The Costume Craftsperson is responsible for craft items that fall outside the general realm of costuming, such as dyeing and painting fabric before it is cut and constructing shoes, accessories, millinery, jewelry, and specialty costumes such as animals, masks, and so forth. (Based on the description in J. Michael Gillette’s Theatrical Design and Production, 6th ed.)
- Familiarize yourself with the script and the time period.
- Meet with the costume designer to discuss research and be sure you understand what they have in mind. You may be responsible for leg coverings, footwear, jewelry, purses, handkerchiefs, furs, and depending on the need of the show, can be responsible for swords and belts, masks, canes, staves, parasols, armor, foam, structures, and other items. You may also be responsible for dyeing, painting, and distressing.
- Speak with your mentor or the costume shop supervisor about your budget and purchasing procedures and make sure you have approval on all purchases before making them. You will not be reimbursed for unapproved purchases.
- Obtain a full listing of all accessories from the costume designer so that you can plan your time wisely.
- Always begin your search in the costume shop and prop storage areas to save time and money. What is already made or bought can be remodeled.
- Fit shoes on the actors early. If they are new, they will need to be worn so that they can be comfortable. Find out if they will need dance rubber on the bottoms for a non-slick surface.
- Do preliminary shopping research online or by phone before you begin to purchase needed items. Whenever possible, attempt to find places that will loan items. If items are borrowed, make sure the costume designer, director, stage manager, and actor know that they are borrowed and must be returned in good condition.
- Acquire as much of your materials as possible before you begin building items so that you can concentrate on that and the supervision of any crew.
- Accessories that will be handled by the actors need to be given to them early or a substitute prop should be supplied for rehearsals, especially weapons, purses, high heels, and hats that will be used.
- Consult with the costume designer daily about all craft decisions.
- All accessories should be workable by tech week, even if they are not trimmed properly. All shoes should be available to the actors when they begin work on the real stage.
- If the accessory list is long, you will be provided with crew who will need to be supervised and kept busy. This can make your life much easier if you are organized about the work to be handled. Consult with the costume shop supervisor to make sure that the crew person begins work on the assigned day and know how much work they will be expected to accomplish.
- Manage your personal safety with appropriate personal protective equipment when working with fumes or dyes.
- Attend dress parade and all dress rehearsals with the costume designer and take notes. Distribute notes to any craft crew in consultation with the costume shop supervisor.
- Attend strike and restore all accessories to their proper places. Coordinate the return of any borrowed items.
Online application for this position.