A costumer without theater

Hello. I am a costume designer for theater and dance, and it’s been six months since my last show. I usually live my life alternating between pushing to finish shows on time, and crashing when I have a break. Then Covid-19 put a stop to all that. I had four shows in process when the Stay-At-Home order took effect in New Hampshire. One by one, they were canceled. I found myself with lots of free time, and a question; what is the role of a costumer in a world without theater?

Fortunately, I have been (unknowingly) preparing for this all my life. Every time I bought supplies for a craft project that I didn’t have time to do, every time I couldn’t resist a pretty piece of fabric on sale, I was stocking up to provide myself with hours of creative pursuits when finds were limited, and going to store inadvisable or impossible. I put together a (very long) list of unfinished projects that had been laying around, clogging up my work space, and started polishing them off.

But, it’s also impossible to stop inspiration, so many new projects have also crept in. I had to establish a “finish 5, start 1” rule, which has lately eased into “finish 3, start 1.” One of the first new projects I began was in response to my own way of processing the new reality of a pandemic world. I am fascinated by history, so it was natural to start researching past pandemics, and what I learned started turning itself to garments in my head. I’ve now created two costumes based around this research, one focused on the Asian Flu pandemic in the 1950’s, and one on the Hong Kong Flu on the late 1960’s. I’ve started work on a US WWI uniform to explore the Spanish Flu of 1918, and hope to move back further in time to look at more times we have faced these dangers as a society and survived.

I want to have a place to share the work I do, a way of connecting when a physical gathering is impossible. It’s also a way to keep myself on track, and make sure I’m finishing projects as well as being inspired in new directions. I hope you enjoy my creations

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