Q & A: Pop-up Globe's Head of Wardrobe
Pop-up Globe has announced it will open again for an exciting, second season here at Ellerslie Event Centre and we can't wait to get stage-side!
In the lead-up to opening night, we were lucky enough to get a behind-the-scenes look and chat to Chantelle Gerrard, Head of Wardrobe and Designer for Othello and Much Ado About Nothing.
What's your inspiration for designing the costumes?
It comes from everywhere. Things you have seen in the past, different materials in the shops, historical costume, artists, architecture, history - it all just depends on what is thrown at you from not only the brief, but the ongoing rehearsal process.
Usually with a show the director will have an idea of what kind of world or ideas they want to convey, so you would work with them to create the images, colours and styles that create a cohesive and hopefully beautiful stage. It is quite wonderful working at Pop-up Globe as a designer, due to being able to work with two directors who are wanting two very different aesthetics for their plays.
What do you have to consider when designing and constructing costumes specific for Pop-up Globe?
There are many things that are usual in a design/make project, like longevity, colour and style. However we have different needs at Pop-up Globe that include natural lighting, the elements - sun and rain, designing and making two of the four shows whilst overseeing the production of the other two in-house shows (and the challenges that come with that), a lot of blood, cleaning and drying natural materials, choosing materials that will last 90+ performances (and then some) and so on.
What resources are required to create the shows?
All the usual ones for a project of this size for example space, budget, people, materials, specialist machines. Specifically however, to this wardrobe department we are proud to say that we are able to give roughly 25 people the chance to have consistent employment in a theatre workroom creating costumes for four different shows, including making armour and learning/using historical sewing techniques. The amount of linen, trim, hooks and eyes and buttons that we have gone through is amazing, and quite a few of the extant historical pattern books that are not as widely known are definitely a fabulous resource for us all.
Is the construction process on these shows similar to 400 years ago?
We may not always be able to use historically accurate materials on the outside of our garments due to budget and time, but we try as much as we can to line and interline the outfits with natural materials available and used in garments 500 years ago. We also use patterns taken from extant garments of the time to create our costumes. We sometimes have to take a few liberties, however, we are of the firm belief that if it was constructed or cut in that way when Shakespeare’s ensemble was wearing it not only as normal clothing but as costume, then not only will it survive on stage, but also work and wear as a piece of clothing, rather than an obvious ‘modern made’ costume on stage and through the season.
Beginning on 7 December 2017, Pop-up Globe's second season here at Ellerslie Event Centre will feature productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Merchant of Venice, Macbeth, The Comedy of Errors and Julius Caesar.
Find out more about Pop-up Globe and purchase tickets for their latest shows here