Find out more about training to become a Costume Supervisor at Guildhall from students and staff in the video above
Costume Supervisors need to have a creative eye and exceptional organisational skills. They also need good people skills to ensure things run smoothly.
"The staff at Guildhall are all working professionals who have significant industry contacts and connections and as a result they are constantly being asked to recommend students and recent graduates for work. These work placements and jobs I undertook whilst studying were crucial to securing a job once I had graduated."
Katie Jenkinson (2014 Graduate) working for Western Costume Co, Los Angeles.
Studying on the costume supervision pathway, you will learn how to bring a design to life, taking it from concept through to the final costume. You will learn how to organise costume fittings and quick changes, and how to assemble the costumes required for complex dramas and operas. This will involve sourcing costume items from a variety of suppliers, whether that means buying from high street shops or charity shops, hiring from professional hire-houses (such as such as Angels Costumiers and the National Theatre) or drawing from our own extensive stock. You will take care of alterations and work such as dyeing and ‘breaking down’ to help realise a production’s overall design concept. You will also undertake costume making.
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What you will study
You will be spending time in skills classes, working on projects to develop your practical sewing skills, and understanding of costume alteration as well as working on some productions as dressers.
Along with all other students in the programme, the Costume students take classes in a broad range of core subjects. These include: Theatre History, Period Style, Contemporary Theatre, Health & Safety and Stagecraft & Production Process. Classes are usually project based and wherever possible have a hands-on, practical approach. For example, when studying trends in contemporary theatre we’ll take you to see some shows, and when we’re looking at period styles we’ll take you to galleries and museums to look at examples.
Students also work as dressers on two productions during their first year.
In the first year you will also take a core module called Associated Studies, which allows you to take three short courses in other areas of technical theatre such as Stage Management, Prop Making, Lighting, Sound, Video, Scenic Art etc.
The study on the second year of your costume course is entirely practical. You will undertake the role of Costume Assistant and may have the opportunity to work with the Wig & Make-Up Mistress on some productions, developing your understanding of theatrical hair and makeup on the School’s drama and opera productions. You will work with actors, directors and designers sourcing and organising the costumes for each production. All Designers who work on Guildhall productions are freelance industry professionals.
You will also have the opportunity to spend time working in two of the areas you studied in Year One Associated Studies.
Third Year students will take on the Head of Department role of Costume Supervisor. You will lead teams of first and second year students and take responsibility for productions from the initial planning stage through to the final performance.
You will also undertake a four/six-week professional work placement and complete a Graduation Project.
What the industry says:
"Angels is always delighted to offer Guildhall Costume Course students the opportunity to hire stock for their third year productions. Not only does it give them invaluable first-hand experience of working with a costume house, to a budget and to deadlines, but it also gives us an opportunity to meet our future customers.
I have always found Guildhall Costume students not only enthusiastic in their approach to work but to have the highest standards and be highly professional in the way they approach each production.";
- Richard Green Production Director, Angels The Costumiers