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Theatre Costume


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#1 _katy_

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Posted 17 May 2009 - 07:06 AM

Hi everyone,
I'm 17 and i want to pursue a career in theatre costume design. Whilst i have quite a bit of experience with dressmaking and artistic textiles, I'm finding it very hard to break into the theatre scene. I want to get as much work experience with this as i can, not just for University applications but also to gain knowledge, make contacts and generally just get a feel for what its like to work in that environment. I see on here youve given advice to other people of writing letters to theatres and so on, but i've been writing letters for months now, and hardly anyone even bothers replying. What am i doing wrong, and what else can i try to get theatres to pay attention? I dont feel i have shown a lack of enthusiasm at all (ive been very persisent),and although im not extremely experienced, i have worked with clothes a lot so im not clueless- why is no one replying?even if they couldnt give me any placements they could at least offer me some advice sad.gif I'm feeling very disheartened about this which is bad because i am usually so passionate about it.
Thanks
Katy x

#2 Weez

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Posted 17 May 2009 - 08:25 AM

I don't know if this is something you'll be able to do - but every summer, my local theatre puts on a youth production in the space of two weeks. Back when I was still young enough, they were always looking for more parents to come in and help get everything together in time. See if there's a theatre fairly near you that does the same, and volunteer your services. It's a start, if nothing else.

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#3 Laughingmonsta

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Posted 17 May 2009 - 10:20 AM

Good advice Weez, also see if there is a youth Theatre that is attached to a Rep Company as they will always have a group of members who get involved technically - when I used to work at the Gateway in Chester (R.I.P) we had a fantastic student tech team - the other thing is your 17 so will be going to uni next year?

look at theatre costume and design courses!
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#4 k8_bond

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Posted 17 May 2009 - 12:01 PM

most universitys are not really looking for experience in people your age, they are looking for qualifications and portfolio work in people straight out of school. are you doing your a levels? nvqs? btecs? and are any of them in artistic type subjects like art, textiles, fashion, because that is what they are looking for. (they would be looking for experience in the more mature applicants - 21+) they also like to see portfolio work and this doesnt have to be professional work. my portfolio includes a lot of just random drawings that ive done on days off, sessions where i've just had friends over for the day and messed around with make-up and cameras, and mood boards. if you're looking to go into cotume i would suggest just get creating, get some designs onto paper and then make then up (it doesnt have to be the most expesive material they are just ideas.) they want to see how creative you are.

also get involved with your local am dram group, sometimes they need costumes made (just don't go overboard on material, its usually a very tight budget) and even if they hire their costumes you could still offer to help with taking measurements of the cast members, going to the costumers to help choose, and most of the time the costumes will need adjusting to fit the performer and maybe some changes made. (if you can get your name in their programme as costume assistant then there is also something you can show as experience) obviously this would be unpaid but it would be experience.

#5 meerkat

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Posted 17 May 2009 - 08:21 PM

Have you read the thread below " anyone in costume?" ?
The suggestions there are about trying to get work as a dresser and go from there.
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#6 dory

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 12:08 AM

QUOTE(meerkat @ May 17 2009, 09:21 PM) View Post
Have you read the thread below " anyone in costume?" ?
The suggestions there are about trying to get work as a dresser and go from there.


im a dresser katy, i had no experience in costumes before i got the job i went to find out about front of house work at my local theatre ( bristol hippodrome) and was offered dressing iv been dressing since jan 06 now and have learnt everything on the job, i did make some costumes for a production of scrooge it was unpaid but was an amazing experience got to make the make the costumes at bristol old vic even though the production was being staged at another venue, whcih was amazing to think id got a chance to work at the old vic.
i found that advert on gumtree.

it weird where you make contacts iv been working in a cafe part time as well as doing my theatre work ( theatre work is only casual) and the woman who owned it used to have her own costume company in south africa she was in the industry for 20 years so im getting advice and tips from her, but your 17 and most theatre have their work experience booked up 18 months - 2 years in andvance ( well i know ours does) you do something different each day on work experiance costume one day, sound the next etc, and being so young unless your doing work experiance a lot of places probably wont have insurance and if your going off to uni to that will put them off too.
the best thing to do would be to go and take cvs and have a chat face to face also try helping out on amatuar stuff too even if its not in costumes it better to get in there and try you hand at what ever you can then progress to your desired department at least you  may make conacts that way, costume houses are also good to try for advice/ work experience.

its no good showing in enthusiasm in letters because the person reading the letter cant see your enthusiasm you need to ge out there and show them you mean business.




#7 monkeycarter89

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 02:14 PM

QUOTE(Weez @ May 17 2009, 08:25 AM) View Post
I don't know if this is something you'll be able to do - but every summer, my local theatre puts on a youth production in the space of two weeks. Back when I was still young enough, they were always looking for more parents to come in and help get everything together in time. See if there's a theatre fairly near you that does the same, and volunteer your services. It's a start, if nothing else.


That theatre wouldn't happen to be the Swan would it? If so thats my local! smile.gif





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