First ever (sort of) review!

Dominique Bull is haunting in her roles as both witch and Lady Macduff, and how she manages what must be the quickest costume and character change in living history is beyond me”

I guess you know you’re doing it right as a dresser when the audience don’t even know you’re there! Great that someone appreciates what goes on behind the scenes :) 

Some photos taken by James Francis during the dress rehearsal of Mercury Fur. 

Here are the more specialised costumes from the show, an Elvis outfit and a red sequin dress for a transvestite. 

I ordered the Elvis costume and red dress as there was nothing suitable at Rose Bruford Costume store and these items were essential for the play. 

I hand painted the Elvis shoes gold and the Boat shoes red and then coated them in PVA mixed with glitter. I had to repaint parts of them after the two week rehearsal period before they went into production week. 

Here is also my new costume drawing for the party guest but since this drawing the character has become more sexualised but colour wise it is the same. Instead now it is more tailored and tighter.

Matt and Aiden tried on the transvestite’s outer costume before Matt knew his cast, this was useful for me to visualise it without knowing who the actor was and is something I would do again if I didn’t know the cast at that point. 

The fur coats lining was falling apart and I noticed during a run that Ollie’s hand was getting caught in it every time he tried to put it back on, which he had to do quickly. So I turned the coat inside out and repaired the whole thing, I hadn’t checked it before allowing him to rehearse with it, on my next show I will be more aware of these sort of problems and repair items before giving them to an actor. 

The last picture is of a knuckleduster which was made out of wood and painted black and with silver. I then coated it in pva and with a heat gun burnt into it. The nails were originally this long but we had them cut down. This knuckleduster isn’t particularly what I wanted but all the ones we could afford were either really cheap or looked like jewellery which wasn’t appropriate.  So I found a website where a man showed how to cheaply make lots of different types of weapons. 

Cutting the carpet, it was a horrible job that I did with Matt the director and Zoe, our scenic artist. It took ages but was worth doing it before our production weeks started as it was quite a big job that we didn’t have to think about and without the pressure we were able to take our time and do it properly. 

I designed the giant butterfly wallpaper and created a giant stamp out of sponge stuck to wood which I carved into with a scalpel.  The paper was papered onto the flats that Zoe built out of wood and painted pink or green and then stamped onto with the butterfly stamp in black. We then ripped and tore into the paper and stuck ripped pieces of wall pater onto the holes and on top of the paper and then painted into the whole flat in blacks and browns and greens.

Zoe very cleverly constructed the sloped roof with hinges and bolts. The bolts for when it was in the space and the hinges so it could be folded up for easy storage and transporting the pieces during the turn around.

The door flats were difficult as I hadn’t remeasured the model or technical drawing based on the doors we had sourced which meant the measurements were slightly off but Zoe mixed up which way round she placed the outer frames pieces so the flats aren’t actually quite at right angles but you don’t visually notice this. It meant that Zoe had to fill in gaps around the doors and fill in the doorframe a bit so that no light is emitted out which was very important for the show. One of the stage managers from another show painted in the mould and PVA coated the door windows and stapled the gauze on. She did a great job and I was very happy with them aesthetically. Unfortunately due to the reality of being in a low budget production when the doors opened and shut during the performance the whole wall shook and the reality of the construction was apparent to the audience. 

Final model box for Mercury Fur by Philip Ridley. Whilst the design worked in plan without any visible issues once we had marked it out in the space it became apparent very quickly that the angle of the stairs was impeding the actor’s ability to descend them with ease. Instead they felt that they were about to walk into an audience member. Also despite the space being balanced the reality was that the chair had to be placed on the opposite side of the stage as even though visually and logically it was balanced in terms of the traverse audience it wasn’t at all. Once these problems had been sorted, the chair and the stair’s angle the directing process for Matt was a lot easier and the actor’s were able to move within the space more naturally.

Final costume designs for Mercury Fur. Subsequently the character of Party Guest was actually cast with a female actress and so the costume design changed. Then, half way through the rehearsal period, the character became very sexualised and so the costume changed without me doing another drawing. I liked this quite organic approach to the designs and this is something I would apply to designing in future, giving actors items of clothing and accessories and seeing how they work with it and if not then removing those items from the design. Function is the most important thing about a costume design, the actor must be able to move safely without impairment. 

Final costume designs for Mercury Fur. Subsequently the character of Party Guest was actually cast with a female actress and so the costume design changed. Then, half way through the rehearsal period, the character became very sexualised and so the costume changed without me doing another drawing. I liked this quite organic approach to the designs and this is something I would apply to designing in future, giving actors items of clothing and accessories and seeing how they work with it and if not then removing those items from the design. Function is the most important thing about a costume design, the actor must be able to move safely without impairment. 

Some photos from my Grimeborn Napoleon Blown Apart entry for the Arcola theatre. I didn’t win but I learnt so much from doing just one photo shoot about  costume and hair and make-up and time management. The biggest part I learnt was creating enough space for performers to work in, these are all things which I took forward onto my first realised project because although I was aware of it all doing it was completely different.

I was also really glad that i had pushed myself to do this extra-curricular project as I surprised myself with how much I could actually get done in such a short space of time without everything going wrong!

It didn’t photograph that well though. If I were to do something like this again I would try and borrow a more high quality camera or ask someone with more skill than me to come photograph it for me. 

Some photos from my Grimeborn Napoleon Blown Apart entry for the Arcola theatre. I didn’t win but I learnt so much from doing just one photo shoot about  costume and hair and make-up and time management. The biggest part I learnt was creating enough space for performers to work in, these are all things which I took forward onto my first realised project because although I was aware of it all doing it was completely different.

I was also really glad that i had pushed myself to do this extra-curricular project as I surprised myself with how much I could actually get done in such a short space of time without everything going wrong!

It didn’t photograph that well though. If I were to do something like this again I would try and borrow a more high quality camera or ask someone with more skill than me to come photograph it for me. 

Some photos from my Grimeborn Napoleon Blown Apart entry for the Arcola theatre. I didn’t win but I learnt so much from doing just one photo shoot about  costume and hair and make-up and time management. The biggest part I learnt was creating enough space for performers to work in, these are all things which I took forward onto my first realised project because although I was aware of it all doing it was completely different.

I was also really glad that i had pushed myself to do this extra-curricular project as I surprised myself with how much I could actually get done in such a short space of time without everything going wrong!

It didn’t photograph that well though. If I were to do something like this again I would try and borrow a more high quality camera or ask someone with more skill than me to come photograph it for me.