Costume is the most visual way to distinguish each character and their purpose. When everybody gets into costume for the first time and performs the routine, that’s when the story is easiest to follow.
The first part of coming up with a costume is to discuss the intentions for the character.
If the character is a dancer, can they move or will they be obstructed? Make sure the wearer is able to perform. Try loose fitting items or stretchy materials to make it as easy as possible for the wearer to move around.
- Do they have a costume change?
How easily and quickly can they change from one costume to another? Is there any way to have the second costume concealed underneath? Think about how long it will take the wearer to make and how feasible the change will be on the day.
Once you know what the characters part in the piece is you can start to make the costume and so… materials! Where to start?
Costumes do not have to be extravagant and cost lots, as long as they are fitting to the theme and character you’re good to go! Some schools will add a small budget to buy costumes in whilst others will decide to make theirs in house. Ask your team if they know anyone with seamstress skills, you never know the hidden talents some people might have! You could also consider asking other schools or a local theatre group if they have any old costumes they are willing to pass on. Reuse and Recycle! Think about using materials that are easily found such as bin bags, curtains, old t-shirts/ dresses etc, I’ve seen quite a few teams use things like bin bags and duct tape to create coats and trousers and they looked stunning onstage (one team actually won the national award for Costuming Character doing this). It shows that you don’t need huge amounts of money to succeed.
If you are working in a team, you could share the workload and delegate tasks to other helpers. It could be one person’s job to oversee the creation process, whilst another could be tasked with making costumes for a specific group of characters which have the same materials – and so on. Also if you are an adult/parent lead costume team, encourage the students to get involved! It was my involvement with my school that got me into university!
Costume Construction Best Friends!
YouTube – on here you can search for construction techniques, there are plenty creatives who run YouTube channels packed with different techniques.
Pinterest – this is best for gathering ideas! It might even show you something you’d never personally think of. Rock Challenge has their very own Pinterest boards full of suggestions and inspiration for each element of your performance, definitely worth checking out!