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A Show in the Life of... A Costume Designer

Ever wanted to know what's involved in organising the costumes for a production? You're not the only one! We sat down with Dale Resnick, the costume designer for our upcoming play The Mr Misty Mystery, to find out all about the role…

So Dale, what does organising costumes involve?

For me, costumes are all about making the actors feel more at home in their characters as well as for the audience believing the characters they see are authentic people. Organising costumes is about liaising between how the director sees things, how actors see their characters and how the whole picture fits together. Every accessory tells a story so you have to consider how each character's changes reflect aspects of their personality that you want the audience to see and buy into.

Are there any particular things you need to consider when choosing costumes?

Firstly, I always start with the script and the movements the characters make. Do they throw a coat, do they come in from the rain, and so on. All those things dictate what they need to wear to make the scene real. Then it's about considering when they are wearing it, do they change it, if so how long is the change and what's next. After that it's about making the character's personality come through under whatever constraints I've created for myself with the first few steps!

What do you enjoy most about the role?

The creativity! I love putting together the outfits, thinking of colour palettes for characters or scenes, thinking of how to accessorise and change outfits in an instant for quick costume changes. It's about making complete looks, not just saying: "Here's a top, that'll do."

And what's the worst part?

The worst part is when either the script requires something super specific where I have no freedom (for example the police in this show, or any uniform), OR when I have the perfect item, it's exactly right for the character but it's the wrong size and can't be adjusted...

How important do you think the role of costumes are in a production?

I think costumes are important because they're the first impression a character makes. It's the aesthetic that we make our initial judgement of people on, and in theatres when you see characters you do the same. You start thinking about how dull they look or straitlaced or whatever else. They make the world of the show a material reality for me.

How did you first get involved in amateur dramatics?

I started doing amateur dramatics as a young teenager, maybe 12/13, when a friend of my mum's needed a stage hand on a show he'd written and he asked if I wanted to do it as I'd just finished a production at school. Since then, I've never looked back!

And finally, what can audience members expect in terms of the costumes and the show?

This show has drama and comedy, it's got tension and laughs in almost equal measure in my mind and I hope the costumes reflect that in some way. They may all just be everyday clothes but I'm hoping they reflect the characters who wear them and what's going on behind closed doors or cages... as the case may well be this time!

Come and see Dale's costumes on the stage in The Mr Misty Mystery from the 9th-11th of May. Book your tickets today.

If you'd like to find out more about organising the costumes for a Twyford Drama production, visit our Get Involved page and get in touch.


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