Thursday, 26 January 2012

Stage Struck

Or rather, back stage struck! For a couple of years, between 1986-88, I was heavily into costume making for various theatrical productions, one at Chichester Festival theatre, in which I took part, and the rest for Bosham Players' open air productions at West Dean.

I was given a budget of £200 to clothe the caste for As You Like It - almost everyone with several changes of costume to boot. The director chose to set it in the Edwardian era, so it was no mean task.

The Women's Institute in Chichester had a wonderful costume 'warehouse' at the time, and hired out articles for amateur theatricals, but I did design and sew many myself for this particular play.
My children and one of their friends spent an afternoon modelling some of the outfits for me, like so:-
And the most beautiful garment I hired was this vintage, crochet jacket which my daughter is wearing in this next photograph, together with a skirt and top made from our old, satin, bedroom curtains!
I seem to remember there were complimentary noises made about the entire production, which made all the hard work worth while, of course.

'Theatre' was the choice of subject at Sepia Saturday this week. And there's more theatricals HERE.

30 comments:

Terra said...

You are brilliant in how you create such old style costumes. They must have enhanced the productions a lot.

Pearl said...

That's wonderful -- and so smart.

Pearl

Anvilcloud said...

They are fun to look at, but it was a alot of work, I'm sure.

Joanne Noragon said...

The jacket is incredible. I once had an unillustrated pattern from my grandmother's stash for a crocheted golf weskit. Probably a late 19th century pattern. One of those "if you did it right it will look right" patterns. I didn't even know a weskit from an eastkit (ha ha) but forged on and made a a wonderful vest that still fits a petite friend of my daughter's.

The Weaver of Grass said...

As usual you have been hiding your light under a bushel Jinksy - you clever old thing.

Merisi said...

I am in awe of your talent, skills and perseverance!
I cannot even begin to imagine how much patience and work you put into this project.

Little Nell said...

The behind the scenes helpers rarely get the credit they deserve. Well done.

cheshire wife said...

I noticed in the newspaper recently that even the cast of Downton Abbey are wearing recycled clothes.

stephen Hayes said...

That last picture is beautiful. It reminds me of a Waterhouse painting I once saw at the Tate.

Stella Jones said...

You are so clever Jinksy. I love the outfits and the people wearing them look so lovely too. Are all three your children? Well done you. It must have taken many hours of work. YOU ARE VERY CLEVER! More examples please?

Susan Scheid said...

Outstanding and astounding!

Bob Scotney said...

Two beautiful photos to remind you of your hard work, especially the second one.

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

What an incredible amount of work it must have involved . But these groups are enormous fun to work with and the friendships made last for years .
In fact , Middle Daughter even married a fellow back stage slave !

Wendy said...

Outfitting a cast for a period piece requires a lot of skill and knowledge of the times. I think you rocked it!

rhymeswithplague said...

I am reminded of the scene in Gone With the Wind in which Scarlett O'Hara was wearing her green velvet curtains. More specifically, I am reminded of the parody of the aforementioned scene by Carol Burnett. In a good way, of course!

Slamdunk said...

You have many talents Jinksy.

Julie Goucher said...

Very talented. Likewise, I saw a post somewhere that the cast of Downton Abbey were wearing second hand clothes. This is probably better than wearing those made to replicate the period. Last September I visited the craft and stitch fair at Exeter - there was a small display of several of the costumes of the cast of Downton.

Postcardy said...

That must have been a lot of work to make the costumes. The photos are great mementos.

Joy said...

Updated Shakespeare doesn't always work but I think the Edwardian era would be perfect for As You Like It, and such lovely costumes to wear.

Maggie May said...

Those vintage clothes are lovely. You are clever.
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Sheila @ A Postcard a Day said...

I had a colleague who worked as a wardrobe mistress part-time and I've always thought it would be so interesting. Your work is incredible!

Christine H. said...

You're a woman of many talents. These are beautiful costumes. I can hardly believe you managed with that budget.

Kristin said...

That is a beautiful photo of your daughter and the curtain skirt. It does look like an old painting. Not the way your's looked but the idea of it made me of a Mad Magazine take on Scarlet O'Hara in gone with the wind where she wore the curtain with the curtain rod still in.

Janice said...

Wonderful costumes! That crochet jacket is a masterpiece.

Mike Brubaker said...

Fantastic! In school before I decided on music, I was in the drama club too. I know that the costumes not only make the show, but they give the actors that special feeling of make-believe that inspires their performance. Well done.

21 Wits said...

So interesting! The costumes are stunning especially the last one, what lovely tones and presentation!

Teresa Wilson Rogers said...

You have your own theatrical talents! I bow to you!

Kat Mortensen said...

That must have been rewarding and fun, Jinksy! Back in the 80s, my sister and I used to make dresses out of old linen tablecloths.

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

Wow, that is wonderful! How talented you are to do all of that.

Take care,

Kathy M.

Unknown said...

What an amazing talent you have! Those costumes are fantastic.