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V&A announces an all-star cast of objects across stage, screen and music to go on display

1 August 2021 to 30 April 2022

The V&A has announced that several significant costumes including an iconic drag costume from the musical Kinky Boots (2012), Eurovision winner Sandie Shaw’s mini dress and the UK’s first ballet pointe shoes for a variety of skin tones by Freed / Ballet Black have gone on display as part of a major refresh in the V&A Theatre and Performance Galleries. With a rolling programme of new material on display each month, the refresh will introduce over 120 objects from the V&A’s Theatre and Performance collection into the galleries.

Simon Sladen, Senior Curator of Modern and Contemporary Performance at the V&A, said “We can’t wait to welcome visitors to our newly curated areas in the Theatre and Performance Galleries, which recently celebrated their tenth anniversary. From creative idea to opening night, over a third of objects and archival material destined for display are recent acquisitions. The galleries are testament to the creativity, innovation and ingenuity of the Performing Arts and celebrate the practice, process and history of performance throughout the UK and across the Globe.”

Highlights from the refresh now on display include:

● The scarlet-red ensemble (complete with wig and thigh-high patent leather

boots) worn by Lola in the award winning musical Kinky Boots (2012).

● A pair of the UK’s first skin tone pointe shoes for Black, Asian and dual-heritage

dancers, by Freed of London in collaboration with Ballet Black, worn by Cira

Robinson as Tituba in Scottish Ballet’s The Crucible (2019).

● A winged costume for Garuda (1950s) designed and worn by pioneering Indian

dancer, choreographer and producer Ram Gopal.

● An ensemble worn by actor and manager Henry Irving in the role of

Mephistopheles in the Lyceum Company production of Faust (1885). The

costume, on display at the V&A for the first time, utilises an early example of

pyrotechnic technology.

● The pink mini dress worn by singer Sandie Shaw the ‘barefoot pop princess'

during her performance of ‘Puppet on a String’ at the Eurovision song contest in

1967, the first ever Eurovision win for the UK.

● An intricate dance costume made of colourful West African ‘Ankara’ print fabric

designed for a performance of the Adzogbo in the Adzido Pan African Dance

Ensemble production Sankofa (2000).

● The Olivier award winning showgirl costume for Young Solange inspired by the

Folies Bergère designed by Vicki Mortimer for the National Theatre’s 2017

production Follies.

For more information, check out the V&A website