Headdress worn by Vivien Leigh in the role of Titania, 1937


Vivien Leigh played the role of Titania in Tyrone Guthrie’s 1937 production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The costume for Leigh, designed by Oliver Messel, sought to epitomise the romantic ideal of a fairy queen seen through Victorian eyes, emphasising not only Titania’s otherworldliness but also her imperious, steely determination. This headdress, worn by Vivien Leigh during the production, uses imitation pearls, rhinestone and cellophane: an example of how theatre designers can create magical effects and illusions from the most commonplace of materials.

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Headdress worn by Vivien Leigh in the role of Titania, 1937
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