Step into Downton Abbey

The kitchen and dining room are some of Downton Abbey's spaces that have been duplicated to a T.
The kitchen and dining room are some of Downton Abbey's spaces that have been duplicated to a T.PHOTOS: DESMOND WEE, NBCUNIVERSAL
The kitchen and dining room are some of Downton Abbey's spaces that have been duplicated to a T.
The kitchen and dining room are some of Downton Abbey's spaces that have been duplicated to a T.PHOTOS: DESMOND WEE, NBCUNIVERSAL

Replicas of rooms from the TV drama are the highlight of an exhibition at MBS

Singaporean fans of the hit period drama Downton Abbey will be among the first lucky few in the world to step into replicas of the grand dining room, Lady Mary's bedroom and Mrs Patmore's bustling kitchen, at an immersive touring exhibition that opens today at Marina Bay Sands (MBS).

The multimillion-dollar Downton Abbey: The Exhibition will give visitors access into the world of the aristocratic Crawleys and their servants, and it is kicking off in Singapore, the only Asian stop for now.

Presented by NBCUniversal International Studios and Imagine Exhibitions, the show will travel to other cities such as New York and Sydney. Tickets to the exhibition here are priced from $30 an adult and $15 a child. It will run till July 31.

The actors themselves might not be present at the 2,000 sq m exhibition, but it almost feels as if they could be.

Like any guest to Downton Abbey, visitors are greeted by the no-nonsense head butler, Mr Carson, through a video installation.

This is followed by a zone filled with information panels and props related to the main characters.

A major highlight of the exhibition is the recreation of some of the series' most recognisable rooms using the same props.

  • BOOK IT / DOWNTON ABBEY: THE EXHIBITION


    WHERE: Hall F, Basement 2 Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Marina Bay Sands, 1 Bayfront Avenue

    WHEN: Today to July 31, 11am to 8pm (last admission at 7pm)

    ADMISSION: $30 (adult), $15 (child aged two to 12) and $28 (senior citizen aged 65 and above) (Mondays to Thursdays); $35 (adult), $17 (child) and $33 (senior citizen) (Fridays to Sundays)

    INFO: downtonexhibition.com

These "bring (visitors) into the very heart of Downton Abbey, both below stairs and into the beautifully recreated dining room", says the show's executive producer Liz Trubridge.

There is the boisterous servants' quarters where the iconic bell board can be found, a key communicative tool between the family and the servants.

Farther down is the kitchen, where feisty cook Mrs Patmore can be heard yelling out orders to her assistant Daisy.

And then there is the opulent dining room, a space where many a heated discussion took place among the family and its guests. Family portraits line the walls and the table is set with sparkling silverware.

Other rooms such as the library are brought to life using video installations and significant scenes from the series.

An exhibition on Downton Abbey would not be complete without a showcase of the elaborate costumes that reflect fashion between 1912 and 1925.

More than 50 of the outfits worn by the cast over the six seasons are on display, from the servants' uniforms to Lady Mary and Lady Edith's evening dresses.

Ms Sarah Cooper, NBCUniversal International Studios' chief operating officer, says that the concept of the exhibition was to bring to life a combination of the show's "beautiful design, characters and fantastic storyline... because those threads are what really made it a success in the first place".

It is important, she adds, that the exhibition reflects the significant historic moments in the period the series was set, such as World War I and the introduction of electricity and telephones.

Information on these is provided and visitors will get to fiddle with some period instruments such as the candlestick telephone and gramophone.

The exhibition includes a gift shop and a Downton-themed tea room where visitors can enjoy a high tea set fit for the Dowager Countess of Grantham herself.

Some stars of the series will be in town to attend the red-carpet launch of the exhibition next Wednesday at MBS.

They include Laura Carmichael, who plays Lady Edith, Jim Carter (Mr Carson), Phyllis Logan (Mrs Hughes), Kevin Doyle (Molesley), Sophie McShera (Daisy) and Michael Fox (Andy). Series creator Julian Fellowes will be present for the launch too.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 17, 2017, with the headline 'Step into Downton Abbey'. Print Edition | Subscribe