Monday, February 21, 2011

Life as a Costume Manager

This is a story about a day in the life of Corinna Bohren, the Costume Manager for Arizona Opera...........

The costume shop is always a busy hive of activity!

On any given day AZO has as many as ten people (wigs, milliners, drapers, stitchers, crafters) preparing the singers to look their part on stage.  Most of our costumes are rented from other opera companies, which gives us the challenge of taking someone else’s design and fitting it to our singers and sets.

An average day during a show run will find me in the office at 7:30 a.m preparing paperwork and anticipating the needs of the next production and season.  By 12:00 p.m., I am in the theatre with my assistant ironing and steaming all of the garments you see on stage (usually upwards of 200 pieces) and laundering all of the skins (costume lingo for undershirts).   By 5:00 p.m. my crew arrives and they check their dressing rooms, distribute shirts, socks and any other laundered items.

We buzz around helping with zippers, calming nerves, soothing illness, checking that everything is being worn correctly and setting up any quick changes that will occur during the production.

After the show is done for the night, we pick up the laundry from each room, tidy the spaces and review how the show went. 10:30 p.m. usually finds the staff gone and by 11:00 p.m., I have done a final check, started the laundry and am saying goodnight to the security guard . . . all in preparation to come back the next morning and do it again!

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