||TIPS for Directors
Harmony's Call (WIP)
Aunt Polly's Demise
A Christmas Calamity
Period costumes are amazing! I love doing the research and paralleling time periods with effective costuming. The truer we are to the time period with costumes, hair, and makeup, the easier it will be for actors to get into their characters. The clothes they wear and the shoes they put on add important layers and deepens the actor's ability to live in those shoes on stage.
Layer upon layer, a production builds. Costuming is one of the visual steps. The trick is, how can we put on a grand production with great-looking costumes on a tight budget? First, utilize all your resources. (See Productions on a Tight Budget.)
Decide what costumes you absolutely need and which ones you can do perfectly fine without.
Have someone research time-period clothing. Hopefully, you have a few people who can sew. I've been sewing costumes for years, but I find myself frustrated sometimes because I spend too much time on this aspect of the production when I want to be focused on directing. If you have someone else in charge of costuming, all the better.
After you know what kinds of clothes you need--you might want to copy pictures or draw them--let the thrift-store shopping begin. In our area, the thrift stores have certain sale days. For example, on Mondays, one thrift store in our area has 75% off all clothes. You probably won't find everything you need at a thrift store, especially if you are costuming for a medieval play. But if your time frame is the 1900s, you'll find a lot of costume materials--maybe all.
Does your town have a community theater? If so, they may let you borrow costumes. Or you could check with the local high school or college theater.
Pool the parents who can sew and divvy up costume duties. Your Costume Leader should not have to do all the sewing. Someone will have to take measurements of the actors and get basic sizes. For medieval plays, plan on sewing more of the items. To save on costs, send out a needs' list. Tell parents and friends what you need for costuming--fabric, sheets, upholstery, any kind of fabric in large chunks, lace, netting for slips, etc. Ask who might have a full slip, boots, or hats. Some people own wigs you could borrow. Keep a ledger of all donated items.
sheets at the thrift stores. I recently kept costs down by
purchasing sheets during the thrift store's 1/2-off everything day. I
got sheets for $1.25 and made skirts and slips out of them for a
Look for inexpensive fabrics in the sale bins of fabric stores. Tell the store you are putting on a production for a school--if you are--and some businesses will give a discount for schools. Look for the cheapest fabrics available with colors that work. (You don't want a lime-green doublet!)
Don't let a lack of costumes keep you from doing a big production. Just keep working at it and do the best you can with what you have.
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