Dress Circle of York which supplies costumes for TV and film dramas goes on market with asking price of £350,000

THE final curtain must fall on every business career.

A theatrical costume and fancy dress hire business which has supplied shows including Les Miserables, The Sound of Music, and Fiddler on the Roof, has been put on the market by its owners, who wish to retire.

Jill and Stephen Outhwaite have instructed Blacks Business Brokers to find a new owner for Dress Circle of York, with an asking price of £350,000.

Mr and Mrs Outhwaite bought the business in 2002. Mrs Outhwaite had previous costume experience and a history degree, while Mr Outhwaite, is a farmer, actor, director, set designer and theatrical make-up artist, and the founder of York’s Flying Ducks Youth Theatre.

Dress Circle of York, a theatrical costume hire business has been put on the market by its owners who wish to retire after running it for 20 years. The business provided the costumes for Aladdin which was performed in Leyburn by AJ Theatrical Productions. Picture: AJ Theatrical Productions,

Dress Circle of York was originally set up by the couple as a way of diversifying their farming business, and it operates from a 3,500 sq ft converted barn which forms part of the Outhwaites’ farm at Haxby, near York. The premises are not included in the sale, meaning the business is fully relocatable.

The asking price includes the assets of the business, comprising more than 16,000 hung costumes and a very large number of boxed costumes and accessories, plus the goodwill built up over two decades supplying the theatrical profession.

In 2019, the last full year before lockdown, Dress Circle of York provided costumes to more than 160 theatrical productions, and achieved turnover of £111,224. Since lockdown the business has been scaled back and is now run solely by Mrs Outhwaite, supplying a handful of productions while she makes the transition to retirement.

The business has, according to its owners, a large base of return customers. Theatres that have put on productions using its costumes include York Theatre Royal, York Grand Opera House, York Joseph Rowntree Theatre, Hull Truck, Hull New Theatre, Richmond Georgian Theatre Royal, Leeds Carriageworks, East Riding Theatre, Lincoln Theatre Royal and Phoenix Theatre, Blyth.

The business has also supplied costumes for film and TV productions.

Megan Sutherst, sales negotiator at Blacks Business Brokers, said, “As society continues to reopen, demand for theatrical hire is likely to rebound strongly. Dress Circle of York is well-known throughout the North of England’s theatrical world and will be well-placed to benefit from the resurgence of everything from big city centre shows to amateur dramatics.

“The fancy dress element of the business is also likely to see renewed demand as parties and themed events start to happen again in a big way when we head into the summer months. This is a fantastic, and rare, opportunity for an entrepreneur with a love of the theatre to put their stamp on a business that will continue to play a key role in the successful staging of hundreds of shows every year.”

All enquiries should be directed to Blacks Business Brokers on 0333 370 0000, quoting reference 7611.