In this time of need many of the Royal Exchange wardrobe team have joined the growing number of costume makers from the UK’s theatre, film and television departments all across the country who have come together as port of ‘Helping Dress Medics’ making scrubs for our doctors and nurses on the front line.

Nikki Meredith, Head of the Royal Exchange’s Wardrobe department, manages an incredibly skilled team of expert costume makers who can usually be found creating everything from a pair of trousers to the most extravagant sequin covered costumes for our Christmas musicals.

“Only a week earlier we had been making huge Victorian crinolines for our production of Rockets and Blue Lights and now its green scrubs,” said Nikki.

Joining the national effort, the Exchange team are part of a passionate Greater Manchester Hub with around 36 makers. All co-ordinated from, TV costume designer, Scott Langridge’s front room.

As Nikki explains, “Everyone is working from a spare room or a living room table but everything they are making is to the standard required by the NHS. All the garments are made from approved materials with issued patterns.”

The first delivery from the Manchester team has already landed at Manchester Royal Infirmary for distribution. A further 250 (completed in the past week) are earmarked for the new Nightingale Hospital.

Jennifer Adgey, a member of the Exchange’s Wardrobe Team added: “It feels really inspiring to be part of a community of different theatres all working together to help the NHS. It feels great to be using our skills to make a practical difference at this extraordinary time. And even though we are all in our own homes we are still doing this together. I’m also amazed at how fantastically organised it all is, the delivery of the fabric, the fact that it is all NHS standard, it’s amazing. I’ve made nine sets of scrubs so far and will absolutely carry on sewing.”

Nikki was also delighted that the theatre had been able to donate the scrubs which had been bought for the production of WIT starring Julie Hesmondhalgh, she said “these are all now being used by real medics – which is great”

“Needless to say, the work is still ongoing,” concluded Nikki.

To keep the sewing going more fabric is needed – to help make that happen Helping Dress Medics has a GoFundMe page for anyone who wants to donate.

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