Stolen Manchester Royal Exchange Theatre Gypsy costumes found

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Head of wardrobe Nicola Meredith said the vintage items were “unique”

A van containing hundreds of “irreplaceable” handmade costumes for a theatre’s Christmas show has been been found.

The garments, to be used for Gypsy at Manchester’s Royal Exchange, were in the vehicle when it was taken from a pub car park in Middleton in the early hours of Thursday.

The van was found by police five miles away in Salford later that day.

A theatre spokeswoman said they were delighted to find nothing was missing.

The van was found by police at 19:00 BST on Vine Street in Salford.

It had been stolen from the Lancashire Fold pub car park between 00:30 and 07:00.

The theatre tweeted: “We can’t quite believe it.”

Wardrobe staff said they had been overwhelmed with offers of help from other theatres and members of the public.

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Royal Exchange

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Wardrobe staff were delighted to find nothing missing

Head of wardrobe Nicola Meredith said the vintage items were “unique” and had “taken years to collect”.

Rehearsals for the Broadway classic Gypsy begin next week with the opening night on 30 November.

The white Mercedes Sprinter was full of old cinema chairs and 12 large chequered laundry bags full of costumes from the 1930s and 40s, which included kimonos and silk dressing gowns.

They were being transported from a storage facility to the theatre when the van was taken.

The theatre, which won four prizes at the 2018 UK Theatre Awards and is one of the country’s top regional theatres, has become known for its lavish Christmas musicals, having previously put on productions of The Producers and Guys and Dolls.

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Royal Exchange Theatre

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The theatre said the production of Gypsy would go ahead as planned

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