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Theatre costume

Theatre costume

  • Date:


  • Artist/Maker:

    Baylis, Nadine, born 1940 (costume designers)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    lycra, yarn. dye

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Ballets based on historical subjects are a particular problem for the designer as the extreme movement called for precludes direct historical reconstructions; thus a designer has to rethink history in terms of the subject and the choreography.
Nadine Baylis was an expert at creating dance costumes that carried overtones, either emotional or historical. The costumes for Journey to Avalon, which took its theme from the Arthurian legends, were brilliantly conceived. Although the action of the ballet was narrative rather than imaginative, her costumes eschewed realism and gave it the timelessness that such a theme needed. Dressing the men in basic body tights, subtly coloured and dyed, she added tattered panels of metallic knitting, which, when stretched over the body, suggested worn and battered armour and hinted at the gradual disintegration of the Camelot ideal.

Physical description

Lycra body tights dyed in tones of dull orange and grey. Attached to the waist and chest is a knitted panel with holes in silver yarn,




Baylis, Nadine, born 1940 (costume designers)

Materials and Techniques

lycra, yarn. dye


Length: 136 cm Neck to toe, Width: 47 cm Across shoulders, Weight: 2.5 kg In box with S.735, 737 & 375-1985 and S.1509-1982. Total box weight

Object history note

Costume for Arthur in Barry Moreland's ballet 'Journey to Avalon', London Festival Ballet, Royal Festival Hall, London, 25th August 1980. The music for the ballet was composed by Peter Maxwell Davies, and the scenery and costumes were designed by Nadine Baylis. The cast included Jay Jolley as Arthur, Mary McKendry as Guinevere, Manola Asensio as The Lady of the Lake, Ken Wells as Mordred, Jonathan Kelly as Lancelot, and Matz Skoog as Girflet.

Descriptive line

Costume for King Arthur in 'Journey to Avalon', London Festival Ballet, Royal Festival Hall, London, 1980

Production Note

Reason For Production: Commission


Lycra; Yarn; Dye


Machine stitching; Machine knitting; Dyeing

Production Type



Theatre and Performance Collection

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