Theatre Costume Making


21st January – 4 May 2019

1st July – 12th October 2019

January – May 2020

July – October 2020

15 weeks – Monday to Friday, 10am-6pm

This is an intensive, highly practical, 4 month course aimed at people with prior experience and a passion for costume.  The class size is limited to 8 students.

The course is a structured, work based training programme designed to develop students existing knowledge of costume making. All tutors on the course are experienced professional costumiers, highly regarded by the profession and with a wealth of knowledge to pass on. The course will provide students with the necessary skills to become wardrobe assistants.

All materials for all projects and all equipment is included in the fee.

Work on the course is project based.

All projects incorporate drafting or draping a pattern and construction of a full costume.

Project 1

Period Menswear

The period differs each year and has included 16th century doublet and hose, 17th Century Cavalier, 18th Century Georgian and 19th Century ‘Gangs of New York’ style suits.  All the tailoring techniques are incorporated.

Project 2

Period Women’s wear

Incorporating corsetry, foundation garments and period decoration. Students previously have created costumes from past eras including Tudor, 18th Century, Edwardian bustle gown and Victorian periods which has enabled students to learn many different techniques and cutting styles.

Project 3

20th Century

This project enables the student to learn how to work with difficult fabrics and involves lots of hand finishing. Both the 30’s bias cut and 40’s draping/tucks/pleats offer a variety of challenges.

Professional Development

As well as project work, one day most weeks is devoted to building up a portfolio of samples and techniques.

A photoshoot during the final week is a chance for students to enjoy themselves, have their hair and make up done vintage style and allow them to reflect on all the fantastic costumes they have created.

A public showcase of work is exhibited on the final weekend.

Field trips are arranged to local and national fabric and haberdashery suppliers and museum collections. Recent trips include: fabric shopping at Yorkshire Mills and London, visiting costume collections at the York Castle Museum private collection and Temple Newsham Textile Gallery and Victoria & Albert Museum.

On successful completion of the course, all students are offered at least 1 work placement of between 2 and 6 weeks duration. Opportunities differ each year but most placements happen at Theatres in support of the College which include; Scottish Opera, Manchester Royal Exchange, Sheffield Crucible, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Stoke New Vic, Derby Playhouse, London New Vic, Oldham Coliseum, York Theatre Royal.

Students may also have the opportunity to return to the college on graduation to work as wardrobe assistants on freelance projects. Recent Productions have included Oliver Twist (Hull Truck) Sleeping Beauty (London Paladium), ‘Blind Angel’ (ITV), ‘Strictly Ballroom’ and ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ (WYP), ‘Blood and Chocolate’ (York), The Mystery Plays (York),  constructing period costume for Scarborough museum and art gallery, costume and uniforms for Eltham Palace, London and interpreting 18th century occupational costume for the National Trust.