DCSIMG

Curtain call for costume collection

Dressing up: Jane Rawkins and Kath Longworth from the Dress Circle in Longridge with one of their creations

Dressing up: Jane Rawkins and Kath Longworth from the Dress Circle in Longridge with one of their creations

Policemen’s hats, hula girl outfits and Elizabethan corsets are all for sale as part of 3,000 item costume collection.

For almost 30 years, Dress Circle has supplied hand-made creations to amateur drama groups, schools and individuals across the North West.

But now the three friends who run it - Jane Rawkins. Kath Longworth and Joan Mackin - want to retire, so their stock and premises in Berry Lane are up for sale.

They hope the business can be sold as a going concern, so that all the outfits can stay together, but know the costumes could be divided up to go under the hammer.

Jane said: “We are all members of the Grimsargh Players and we started making costumes for different productions. It developed from there, with other groups hearing about what we did.

“We ran the business from my home for the first two years, then it got too much. We had people turning up at all hours, so we got the shop.”

Their workshop has seen the creation of outfits for actors from 60 amateur groups. The women have also accumulated a stock of uniforms, vintage clothing and fancy dress.

Jane added: “We used to have to make things from scratch for practically everything, but we never sold anything, so have built up our stock. Now we rarely have to make anything, but we still like the production side and enjoy a challenge.”

Jane said the most popular items vary, with Hollywood affecting trends. Recently there has been a big call for Pirates of the Caribbean outfits.

She added: “People like our costumes because they’re hand-made and you won’t look exactly the same as some one else at a party.”

Joan said: “We would dearly love to see Dress Circle pass on as a going concern to a new owner who would have the time and inclination to move the company on to new and greater things.

“It would be a great shame to sell the costumes individually – I don’t know what a lot of theatre groups would do without us.”

 

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