Bennett for sharing these stunning photos.


M. Bicknell . BA

Victorian or Edwardian Period Costumes


Victorian or Edwardian Period Costumes  

Part 1  

1837  to 1870

Victorianor Edwardian Period Costumes

Victorian or Edwardian Period Costumes ?

As a costumier I find that most people find it difficult to distinguish between Victorian and Edwardian period costumes which on occasion can lead to some serious confusion.

First of all, it is necessary to establish the periods we are discussing here. Queen Victoria ascended to the throne in 1837 and reigned until her death in January 1901 so this period in the UK is generally referred to as “Victorian”. The Edwardian period followed the Victorian period with the reign of King Edward V11 from 1901 to 1910 so we are referring to two very distinct eras in history which ran consecutively.

Let’s examine the British fashions at the time of Queen Victoria’ ascension to the throne in 1837 also referred to as “early Victorian “. The fashion press looked to this young queen to endorse new fashions and generally become an icon for her age.

Contrary to general belief Victoria was, until Prince Albert’s death at least, interested in fashion. But she was not a frivolous royal leader and her belief in simplicity and demure elegance is echoed by the fashion plates of the day.

From the late 1830s dresses expanded slowly but surely to ever wider proportions, enveloping the legs and ankles completely. The bell-shaped skirts were worn over layers of petticoats. Lower shoulder lines and tighter sleeves restricted the range of upper body movements as did square shawls folded diagonally and draped around the shoulders.

These low -waisted dresses required long, heavily boned corsets to give them their shape.

The corsets of the 1840s were stiffened with whalebone and had a long front busk pushing down on the embonpoint (plumpness of the stomach), creating the desired narrow waist.

Picture: Fashions for August 1838: Image of a fashion plate engraved and hand coloured for an early Victorian ladies’ magazine.   Location: R. Crompton Rhodes Collection of Fashion Plates No. 80 Early and Fine Printing Collection

Large hats were to give way to smaller bonnets, plainer fabric colours were chosen over brights .

These demure day dresses stayed in fashion until the mid-1850s with slight variances to sleeves making an appearance.

From the mid 1850s for the next decade, the new crinoline frame provided some relief from wearing multi layered petticoats, but its buoyancy meant that long cotton drawers were now essential under linen. These cages were made of spring steel hoops, increasing in diameter towards the bottom, suspended on cotton tape.




Bodices and skirts were often separate items allowing alternate style of bodice, and front fastening for convenience. With the availability of domestic sewing machines home-dressmaking increased, as did the use of copious trimmings.


The crinoline craze reached its peak during the late 1850s and early 1860s.After about 1862 the silhouette of the crinoline changed and rather than being bell-shaped it was now flatter at the front and projected out more behind. The crinolettes and bustle pads took over.

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Victorian Costume. Many items available to hire from Thespis

Victorian Petticoats,bell-shaped skirts,costume+hire,Victorian+costume+hire

Victorian or Edwardian Period Costumes.   To be continued.

Please feel free to comment on this subject.

M Bicknell


LARP Costume Hire

LARP Costume Hire

LARP or “Live Action Role-Playing Game”

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larp-bicolline Quebec

It is often dismissed as “geeks playing with latex swords” but those that are involved in LARP describe it as a form of interactive storytelling or free-form amateur dramatics.

LARP is a form of role-playing game where the participants physically act out their character’s actions. The players pursue goals within a fictional setting represented by the real world while interacting with each other in character.

The first LARPs were run in late 1970s in the United States and focused on fantasy battles, inspired by table top role playing games and genre fiction. The activity spread internationally during the 1980s and has diversified into a wide variety of style.

Events are put on for the benefit of the players who take on the roles called “player characters” that the players may have created themselves or given by the gamemasters   The gamemasters determine the rules and setting of a LARP and may also influence an event and act as referees while it is taking place.

LARP events can have any genre although many use themes and settings derived from genre fiction such as Lord of the Rings or the World of Darkness. Fantasy is probably LARP’s most common genre and the one used for the largest events which can have thousands of participants ( A battle with 2000 participants at Bicolline in Quebec in 2005).

Needless to say that costumes and attire play an enormous significance in the creation of the character and the subsequent play .



We have at Thespis a selection of Medieval and Roman costumes which can be hired for an event if you do not want to buy all the gear or you are just “trying out” the activity. Our Roman costumes consist of a full metal Lorica Segmentata  with a Centurion helmet, reproduction roman sandals ( metal studded!) , leather bracers and leather apron belt with brass fittings. Please see our main website for further photographs in the Phantom of the opera show section.

As a Denix replica weapons supplier we  have a good selection of reproduction weapons such as Napoleonic muskets,Flintlock pistols, right up to modern replica weapons such as the M16,Lee Enfield rifles and pistols for sale or hire. Restriction may apply and details will be appearing on the FAQ`s pages.

New pages for the Thespis Armoury Shop and hire will be appearing shortly.

LARP Costume Hire at Thespis Theatrical Costumiers Ltd

M Bicknell


Little Shop of Horrors NYMT

Little Shop of Horrors NYMT

Little Shop of Horrors costumes,Costume+hire,Seymour Krelborn ,Audrey II
Little Shop of Horrors


Little Shop of Horrors comes to the Madder Market 2nd – 5th November

Little Shop of Horrors is a delectable sci-fi horror musical with an electrifying 1960s pop/rock score by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman.


“Seymour Krelborn is a meek and dejected assistant at a floral shop who happens upon a strange plant, which he affectionately names “Audrey II” after his crush at the shop. Little does he know that this strange and unusual plant will develop a soulful R&B voice, a potty mouth, and an unquenchable thirst for HUMAN BLOOD.

Thepsis Costumes for Little Shop of Horrors

As Audrey II grows bigger and meaner, the carnivorous plant promises limitless fame and fortune to Seymour, as long as he continues providing a fresh supply of blood. Just when it’s too late, Seymour discovers Audrey II’s extra-terrestrial origins and his true drive for world-domination.”

In true NYMT style this promises to be another great production. This is a group that never disappoints! It may be a youth group but they sound considerably better than a lot of adult performances I have seen. Do not underestimate! A great family show! Do not miss!

Tickets on sale now!

Madder Market TICKETS £14, £12, £10

Norfolk Youth Music Theatre


M Bicknell

Goodwood Revival costumes

Goodwood Revival Costumes

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Goodwood-Revival-Festival of Speed

Revival 2016: A vintage year!

“The smell of engines mingles with the roar of iconic race cars at Goodwood Revival, a three-day September festival celebrating the halcyon days of motor racing with the accompanying glamour of 1940s, ’50s and ’60s.”

The annual 3 day sell out event at Goodwood has just come to an end and if you are planning your visit next year, come and talk to us about vintage 1940’s – 1960’s attire. The fabulous styles of those periods is not one we can often emulate but the Revival is a place where this era of fashion is celebrated and cherished. Transport yourself back in time. Book your costumes at Thespis early to avoid disappointment. We can supply you with a 1940s Officers Army uniform as well as a colourful 1940`s & 50’s swing dress. The choice is yours!

Each day of the Revival weekend a group of fashion experts chooses the people with the finest outfits, with this short-list invited to take part in the daily Best Dressed Competition

For the ladies, one winner and two runners-up are picked, and awarded with a bottle of Veuve Clicquot and beautiful flower bouquet. While for the chaps there is an individual prize of a bottle of Gordon’s Castle Gin and Robusto House cigar, for different categories of outfit; for example, the best Royal Air Force uniform.

The Best Dressed competition is of course a light-hearted way to celebrate retro clothing and design, but if you are keen to make the final shortlist then there are ways to impress the judges.

The Best Dressed judges are all about the details. As experts in fashion and culture of the 1940s – 60s, the key is authenticity, whether that is by using original garments and accessories from that period or relying on more modern pieces to capture the essence of a vintage look.

Packed out. Aerial Photo taken on the 12th September 2016 by:  Neil Bicknell

 Goodwood Revival . Arial Photo Goodwood+revival+festival,Costumes+for+hire,
Goodwood Revival . Arial Photo of the packed event 12th Sept 16

Revival Costume ideas

M Bicknell

LAMDA Fight Night 2016

LAMDA Fight Night 2016


Callum Blake+LAMDA
Callum Blake

Raj Paul+lamda
Raj Paul    Fight Night You Tube Video

LAMDA Fight Night at the Greenwood Theatre, London, between Callum Blake (Curtis Brown Agency ) and Raj Paul. A display of fine choreographed close combat heavy sabre sword fighting.

Costumes supplied by Thespis Theatrical Costumiers.

From the LAMDA web site: 

“A huge congratulations to the winners of our 39th Fight Night, an annual demonstration of our students’ stage combat skills.

The Phillipson Sword for Outstanding Technique went to graduating students Ziggy Heath and Ryan Watkinson, whilst the Jubilee Trophy for Best Fight went to the cast of Le Bossu. We’d also like to say well done to the runners up in the Best Fight category, Callum Bicknell and Raj Paul.”


LAMDA Graduates 2016

Curtis Brown


Miss Saigon 25th Anniversary

Miss Saigon 25th Anniversary Performance of to Be Screened in U.K. Cinemas

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Miss Saigon 25th Anniversary 2017

Screened in cinemas for one day only October 16


Eva Noblezada in Miss Saigon (Michael Le Poer Trench)


Miss Saigon: The 25th Anniversary Performance, filmed in front of a live audience at the musical’s 25th anniversary performance at London’s Prince Edward Theatre in 2015, is to be screened in cinemas for one day only October 16, ahead of a DVD release.


In a press statement, Cameron Mackintosh, producer of the musical and of the film, comments: “The results were so astonishingly cinematic that it was decided that in order to create a unique cinematic/theatrical experience we would film some additional covering shots filmed in January 2016. As this was a filmed live performance, the orchestra and vocals were taken directly from the show’s sound system – one take and no overdubs! It was decided not to digitally remove the stage microphones to remind viewers this was a stage event rather than a film. Remarkably, the emotional performances of this wonderful cast in close-up seems entirely natural as if they were being shot for the cinema rather than being performed in a 1,700-seat theatre. The clarity of the sound and the sweeping music makes this passionate story even more intensely thrilling and moving on the screen.”


The cast is led by Jon Jon Briones as The Engineer, Eva Noblezada as Kim, Alistair Brammer as Chris, Hugh Maynard as John, Tamsin Carroll as Ellen and Rachelle Ann Go as Gigi. There is also a special finale that sees the 25th anniversary performance cast joined onstage by original cast members including Jonathan Pryce, Lea Salonga and Simon Bowman.


For more information on the U.K. cinema release dates , visit the following      Official Miss Saigon Web Site    Miss Saigon Costume Hire

M Bicknell

Addams Family Tour 2017

Addams Family Tour 2017   (NEWS)

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Addams Family Tour 2017

A new production of this musical comedy The Addams Family will tour the UK and Ireland in 2017


Directed by Matthew White, the show will open in Edinburgh on April 20, 2017, before touring to locations including Northampton, Southend, Birmingham, Truro, Cardiff and Dublin.

It is scheduled to finish at the Lowry in Salford on September 9, 2017, with further tour dates to be announced.

It has music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa and a book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice. The show, based on the characters created by Charles Addams, previously enjoyed a run of nearly two years on Broadway starring Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth. Casting for the forthcoming tour is yet to be announced.

The Addams Family original stories were adapted into two Hollywood films in the ’90s, The Addams Family and its sequel The Addams Family Values, which starred Anjelica Huston, Raúl Juliá and Christina Ricci.

Plot Summary. Wednesday Addams, the ultimate princess of darkness, has grown up and has a shocking secret that only Gomez knows; she’s fallen in love with a sweet, smart young man from a respectable family! Now, Gomez Addams must do something he’s never done before – keep a secret from his beloved wife, Morticia. Everything will change for the whole family on the fateful night they host a dinner for Wednesday’s “normal” boyfriend and his parents. All the usual clan are present – Uncle Fester, Lurch, Pugsley et al.

The show is being produced by United Theatrical, Aria Entertainment and Music and Lyrics, through special arrangement with Theatrical Rights Worldwide.

THE ADDAMS FAMILY is presented through special arrangement with Theatrical Rights Worldwide.

For further information, please visit Twitter: @AddamsFamilyUK

Click for Tour Dates


2012 You Tube Trailer


M Bicknell

Elizabethan Costume

Royal Shakespeare Company Elizabethan Costume

A new acquisition to the Thespis collection.A beautifully made costume by the Royal Shakespeare Company.The bodice is beautifully corseted and fitting tightly into the waist and laces up at the back.It has a very full skirt and lovely shaped sleeves.Incredibly  heavy!