top of page

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 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 you have your Acting/Design Binder (to collect/document your learning) and your  Process Journal (to reflect on your process/journey).



Task #1 (Reading Task): COSTUME NEEDS (Formative Grade):  Create your own Costume Needs/List spreadsheet (by carefully reading the script for costume needs).  Be sure you've listed on your spreadsheet (in Google Classroom) all stated costumes/costume pieces needed, all implied costume needs, and any of your own 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 (Google Classroom).

Sub-Task:  Discuss your Costume List with your Design team.  As a team you will use everyone's list to compile one FINAL (Google sheets) Costume list that you will "share" with each group member as you build and revise it.  Use the same template (layout) that Ms. Price gave you in Google Classroom, and don't forget to "share" with KP, also!)  

Sub-Task:  Highlight all Costume PROPS on your digital Google 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.) Next, look closely at (and discuss) all other Costume needs with your team to begin to focus in on an overall costume design concept for the show. 

Task #2 (Research Task): RESEARCH  (Formative Grade):  Conduct costume RESEARCH relevant to your show.  Document your research and findings in Google Classroom (Research assignment).  You will also need this research and findings when creating your Design Board.  DO NOT just collect images - please also save/document links (and descriptions) as well (to where you found your research.

Task #3 (Planning Task): DEADLINE CALENDAR (Formative Grade):   As a team, create a Deadline Calendar for all of your costume needs, including those you need to find, buy, or make.  Assign costume gathering/ordering/making tasks among your team.  Consider each other's strengths when assigning tasks, and be sure to update your Costume List spreadsheet as you acquire each character's costume.

Task #4 (Doing Task): COLLECT COSTUMES (Formative Grade):   As a team, go to the costume room and determine what we might already HAVE that could be useable for costumes/costume props.  Gather these base pieces, and be sure to size them to actors if needed (during a time that works for both you and actors - but be sure to PLAN that time with the actors (don't interrupt their rehearsal time).  Label useable items and rack them in the back room on the rack provided.  (Note:  you will obviously continue your search past our costume room - so be sure to do good "sourcing" research, too!)


Note:  Be thinking of ALL costume pieces, and be thinking AHEAD because it is the job of the Costume team to be sure everyone is equipped with appropriate undergarments - if needed - as well as shoes and tights/socks.  Please be sure you've communicated these needs with actors far enough in advance if this responsibility falls to them.  Providing actors with pictures, and/or links of where to find the items, is most helpful.


Inspiration (On-going assignment during the next phase:  REHEARSAL PROCESS) 


Create a Costume Design Board to visually display your research/inspiration.  This will become the springboard for your own designs.  Read about this task below.  

Task: Costume Design Board (Summative Grade - IB: Thinking Creatively): AFTER your team has discussed and created your FINAL Costume list, begin looking for INSPIRATION for the look and feel you'd like to achieve with your Costume Design. (Note:  You MUST meet with the Director and Make-up/Hair Team prior to this step.)

  • The goal of this task is to research and find information and inspiring images and/or fabrics/patterns that will assist you in acquiring, designing, or creating  visually interesting  costumes a cohesive costume plot for our production.  

  • Each member of the costume team is responsible for researching and/or looking for inspiration for at least 3 costumes/costume pieces (there can be overlap between team members, or you can divide and conquer, but you MUST all be working in the same design concept and toward a cohesive overall "look")

  • Be sure your research is from credible sources, and also allow yourself to be inspired by the world around you. 

  • Creativity thrives in community, so be sure to collaborate with others and your team along the way.

  • As you research, be sure to "collect" your research/inspiration in a location that you can easily access when it's time to create your team's Design Board.

  • After research, discussions, and narrowing of ideas is complete, CREATE A (GROUP) COSTUME DESIGN BOARD

  • Note:  You will be graded on your individual contributions to your group's Design Board.  SEE PROFESSIONAL EXAMPLES IN "REHEARSAL PROCESS" lessons.

execution: (On-going assignment during the next phase:  REHEARSAL PROCESS)

In order to design anything, a new designer must become comfortable with failure, and leave plenty of time for it during the process.  All creative work involves multiple attempts before arriving at the best outcome.  If you "get it right" the first time, you're probably not involved in creative work, and should re-consider what you've created.  Failure is natural, accepted, and expected in this course.  However, waiting until the last minute to fail is not, so please watch your calendar closely and plan ahead!  Theatre is ALWAYS on a timeline.


Designing and creating anything that's original requires planning.  How this planning "looks" is up to you, but you need to make your designing/planning VISIBLE.  You will do this visible planning in GOOGLE CLASSROOM (Research & Inspiration) / your Process Journal, and it may include sketches of your designs, or even photos of prototypes or physical attempts at your design.  This documentation process could also include a catalog of tutorial videos on how you learned to compile or make your costume, interviews with experts, or documentation on mentoring you received in tool use or skill development in order to gather or create your costumes/costume pieces.  

Task: PROCESS of Design (Weekly Formative Grade):  YOUR Process of Design

  • Track your process of design in your Process Journal, including any relevant research, images, sketches, pictures of prototypes, or further learning you did to create your costumes/designs (see above).  You must make your design process visible for this grade.  (See paragraph above.)


Task:  FINAL Costume Design (SUMMATIVE Grade - IB: Developing Skills):   This Summative grade is based on your (and your group's) final product (cohesive costume design / final costumes) as well as your effective use of time/resources to complete the costumes/fittings on time and the skills you learned about and developed along the way in order to make a smart/creative costume design for this semester's show.

bottom of page