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Coats becomes Official Thread Supplier to the Royal Shakespeare Company

6 March 2018

Coats, the world’s leading industrial thread manufacturer and a major player in the Americas textile crafts market, has become the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Official Thread Supplier and is also supporting the RSC’s ‘Stitch In Time’ campaign.

The three-year partnership will provide the RSC with a regular supply of Coats thread.  It is already used frequently by RSC staff in costume making and millinery and Coats will also collaborate on design innovations where its expertise in threads, yarns and fabrics brings new opportunities to explore for costume design.

Rajiv Sharma, Group Chief Executive, Coats, said; ‘This is an incredibly exciting and unique partnership.  The RSC is known worldwide and has tours, residencies and live screenings in many of our key markets.  Being Official Thread Supplier to the world’s leading theatre company creates an unparalleled opportunity to bring the Coats brand direct to our end consumers and there are also excellent synergies and opportunities on many different levels, including commercial, innovation and talent development.’

The RSC’s costume department in Shakespeare’s hometown of Stratford-upon-Avon, UK, is the largest in British theatre, and millions of audience members enjoy RSC costumes every year.  As well as the plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries, the RSC produces new work from living artists and also has an extensive education programme. 

Over 50 detailed measurements are taken of each RSC actor’s body to make each bespoke pattern and costume, and an RSC costume can be on stage for well over 100 performances seen worldwide, so it needs to be made to withstand the rigours of the stage.  As well as being worn by some of the greatest names in British theatre, many of the costumes made for previous RSC productions have been hired out and used for countless TV programmes and movies including Shakespeare in Love, Braveheart and Gladiator.

Alistair McArthur, RSC Head of Costume, said: ‘Each year we use over 170,000 metres of thread on costumes made from the finest chiffon to the toughest leather.  We rely on Coats thread in all five of our workrooms, and every member of the RSC’s Costume Workshop team uses Coats thread every working day.  Our costumes must be robust, and look as good on their one hundredth performance as they did on day one.  The strength, durability, high quality and range of Coats thread means that they can cope with everything we throw at them, from washing, to dry cleaning, dying to distressing.  The thread influences every aspect of our costume making and production.’

Coats will also support the renovation and redevelopment of the RSC’s Costume Workshop, due to be completed in 2020.  The new workshop will provide the best facilities for costume-making, conserve the buildings’ heritage and offer new opportunities for training, apprenticeships and public access.  The public fundraising campaign for this project – Stitch In Time – was launched in September last year and the RSC is aiming to raise £3 million towards the costs of the redevelopment.

Catherine Mallyon, RSC Executive Director, said: ‘We are so pleased to have Coats as our Official Thread Supplier and as a supporter of our Stitch In Time campaign for the restoration and redevelopment of our Costume Workshop.  With a shared passion for high performance, Coats and the RSC will also collaborate on new projects at the cutting edge of design. It is fantastic to partner with a world class company, whose heritage, skills and innovation expertise combine so well with our commitment to excellence and attention to detail.  We look forward to working together over the next three years.’


To download a high resolution image go to:

For more information contact:
Kristina Blissett, Head of Communications
T +44 (0)208 210 5084, M +44 (0)7714 539887

Philippa Harland, RSC
T +44 (0)207 845 0512

Notes to Editors

About Coats

Coats is the world’s leading industrial thread manufacturer and a major player in the Americas textile crafts market. At home in some 60 countries, Coats employs 19,000 people across six continents. Revenues in 2017 were US$1.5bn.

Coats’ pioneering history and innovative culture ensure the company leads the way around the world: providing complementary and value added products and services to the apparel and footwear industries; applying innovative techniques to develop high technology Performance Materials threads and yarns in areas such as automotive, composites and fibre optics; and extending the crafts offer into new markets and online.

Headquartered in the UK, Coats is a FTSE 250 listed company on the London Stock Exchange.

  • Each year we make enough thread to go into 8 billion pairs of jeans - that’s one for every person on the planet
  • Every month Coats produces enough thread to stretch all the way to the sun
  • More than 450 million pairs of shoes are made every year using Coats’ thread
  • More than 100 million car airbags are made using Coats’ Performance Materials thread every year
  • In 1879 Thomas Edison used Coats’ thread in his experiments to invent the light bulb
  • Our Red Heart knitting and crochet yarn brand has been named ‘America’s Most Recommended’ by the Women’s Choice Award for three years running
  • Our flame retardant Performance Materials threads can withstand temperatures as high as 1,000 degrees Celsius
  • Coats is the second largest supplier of zips to global brands

About the Royal Shakespeare Company

The Royal Shakespeare Company creates theatre at its best, made in Stratford-upon-Avon and shared around the world.  We produce an inspirational artistic programme each year, setting Shakespeare in context, alongside the work of his contemporaries and today’s writers.  

Everyone at the RSC - from actors to armourers, musicians to technicians - plays a part in creating the world you see on stage.  All our productions begin life at our Stratford workshops and theatres and we bring them to the widest possible audience through our touring, residencies, live broadcasts and online activity. So wherever you experience the RSC, you experience work made in Shakespeare’s home town.  

We have trained generations of the very best theatre makers and we continue to nurture the talent of the future. We encourage everyone to enjoy a lifelong relationship with Shakespeare and live theatre.  We reach 530,000 children and young people annually through our education work, transforming their experiences in the classroom, in performance and online.  Registered charity no. 212481

Stitch In Time campaign

Support the restoration and redevelopment of our Costume Workshop and help us continue to create stunning costumes for audiences around the world to enjoy.  Your support will help:

  • Create the best facilities for costume-making, in a working environment fit for the 21st Century, including more space, more natural light and improved heating and cooling
  • Care for our heritage Grade II listed buildings, including the 1887 Scene Dock
  • Create new training and apprenticeships opportunities to enable costume-making skills to be passed on to future generations and to secure the future of costume-making in Stratford-upon-Avon
  • Enable visitors to experience our world-class Costume Workshop for themselves on tours and online


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