What the Graduates say
I had the most wonderful summer in York creating costumes and making new friends. Pauline is a fantastic teacher who is happy to share so much knowledge of the costume world with you, I felt like I learnt a huge amount in the 15 weeks and was able to leave with a portfolio I was proud to show in interviews. Pauline set me up with a work placement at the West Yorkshire Playhouse straight after finishing the course and since then I have been working non stop! I have worked for Glyndebourne Opera, Royal Exchange Theatre, Royal Opera House, Warner Brother film Studios, Love TV Productions (Bake off the professionals), Shepperton film studios and have successfully embarked into the world of freelance where I make for various shows including Harry Potter and the cursed child, Les Miserables and Matilda. I would have never had these opportunities if it wasn’t for the Northern College of Costume, it truly is a fantastic course!
My theatre costume journey started with volunteering to be part of the costume team for the 2016 York Mystery Plays. I really enjoyed being part of the team, measuring the cast, making the costumes and dressing the actors at the performances in the Minster. I had many conversations with the other members of the team and Pauline’s course was mentioned again and again. I wrongly presumed the course was held in another city and was overjoyed to hear that the Northern College of Costume was based in my hometown. At the time I was working as a School Business Manager in a large primary, but I had always sewn in my spare time and I decided to have a career change.
I was accepted on the January 2018 course and loved every minute of it. It wasn’t a walk in the park, but I have learnt so much and made some lovely new friends. The course is very thorough and intense, but I learnt so much and now when I sew I have so much more confidence. I now manage a studio on Airbnb and help the Rowntree Players, a local amateur dramatics company, with their productions. To date I have collated and sewn costumes and head dresses for two pantos and one contemporary stage play. Now I am working on a ‘lighthouse’ themed dress for our dame as part of this year’s Sinbad panto. Luckily (almost) anything goes in panto!
My four months at Northern College of Costume was one of the the most enjoyable times of my life. Completely immersed learning something you have a passion for, with like-minded people and inspiring tutors… what’s not to love? Since completing the course I’ve worked two summers at Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre and at York Theatre Royal. I worked on costumes for Snow White at London Palladium last year and have done some freelance making. As a more mature student, I would certainly say it’s never too late to follow your dream and the college is a fantastic place to start. It’s like joining a big family.
I came to Northern College of Costume without any formal training in costume or fashion. It’s fair to say that I owe my career to Pauline and the other tutors at the college. Not only did I learn a staggering amount of sewing skills, but the structure of the course in itself is the perfect preparation for working in the industry; your fellow students become your colleagues and the beginning of your professional network. The encouragement and support to challenge and push myself throughout the course is what has lead me to where I am today, working in theatre, TV and film as a cutter and tailor.
I came to the course with a degree in costume and a couple of year experience already under my belt and it was exactly what I needed. I was looking to indulge in making the kind of costumes I so far hadn’t had the opportunity to proffesionaly, and to fill a few gaps left by an art school education. Pauline and the other guest tutors were fantastic, sharing both their technical knowledge and their advice for surviving in the world of theatre and film costume. Through the course I went straight into a work placement at the Storyhouse Theatre in Chester where I was subsequently employed as a costume assistant and will be returning in the new year. I will be spending the Christmas period supervising my first professional show at the Old Rep Theatre in Birmingham. I can’t reccomend the Northern College of Costume enough, it was a great experience which has given me a wonderful network I know I can always call upon for help and support.
I completed Pauline’s course in Autumn 2016. The course was all I could have hope for and more. The teaching was of a high quality from a variety of tutors and allowed me to further my technical knowledge and cement preexisting skills. The remit though is wider than just sewing skills, Pauline teaches you what its like to work in the industry and how to be successful. Everyday I’m working I use the technique and general advice she gave me. Also the people you do the course with act as the beginning of a network of contacts which is essential for finding work and gives a good experience of team work. Rather than having to go through 3 years of university the course acted as a springboard into the industry, since leaving just 5 months ago I have worked in pantomime, the Royal Exchange, Manchester, on touring musicals, and now I’m working on a BBC2 Drama. Its a whirlwind and all thanks to Pauline!
I enjoyed this course no end. It’s fast paced and intense, designed to mirror the schedule in a theatre workroom. The small number of students works well – Pauline and her guest tutors have the time and energy to give support when needed.
Throughout the process of making my three period outfits i learnt many practical techniques. Alongside this I found that my confidence grew. I began to make quicker decisions and more often without consultation.
Believing that you are capable really helps and crucially the course enables this.
Since completing the course in May 2016 i’ve been making costume consistently for my local museum. From Celtic Capes to Monks cowls to a host of animal costumes for their Natural History exhibition. I also enjoyed two stints of work experience initiated by Pauline. One at the Crucible Theatre, the other making a 18th century waistcoat for an Opera North production with a brilliant freelance costume maker.
I loved this course. Despite coming to it with around 50 years of self-taught sewing experience (I am one of the course’s older graduates), what I gained from it beyond technical skills was the faith that I simply “could”. With that I developed a certain fearless ability – the ability to discern when perfection matters and when it does not, the ability to see the potential for intentional design in a “mistake,” the ability to improvise something beautiful from not always promising materials. It was such a privilege to learn from a master costumer (Pauline) and to spend 15 glorious weeks in the company of the self-proclaimed “fabric geeks” who were my fellow classmates. I loved every moment, and recommend it without reservation to anyone who wants to challenge herself or himself by taking their existing talents into a whole another direction!
To take Paulines course was a life changing decision for me. Not only did I have fifteen great weeks, it also kickstarted my career.
Pauline is very caring, helpful and knowledgeable and I could not have wished for more from her or the course. I have not been without work since finishing the course and have worked on some very exciting shows and screen productions.
If you are wishing to work with costume I can´t recommend this course highly enough. I am proud to call myself “one of Pauline´s”and it’s a label well recognized in the industry.
This course kick started my career and changed my life. I moved to the UK from Canada specifically to take this course in 2013 and to make a career change. In just 15 weeks I learned more than I did in years of University. All the projects were selected to not only teach us invaluable techniques but to produce an impressive portfolio which I’m proud to show off at interviews. Pauline’s professional connections meant that I headed straight into work experience placements at some top theatres. In the months to come I have consistently found that Pauline’s ex students are highly respected professionally and her course has a terrific reputation for turning out talented costumiers. I’m now working as a costume maker in television and am looking forward to building my career in the years to come. Not only does Pauline pour all of her expertise into this course, but also the caring, attention and heart of a truly great mentor. Additionally, our guest tutors were highly experienced and passed on invaluable advice and skills. This was one of the best summers of my life, where I met life-long friends, quickly built up a professional network and established myself in my dream career. Worth every pound and every minute.
The course at the Northern College of Costume was wonderful and inspiring and I have fond memories of my summer in York, being creative and learning all about the world of costume. The course at the Northern College of Costume was wonderful and inspiring and I have fond memories of my summer in York, being creative and learning all about the world of costume.
I attended the costume construction course at the Northern College of Costume in the summer of 2016. Pauline Chambers devised the course which includes visiting tutors and trips to exhibitions and for buying fabric and a detailed daily timetable. There was a wonderful camaraderie and work ethic in our group fostered by the gentle and generous encouragement of Pauline. She has seemingly endless patience with her students, always ready to give more of her time when it is needed. She manages to create a warm supportive atmosphere where all her students are able to produce their best work. I met like minded people on the course and learned many new skills along with the confidence to use them once the course had ended. I cannot recommend this course highly enough.
I graduated from University feeling underwhelmed with their teaching and student support, feeling lost with no clear career path. Pauline’s course was fantastic, I couldn’t possibly recommend it enough.
I did the course in January 2016, her first winter course, and loved every minute. Pauline’s teaching and knowledge are second to none, and she doesn’t hesitate in passing it on to her students. This course provides a wealth of practical costume making skills in a time frame realistic to the industry.
Pauline brings in guest tutors for specific skills such as hand sewing and a short bootcamp in working in TV and Film, who also have years of experience and contacts.
I’ve not stopped working since completing this course and have worked in TV, film and theatre. Pauline’s course is worth every penny, and I can’t thank her enough for all the wonderful memories and friends I made on this course.
Before attending the Northern College of Costume I had previously dropped out of 2 costume degrees because of the lack of practical teaching. The NCC provided me with exactly what those University degrees had been missing – a purely practical and realistic approach to costume making taught by tutors who are still working in the industry themselves. I found the small class size perfect as it meant the tutors were able to give us all a lot of attention and guidance. I attended the college in 2008 and have been working as a costume maker ever since. I have worked in theatres such as Shakespears’s Globe and the Royal Opera House and made costumes for productions all over the World. The course gave me the perfect start to my career and I really can’t recommend it enough!
I completed the course in 2011 and have been working as a costume maker/assistant/supervisor ever since in theatre and TV. Pauline is such a wonderful tutor and is so passionate about the costume industry (as are all the tutors on the course). The course covers so much, it’s thoroughly enjoyable and it goes very quickly. You get so much one-to-one tuition that you simply don’t get on a degree. Pauline has a great reference library to use while your there and the workroom is light and spacious. The course provides all the essential skills you need to begin a career in costume and is highly regarded in the industry for the high standards it produces in its students. It is an absolute must for anyone that wants a career as a costume maker.
Without the costume making course at the Northern college of costume, I don’t think I would be working in the industry I always wanted to. The skills and advice I gained from the tutors has been invaluable to create a portfolio of beautiful costumes I am very proud of. The course was all practical, solely focussing on my skills as a costume maker. This prepared me for what was to be expected of me when working professionally in the industry. It was worth every minute and every penny because now I have a job that doesn’t feel like being at work all thanks to Pauline and the northern college of costume.
What lovely work and fine craftsmanship – this first class intensive costume course is going from strength to strength, turning out professionals with skills that meet the industry’s needs – the level of commitment should be an inspiration to us all.
Since finishing the course I have worked in various workrooms and on a variety of shows as Maker, Wardrobe Mistress and Dresser.