Behind the Scenes of Nutcracker 17: A Look into Western’s Costume Design Shop

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ROCK SPRINGS – Western Wyoming Community College’s Performing Arts Department continues their modern Nutcracker performances, November 30, and December 1 and 2 at 7:30PM with a public matinee December 2 at 2:00PM.

When attending a performing arts production people enjoy the performance, seldom giving thought to the number of hours spent rehearsing, or why the audience is drawn in.

A paramount factor in creating a successful and captivating performance is costume design. Building costumes for a show is a monumental task which takes at least two months.

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Performers have to move and function well in their costumes, relate to the character, and showcase the plot and story through the elements of design: space, line, shape, form, color, and texture.
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Students Become Designers

WWCC’s costume shop is run by Kathy Pilling, who manages the daily build and maintenance of costumes throughout the year. She is assisted by 4-6 costume shop interns who work as “stitchers”.

At Western, students primarily help with the build of the performance; a process in which the designer turns over renderings and fabrics to the costume shop, to be built, fitted, and finally used in the production.

Students also have the opportunity to, alter purchased and pulled costumes to fit the performers, and help construct items like hats, jewelry, or head pieces for the production.

WWCC students interested in costume design and technology as a profession, apprentice as an assistant to the designer, design assistant, and finally – design their own show or shows.

These students learn the intricate process of costume design, which begins when the director of the performance gives the costume designer the concept. The designer will then, research the production to create their artistic vision to compliment, and emphasize the director’s concept.
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The Design Team

The design team comes together to discuss script analysis, historical research, concept, and elements of design. The set, costume, light, and sound designers collaborate to create a unified design for the show, utilizing each element to support stories, characters, and concepts.

“To be a theatrical designer is one of my greatest accomplishments.  I have worked with Tony Award winning designers, regional designers, and small town designers.  At all levels, we have an important job in representing character, story, and plot while being true to the director’s concept. That I get to share my experiences and knowledge with Western’s students is truly a joy,” said Kristy McManus, theatrical designer at Western Wyoming Community College.

Catch a performance to see the hard work and design efforts of the costume shop in person, and in a whole new light.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $6 for students and seniors. Children under the age of five will not be admitted in the evening performances, however, children of all ages can attend the public matinee.

Purchase tickets online at wwcc.tix.com, or call the Performing Arts Office (307) 382-1721, or buy them at the door.