A Day in the Life: Costume Design

The work presented on stage would not be possible without our talented designers, who spend countless hours developing artistry that bring performances to life. We sat down with two of our design students to discuss their creative process and the challenges of crafting work for both new plays and choreography.

Transcendence (More About Love): Laura Gonzalez, B.A. in Theatre and Dance major (emphasis in Design and Technology) 

“The process of designing for More About Love (choreographed by Yacov Sharir, restaged by Andrea Beckham) has been different than any other production I have previously designed for. The opportunity to work with Andrea Beckham and Yacov Sharir [has been] truly incredible. Yacov choreographed the piece and Andrea was a member of the original cast. The opportunity to ask the original choreographer and cast member about the work has been a wonderful resource. The research process began with us watching the original production, which prompted research into the meaning of the music for the piece. I was able to sit down with Yacov and Andrea to understand the meaning of the piece.

Through this collaborative research process,we worked to create a costume design that respected the original with some minor changes. The resources of the costume shop allowed us to make specific choices that reflected the original , and gave us freedom to explore for the restaging. The difference is mostly in a closer mirroring of the costuming between the dancers. This was a goal of the original piece, and is only able to be realized now because of the input from Yacov and Andrea. Working on this piece has truly been an incredible honor and I greatly appreciate the opportunity.”

LauraGonzalezdesigns for Transcendence (More About Love) Archival shot more about love

UTNT (UT New Theatre): Jessi Rose, M.F.A. in Design and Technology candidate (Costume Design)

“Designing for a new play is a collaborative process. It feels like a road trip where the playwright tells us where we are going, then we decide how to get there as we are driving. Course corrections, like script or design changes, can be made at any time, even [until] closing night! Re-writes, rehearsals, staging and the performers always have an effect on the designs. Designs change and develop as we make more discoveries about the characters, the arc of the play and how we want to visually tell the story. As a designer, I have to maintain an open mind and roll with the changes as best I can.

Designing for a project as expansive as UTNT brings a unique set of challenges. When I read a script, I am most curious about who the characters are, what kind of world they live in and how they change throughout the play. Designing for three pieces simply requires me to hold all of those universes in my imagination at once. It can be overwhelming, but I can always check in with the rest of the design team, the various playwrights and the directors to make sure we are all still in the same world.

Out of all the hurdles I’ve encountered during this process, the biggest one is time. Time is a limited resource and we have had so many meetings for this year, it has been hard to fit everything in that I need to do. Graduate school is hard. I wasn’t expecting anything different. As far as fun, it comes in short bursts in the midst of frantic activity. I have enjoyed morning meetings with coffee, design presentations and so much laughter. I appreciate my design cohorts so much and I am so glad that I have had this opportunity to work with them. It is a joy to share what we have done with our community, which is the point of all this work.”


To learn more about our all of our talented designers, stop by the Oscar G. Brockett Theatre for REVEL: A Celebration of UT Live Design (April 30 – May 6, 2018) a showcase of work created for the stage by the M.F.A. in Design and Technology candidates in the Department of Theatre and Dance. Designers and makers will display their work in areas including costume design and technology, lighting design, integrated media and scenic design. Collectively, this work helps tell visual stories for live performance and is a reflection of the collaborative nature of theatre. The showcase will culminate with REVEL(RY): Showcase Reception and Fashion Show on May 6, 2018 at 6:00 p.m.