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Costume Design

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COSTUME DESIGNER/COORDINATOR OVERVIEW

The Costume Designer/Coordinator is appointed through the Production Management Committee.

The Costume Designer/Coordinator is responsible for outfitting the cast with Costume, hats and personal accessories appropriate to the design requirements of the production, reflecting such aspects as style, type, period, mood, level of affluence, the nature of the character, materials, and colours. This is done by creating the ‘Costume Plot’ – a list of the cast in a show indicating what Costume they will wear in each scene.

The Costume Designer is required to attend all Production Meetings with the Director, Set Designer, Scenic Painter and Set Decorator to discuss the requirements of the play, and to bring forward the Costume Plot for approval.

Once the designs are approved, the Costume Coordinator will arrange with the Director and Stage Manager to have actors attend for measurements to be taken – usually at the read through.

The Costume Coordinator should be prepared to attend and assist at any photograph sessions arranged by the Production Manager and Publicist.

The Costume Coordinator will begin assembling Costumes. The first source will be the Theatre’s Wardrobe, in consultation with the Wardrobe Manager. The next source, for a contemporary show, should be the cast (actors often prefer their own clothing items, in which they feel comfortable). If other items are still required, the Costume Coordinator may resort to local thrift shops. In all cases it may be necessary to make alterations and adjustments to ensure they fit the actors.

For special period Costumes it may be necessary to actually construct them (or, as a last resort, rent them). There are times when it may be more economical to purchase than to rent, and this issue should be discussed with the Director and Production Manager.

At all times, attention must be paid to available resources and the financial plan. If there is need to rent or purchase an item that is unusual, and possibly expensive, approval must first be obtained from the General Manager before proceeding.

When items of clothing, accessories etc. are borrowed, the owner must be informed that Metro Theatre undertakes to safeguard the items, and return them in good condition, but that Metro Theatre cannot accept responsibility for loss or damage, whatever the cause, beyond the loss/damage provisions of the Society’s insurance coverage. If the owner wishes extra and specific insurance, Metro Theatre can arrange this, at terms to be negotiated between the parties. The Production Manager should be involved whenever this becomes an issue.

The Costume Coordinator should prepare a list of all borrowed and rented items and give a copy of the list to the Production Manager and Stage Manager, together with any acknowledgements for the program, with respect to materials and services contributed to the show.

The Costume Coordinator is responsible for ensuring that Costumes and accessories used on stage (particularly borrowed or rented items) are kept clean and in good condition; this might include provision, and arrangements for the placing, of dust covers, or regular careful inspection and maintenance in between performances, and the periodic cleaning of items.

During the rehearsal period, as costumes are assembled, it will be necessary for the Costume Coordinator to arrange with the Director and Stage Manager for actors to be fitted.

Approximately one week before Tech Week, the Stage Manager and Director will arrange for a ‘Costume Parade’ – a point in the rehearsal period at which Directors will require that all costumes be ready to be seen – and often a specific rehearsal is scheduled for consideration by the director, the costume designer, and others of the artistic leadership.

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