Costume design: SIX the Musical – Catherine of Aragon

Produced as part of Re:Imagining Musicals

SIX the Musical is a pop-Tudor mashup, fusing historical and contemporary references to tell the story of the six wives of Henry VIII.

Costume designer Gabriella Slade and costume supervisor Justin Allin take us behind the scenes, revealing the secrets of Catherine of Aragon's striking glitzy gold costume, inspired by historical portraiture, architecture and stained glass – but with a nod to pop superstar Beyoncé.

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First presented by Cambridge University students at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2017, SIX the Musical has since gone on to huge professional success in London's West End, on Broadway and internationally. It has also been celebrated for its relative historical accuracy, with songs such as 'No Way' sampling components from the real-life Queen Catherine of Aragon's 'Blackfriars speech', in which she pleaded for clemency from King Henry VIII.

The costume is now in the V&A’s collection of Theatre and Performance and can be seen as part of the Re:Imagining Musicals display until November 2023.

Background image: SIX the Musical West End Cast 2021. Photo by Pamela Raith