In 2012 I graduated from Wimbledon College of Art where I studied Costume Interpretation. Here I gained a comprehensive knowledge of historical costume, beginning with a research project looking into the historical and social context of the evolution of costume in Western Europe, as well as gaining practical experience in corsetry and the making of bum rolls and pocket hoops to create period silhouettes.
Throughout my final year I created a range of different costumes, one of which was a Baroque Court Theatre Costume. This was exhibited at Hampton Court Palace, and subsequently sold to the costume company Past Pleasures.
My dissertation topic was costume within a carnival setting. This led me to the UK Centre for Carnival Arts, where I could learn about the history of carnival, and see the work of Colin Spalding first hand. I went on to create a Carnival costume of my own, based on one of his designs. This inspired me to travel to Cuba, where I attended the Carnival of Santiago de Cuba, which was incredibly insightful, and showed amazing use of recycled materials to create costumes that were amazingly detailed and extravagant.
I went on to do work experience at Nicola Killeen Textiles. My main role here was breaking down costumes for the production of Macbeth at Trafalgar Studios. I mainly worked with sand paper, cheese graters, a steel brush and paint. The process of aging costumes in this way produced fantastic results.
I then took part in the Tech week for Macbeth. I helped organise and label the costumes to go in each dressing room. I watched parts of the dress rehearsals and went out sourcing last minute items. I gained practical experience working within a theatre setting, and enjoyed seeing the complete selection of costumes coming together.
I have been a dresser for a number of productions including Blood Brothers, All Creatures Great and Small, Tis Pity She’s a Whore, Pygmalion and Cambridge Arts Theatre’s Christmas Pantomime Robin Hood. My costume maintenance role within these productions involved washing, ironing, steaming, dry cleaning and repairs. My role also involved lacing corsets, helping with zips, cufflinks and wigs, pre-setting, quick changes, assisting with props and accessories as well as keeping the Wardrobe department and quick change area tidy to ensure health and safety standards were met. I was on set throughout the Tech week of Pygmalion and Blood Brothers, which meant I was responsible for liaising with the cast to choreograph each quick change and to type up dressing notes for future dressers. For each show I also assisted with ‘Get Out’; packing up costumes and accessories, loading them into the wardrobe, and ensuring dressing rooms were left clear. For this position teamwork, willingness to work unsociable hours and organisational skills are a must.
I was a Costume Assistant at Emma Jealouse Costumes. Here I helped to construct costumes for the musical Barnum. This involved hand and machine sewing, working to deadlines and working well within a team.