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the role of the costume designer

If you chose to serve on the  COSTUME DESIGN TEAM for this semester's Advanced Acting show, you are responsible for participating in design team meetings/planning as well as growing as a designer during the rehearsal and performance process.


If serving on the Costume Design Team, you are ALSO responsible for independently learning about the role of a costume designer as outlined below. 


Please be sure to collect/document your learning and also reflect on your learning in your  Google Classroom Process Journal.

learning about COSTUME design




complete before CLASS-time ON FRIDAY, 11/20:

Do (Formative Grade):  Create your own Costume "Needs" spreadsheet (by carefully reading the script for costume needs). 

Be sure you've listed on your spreadsheet all stated costumes/costume pieces needed, the implied costume needs, and any character/design notes.  (You may also need to consider if/when costumes needs affect other teams, such as props.)  Once your Costume List is complete, turn it in to KP for a grade.  See IAWL - Design Spreadsheet in Google Classroom.  (Note:  This assignment was given on 11/11/20 and won't be accepted past 11/20/20.)

complete before CLASS-time ON tuesday, 11/24:

Understand: All design begins with reading the SCRIPT

From there, designers INTERPRET the script (and also meet with the director to understand her/his vision), do RESEARCH for their designs (i.e. time period, style, etc.), come up with an overall DESIGN CONCEPT (to make all designs cohesive), create preliminary SKETCHES, and then create PROTOTYPES, DESIGN BOARDS, RENDERINGS and/or MODELS (so that others will understand what the final product will look like and how it will function).  This is the DESIGN PROCESS that we will also be using in Advanced Acting for our show - regardless of the design area you chose.

Watch: Theatre Costume Design & Technology (Oklahoma City University)

(Google Classroom) Process Journal Entry Title: Skills in Costume Design (week 13)

  1. What are the many different skills/crafts involved in costume design & technology, as referenced in the video?

  2. What did you find interesting, intriguing, or inspiring in this video? 

WatchWorking in Theatre - Costume Designer (3:06)

(Google Classroom) Process Journal Entry Title:   Roles in a Costume Shop (week 13)

1. What is the primary role of a costume designer?  (mentioned right away)

2. What types of tasks does a costumer do?  ("typical day")

3. What types of roles/jobs are there in a professional costume shop?

4. What skills do you most need to be successful as a costume designer?

5. Whose vision must a costumer support? 

6. Look at your answers from the above questions...Which skills do YOU have that could best support the process of OUR show, and in what specific ways do you plan to contribute those skills to the Costume Team and/or the process?

WatchAmerican Theatre Wing - Costume Design (5:17)

(Google Classroom) Process Journal Entry Title:   Costume Process & Bible (week 13)

1. What are 4 things that the designer says is helpful to have/be as a costume designer?

2. Describe the designer's description of the PROCESS of design.

3. What is a Costume Bible and what (in general) does it include?  

complete before CLASS-time ON WEDNESDAY, 12/2:

Watch: Working in Theatre - Wardrobe (27:27)

(Google Classroom) Process Journal Entry Title: Process of Wardrobe  (week 14)

(Take notes on the process, roles, and skills needed effective for Wardrobe designers.  Document new information and/or anything that you find interesting while viewing this teaching video.)

Watch:   Beetlejuice/Tootsie Costume Design (9:34) 

(Google Classroom) Process Journal Entry Title: Design Boards  (week 14)

1. What did you notice about the designer's Costume Boards? (list several things)

2. What did you find interesting, intriguing, or inspiring in this video? (pay close attention to things like research, inspiration, problem-solving, the process, etc.)

Begin:  Create design boards for TWO characters (one male & one female) from our show. 

You can choose which two characters you'd like to "design".  Your design board should include RESEARCH and INSPIRATION images for the character's costume, but does not need to include a sketch of the final design unless you feel comfortable/confident doing so.  However, in the absence of a final design sketch/color rendering of the costume, you MUST find a way to communicate clearly (from your research/inspiration) what YOU'D want the final costumes to look like/include.  Be sure to use your script as guide.  (i.e. WHO is your character > WHAT might (s)he wear based on that.)  Include on your board references from the script for your character.  Finally, be sure to think about what costume props (hats, pipes, gloves, purses, compacts, etc.) should be part of your character's overall look, if any. 

  • Note:  Your design "boards" can be physical, as shown in the Beetljuice video above, or digital, such as Google Slides. Either way, you must share your designs with Ms. Price via Google Classroom - see assignment entitled Costume Design Boards - week 14).  Design Boards will be due by 12/9.

  • Note:  Your individual costume designs are not necessarily our "final products".  It is for YOU to learn about, and participate in,  the process of costume design - particularly RESEARCH and INSPIRATION.  However, your process could affect the final designs for our show, so if you come up with some great ideas, be sure to communicate those to your Costume Lead (Kate).


complete before CLASS-time ON friday, 12/4:

Watch:   Film Costume Design - Designers Reveal Inspiration for Designs (3:45)

(Google Classroom) Process Journal Entry Title:   What costumes can signify (week 14)

1. Describe what each costume signified ABOUT the characters described.

2. Think about the characters in OUR show.  What can OUR costumes signify about the characters?  How?  

Continue:  Create design boards for TWO characters (one male & one female) from our show.   (See directions above; Design Boards due by 12/9.)

Do: Highlight all Costume PROPS on your digital Google (Costume) spreadsheet in YELLOW.

This would include any costume piece that an actor handles as part of the script's action - things such as hats or aprons.  You need to get these "costume props" into the hands of actors ASAP.)  Decide within your team who will oversee each, and be sure that each is at our rehearsal on Wednesday, December 9.  (Feel free to ask Ms. Price if she has any of your more difficult costume props.  She has a lot in storage.)

complete before CLASS-time ON wednesday, 12/9:

WatchBehind the Scenes at Disney's Aladdin

(Google Classroom) Process Journal Entry Title:  Calltime​ / Pre-Show Checklist  (week 15)

1. In professional theatre, as shown in this video, what are the (specific) tasks performed by YOUR assigned role prior to a show?  

2.  What are some of the things that YOU could put on YOUR Pre-Show checklist to be sure our show runs smoothly?  (Think of ALL the things necessary from the time you enter the black box until the show starts, including things like "Where do I put my personal belongings?" or "Where should this prop be pre-set?" or "What's the best place for this quick change to happen?" Etc.  Don't forget to include "sign in" on your checklist.)

Do (Formative Grade):  You will create YOUR Pre-Show Checklist with ALL tasks to consider prior to the show.  This MUST be well-thought out and completed/hung up PRIOR to the FIRST dress/tech rehearsal.  (You will also create a copy in Google Classroom - "Pre-Show Personal Checklist - will be uploaded by Friday 11/20" Type and print your checklist (with your name in large font at the top) and hang in a designated area backstage.  (Keep in mind that you will most likely need to add to this list from things you learn or are reminded of in dress/tech rehearsals.





Watch:  How to take Measurements

Read:  Costume Fitting Advice

  • Think about what to communicate with actors prior to YOUR fittings.

Watch:  A Day in the Life of a Dresser 

  • Who in OUR show may need dressers, and who will provide that assistance and how?

  • Create Dresser Lists (Costume Piece Lists, Checklists, Quick change stations if needed)

Watch:  Quick Changes (Mary Poppins)

  • Will there be any quick changes in OUR show?  How can you best prepare for, AND rehearse these changes?

Read/Print:  Quick Changes (includes steps with photos)

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