Dressing Teenagers… aka. Designing the Teen Shakespeare Program’s Love’s Labour’s Lost!
by Emerging Costume Designer Stephanie Kong. Stephanie is a recent graduate of UBC
Theatre’s Production & Design Program. CTYP audiences will be familiar with Stephanie’s previous designs for TSP, including last year’s Hamlet. She has also worked backstage on CTYP’s original A Year with Frog and Toad when you may have spotted her dressed as a Mole.
What a way to start my 2014-15 season with Carousel Theatre for Young People! I started fresh out of a whirlwind of graduating university while also completing internships and junior positions at Arts Club Theatre and Bard on the Beach. I’ve worked with CTYP since before I started theatre school at UBC, having such new experiences with Arts Club and Bard in the months of April-June, coming back to the Carousel feels a bit like coming back home. Quite literally, as CTYP is expanding their costume shop this summer (my soon-to-be glorious office), which meant my first month on the job was at home! That’s right, all those groovy 60s teenage costumes came to life on the dining room table that I never use!
Designing and building the costumes for TSP is something I’ve done twice before, each summer has always led to it’s handful of challenges and new experiences. A new challenge for me was having to work from home. It forced me to think tenfold about how to use my time wisely. Scheduling shopping days, fittings, meetings, and sewing time with the least amount of waiting or traveling is an asset when you have four weeks to create a show’s costumes.
Other challenges are ones that show up every year. Some of my favourites include:
1) finding footwear appropriate for the outdoors and integrating them with any theme CTYP comes up with. (TSP is an ugly-shoe-free zone)
2) Pulling inspiration from the show’s theme and merging appropriately it with Shakespeare and teenagers.
3) My all time favourite, and it kind of goes with “2)”, Hemlines! Hemlines! Hemlines! Not too long and never ever too short!
Costume designing TSP comes with huge rewards. I’ve definitely received some raised eyebrows when I tell people that I routinely dress upwards of 16 teenagers each beautiful, but sweaty season we call summer. But the bottom line is that I love it! I love the element of fun TSP brings every year, I love incorporating that feeling into bright, whimsical costumes. I love the infectious drive of working with secondary students, post-secondary students, and working professionals all striving towards one goal. I love the challenges it brings and the moments that I need to think outside of the box to make something- anything, better.
Now that Love’s Labour’s Lost is open, I’m already gearing up to start James and the Giant Peach! Can’t wait for what next month has in store…
Stephanie is working at CTYP through the 2014/15 season as Costume Associate, a position made possible by the BC Arts Council’s Early Career Development Program.