AN archive collection of over 70,000 M&S goods, from the 1800s to the present, take centre stage in an intriguing show.

Dressed in Time, at Bradford’s Studio Theatre, will use fashion and music to tell the fascinating story of Marks & Spencer, from its origins on a Leeds market stall to becoming an international retailer.

Starring actors from local community theatre groups, with hair and make-up by students from Bradford College, Dressed in Time features characters from the 135-year history of M&S, taking the audience through the story of the store’s fashions from the 1930s to the present day.

The costumes have been selected from the M&S Archive’s collection of original vintage and replica garments. From glamorous gowns and beach pyjamas worn in the 30s and wartime fashion from the 40s, to vibrant colours and prints of the rock ‘n’ roll 50s, swinging 60s, 70s flares and 80s power dressing, the event brings the most popular fashion styles of the past back to life.

This is M&S Company Archive’s second time on the stage, following a successful performance in Leeds in 2017.

Katie Cameron, outreach officer at M&S Company Archive, said: “We’re delighted to be working with The Studio to bring the fascinating story of M&S to Bradford. This much-anticipated, one-off event is an exciting opportunity to showcase some of the fashion gems from the Archive collection and share the history of M&S.

“Characters from M&S past who helped to make the company what it is today will tell their stories. The audience will discover how Michael Marks first came to Leeds in 1884, how customers during the Second World War dealt with clothing rationing, right through to what shoppers in the 1960s thought of mini skirts.

“Whatever your favourite fashion decade, the show will transport you to the past while demonstrating how the designs of yesteryear have influenced today’s most modern trends.”

The M&S Company Archive - a collection of more than 70,000 historic items - is based at the University of Leeds’ Michael Marks Building.

The permanent Marks in Time exhibition offers an insight into the company’s corporate history, with an extensive collection of clothing, toys, books, homeware, food packaging and company documents. It celebrates the role M&S has played in people’s lives since 1884 and charts the development of the British retailer from its roots at Kirkgate Market in Leeds to the present day.

The Michael Marks Building opened to the public in March 2012 and has been the foundation for a broader partnership with the University of Leeds.

Admission to the exhibition is free and a programme of events runs throughout the year for visitors of all ages.

* Dressed in Time is at the Studio Theatre on Saturday, April 6 at 2pm. Tickets are £5 and include tea and cake after the performance. Booking is essential as places are limited. Visit

Emma Clayton