What to Expect at the University Productions Costume Shop

What to Expect at the University Productions Costume Shop


So… here you are, a student at the School
of Music, Theatre & Dance, and one of the things you’ve been dreaming about has finally
happened: You’ve been cast in an opera, musical, play
or dance production. Congratulations! So guess what happens next, before you even
start rehearsals? You get an email request to set up an appointment
with — the Costume Shop! [MUSIC] That’s right, creating your costume — or
maybe multiple costumes — begins as soon as the casting sheet is posted. So how does that all work? [PENSIVE MUSIC] Relax… it’s a process, and it’s one
that’s run by seasoned professionals who will take good care of you. The team includes the show’s costume designer,
who creates the beautiful drawings and makes the decisions about your character’s clothes. The costume shop manager, who runs the shop
and sends all those emails. The wardrobe supervisor, who will be at all
of the dress rehearsals to train the crew. And the draper, who is responsible for overseeing
the building of your costumes, whether altering existing costumes or building them new for
you. Later on, you’ll have a separate appointment
for hair, wigs, and make-up. Wigs! Who doesn’t love wigs?! [MUSIC] So let’s take this step by step …. Like I said, as soon as you’re cast, you’ll
get an email from the costume shop asking you to make an appointment to meet you and
take your measurements. [SUSPENSEFUL MUSIC and SCREAMS] Yes, I said measurements. Don’t worry — no one is judging; these
are just numbers they need in order to build and alter costumes. No one but you and the costume staff will
ever see those numbers. You’ll be asked to wear your regular undergarments,
but no sports bras. And please do wear deodorant [DING DING], and don’t
wear perfume or after shave [BUZZER]. [MUSIC] So you show up for your first appointment
at the shop, located on the second floor of the Walgreen Drama Center. [MUSIC] nd if you’re running late … [PHONE RINGS] …please call ahead and let them know! [DING DING DING DING] [MUSIC] So when you arrive, introduce yourself. A draper will be here, ready to assist you,
and you’ll be asked a few questions — contact information, personal pronouns, any allergies, any medical devices, any movement restrictions No need to undress at this appointment, but
your measurements will be taken–bust, inseam, etcetera — so it’s a good idea to wear
close-fitting clothing instead of anything bulky or baggy. A skin tone swatch will also be selected. That will help the designer customize the
costume for you. Then they’ll take a photo of you… [SUSPENSEFUL MUSIC and SCREAMS] Again, relax. No one but the costume team will ever see
it — it’s  just for their use in developing your costume. So that’s it for appointment one. [MUSIC] Your next appointment is your first fitting. Appointments are again made by email, and
they’re based on your course schedule. At this appointment, you’re trying on your
costume for the first time. Remember, you’ll be putting on clothes that,
in all likelihood, will NOT fit you — that’s why it’s called a fitting! You’ll have to undress down to your undergarments
in one of the curtained dressing rooms. Usually you’ll be given the  first layer
of your costume — whatever that might be — to put on yourself in the dressing room. If you need assistance, just open the curtain
— that’s the signal that you’re giving consent to be seen. And remember: you’ll always have some base
layer of clothing for any costume. That way, if there are quick changes at the
show, you’re always covered. There’s no nudity backstage! [BUZZER] You might be trying on a gorgeous 19th century
gown. Or it might be a beggar’s rags. Or maybe you’re playing a rat. Literally. A rodent. It’s not always glamorous in the costume
world. But no matter what it is, just remember: if
the costume doesn’t fit, it’s not your fault…it’s the costume’s fault! And that’s what our team of pros is here
to fix! So here’s what you wear to your first fitting: —full coverage underwear
—A regular bra for women —boxer briefs for men
—A hair tie for long hair If your costume is a period piece, you’ll
be provided period foundation garments that help create the correct silhouette. If your underwear is seen on stage as part
of the design, it will be provided; you might need a dance belt or a thong. Sometimes costume work may include padding. If a costume is being built for you, you might
be fit in a “mock up” or muslin. Muslin is inexpensive fabric that allows a
practice costume to be made before cutting into the expensive fashion fabric. As the Designer and Draper figure out your
costume, you may not understand what they’re talking about. It’s just technical jargon. But don’t hesitate to ask questions — they’re
happy to explain. And remember, the costume team can’t do
their job without touching you, but DO let them know if you are uncomfortable in any
way. You’re part of the team now! Also, think about what you’ll be doing in
the costume — your movements — will you be sword fighting, running, climbing, sitting? As a dancer, will any part of the costume
get in your way? Will you need pockets and are you using hand
props? This is the time to consider everything and
get the costume right. In most case, you’ll also be trying on shoes,
and maybe accessories likes hats and gloves. [MUSIC] After the costume is altered, you’ll make
an appointment to come back for a second, and probably final fitting. Any last minute adjustments will be made. Your last appointment will be for your hair
and makeup. The designer will try a wig on you if your
character needs one. (Wigs! Yes!) Oh, and fyi, you’ll be required to provide
your own basic stage makeup kit and bring it to this appointment. But you’ll get more info on that later. So, with costume, hair and make-up all set,
it’s time to take the stage… … even if you’re a rodent. [Music]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *