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Theatre costume

Theatre costume

  • Place of origin:

    London (possibly, made)

  • Date:

    1950 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Kirsta, George (costume designer)

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Dame Alicia Markova

  • Museum number:

    S.646&A to B-1983

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Although the leading ballerina role in Casse-Noisette (The Nutcracker) is the Sugar Plum Fairy, the character does not appear until the second act and then only in a pas de deux and variations. When Alicia Markova danced in the ballet in 1950, she decided also to appear at the end of Act I as the Snow Queen, giving her a more substantial role in the production. The costume is a perfect evocation of a snow fairy - the pale blue tarlatan and net set off with silver lamé decoration, and the diamanté crown set on a wig of opalescent cellophane. The wig was the brainchild of the legendary Stanley Hall of Wig Creations, and was the first ever made of cellophane. Under the lights the whole costume suggested cold and frost.

Alicia Markova achieved fame while still a teenager with the Diaghilev Ballets Russes and, after Diaghilev's death in 1929, danced with the embryo British companies, Ballet Rambert and the Vic-Wells (now The Royal) Ballet. With the latter, she achieved ballerina status, dancing the major classical roles in Swan Lake, Giselle and Casse-Noisette. After Anna Pavlova died in 1931, Markova commissioned all her tutus from Pavlova's costume maker, Mme Manya (Manya Charchevnikova).

Place of Origin

London (possibly, made)


1950 (made)


Kirsta, George (costume designer)

Object history note

Costume for the Snow Queen worn by Alicia Markova in Act I of Lev Ivanov's ballet Casse-Noisette (The Nutcracker), Festival Ballet, Stoll Theatre, London, 1950. The scenery and costumes were designed by George Kirsta. Alicia Markova also danced the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy in Act II.

Descriptive line

Costume worn by Alicia Markova as the Snow Queen in Act I of Casse-Noisette (The Nutcracker), Festival Ballet, Stoll Theatre, London, 1950.


Entertainment & Leisure; Stage costumes


Theatre and Performance Collection

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