Exploring the archives: Richard III

With over 50 years of theatre productions under our belt, there’s no shortage of interesting treasures to be found around the halls of MTC HQ. During a recent visit to our wardrobe department, we discovered the shoes Ewen Leslie wore as Richard of Gloucester in our our 2010 production of “Richard III”:. Ewen’s characterisation of Richard involved wearing a brace on his left leg, and dragging the leg fiercely whenever he moved. After 13 weeks of portraying the deformity, the effects on his body were very real – he experienced atrophy in his left calf muscle, as he recently told The Age. And when you look at the shoes, it’s not hard to believe!

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Our dedicated wardrobe team would build the shoes up regularly to make them look as-new (or as-complete-as-possible), using a product similar to what skateboarders use to repair the soles of their shoes. But as you can see, it didn’t last long. Some of the residue is visible on the shoe on the right in the images above – you can see how thickly they had to apply it!

Are there any props, sets or costumes from past MTC productions that you’d like to learn more about? Leave a comment below and we’ll try to share their stories.

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