George Orwell’s 1984

Another show which I worked on with the Rose Youth Theatre was a production of George Orwell’s 1984. For this show the performance space was stripped back and there was limited space for costume changes. The directors had a clear vision of the design that they wanted for this piece. The masks were a feature of the costume that had to tie in with the rest of the costumes.

As 1984’s key theme is rebelling from the routine and rules enforced by Big Brother, I leaned towards a uniform approach to the costumes. For the main basis of the costumes I used Decorating uniforms and dyed them into army green and a blue/grey, inspired by French workwear jackets. Then to match the broken people the costumes were broken down and patched together with flashes of red as a crude geometric representation of wounds.

For the three main principle actors I felt they needed to be dressed more in keeping with reality and reflective of the 1940’s time period that the directors had placed the piece in. As Winston grows more and more rebellious throughout the show, layers of clothes are stripped off (duster coat, jacket, shoes, trousers) until he is being interrogated and at his most vulnerable. Julia’s costume remained the same throughout, reflecting her strong and put together attitude.

Images courtesy of Simon Adrians – Tangle Photography (uk)

The Railway Children

Another show I designed for The Rose Youth Theatre was The Railway Children in March 2018. For this period piece I hired and also made a lot of the costumes so that I was able to keep to the Victorian style of dress. A lot of the designs are similar to those that were used in the film as I wanted the audience to identify characters easily. I did experiment and change colourways for the three principle children so that I could highlight certain aspects of their personalities through their costumes.

As with all of the Youth theatre shows, there are a vast amount of children that play the same characters. Managing the budget whilst wanting to stick to the Victorian era was quite tricky when the cast was so large. I had to be extremely organised and work out who would be able to wear the same costumes from show to show and alter them accordingly every day. Although this was time consuming by doing this I was able to stay within budget and put together costumes that I felt suited the play and was pleased by the overall look of the cast.

Photography By: Simon Adrians – Tangle Photography (uk)

Charlotte’S Web

My first job as a Costume Designer started with the production of Charlottes Web by the Rose Youth Theatre in January 2018. For the Youth Theatre productions there are six groups of 20 pupils all playing the same characters. This means that in order to dress 120 pupils I had to be very organised and resourceful to make it work with the budget that was available. I made a lot of the costumes myself as there was no other way of creating the clear vision that I had. By making a lot of the costumes I could also work out ways of fitting multiple children in the same costume and created costumes that were adaptable for our needs.

I was inspired by the characters in Wes Andersons “Fantastic Mr Fox” and wanted to incorporate the autumnal colour ways he used in his animation into my own work. I also did not want to take a fully literal approach to creating the animals. Instead I used simple additions of tails and ears to everyday clothing which aided the actors with their animal like movements. I often thought about what the human equivalent of the animals would be, and this was then reflected in the final costume designs. For the rat I would see him as a thief that was also rather suave and nibble, for Wilber the pig I imagined him as a toddler due to his naivety, and also Charlotte the spider, the acrobat with a sense of mystery about her. The design for the geese were one of my favourites because of the male and female versions that needed to work in unison. For this design I used different cuts and layers to differenciate their genders whilst keeping to the orange and white colour-ways throughout.

Photography By: Simon Adrians – Tangle Photography (uk)