It’s the week before opening night for Westridge Theatre’s first production of the year, and the costume shop is abuzz with students sewing costume pieces and making alterations for Once in a Lifetime. It is unusual for a high school to have a costume department at all, and according to Theatre Director Brandon Kruhm, Westridge’s highly developed costume program operates at a collegiate level. It provides students with opportunities to both design and construct costumes, as well as makeup, wigs, and of course, faux facial hair. Westridge offers two classes, Fundamentals of Costume Design and Costume Construction, as well as the chance to learn by working on the four theatre productions the theatre department presents each year.
Once in a Lifetime has three assistant costume designers, sophomores Ava F., Emerson L., and Samantha S. who have taken the lead in expanding Costume Designer Io Hawk’s vision for the fabulous 1920s looks in the show. The original concepts for Once in a Lifetime were sketched out by Ms. Hawk, but she is quick to explain that “even if the idea originated with me, the students are always giving input and bouncing ideas off each other. The actual construction of the costumes [of which the students do 90%] is as much a part of the design process as drawing it out. The final costumes wouldn’t look the way they do without their inut and ideas.”
Ava and Samantha, along with Ellie M. ’20 will each design costumes for two vignettes for the winter production of All in the Timing. They have been working on theatre productions for several years already, learning the technical skills of costume construction as well as the soft skills necessary to be successful costumers. They have learned to communicate and work effectively with many personalities, to quickly solve problems (so many broken zippers in the middle of shows!), and to work as part of a team towards a common goal: the success of the show.
Once in a Lifetime will be performed October 19-21 in the Fran Norris Scoble Performing Arts Center on the Westridge campus. You can purchase tickets online by clicking here.