Friday, 16 May 2014

Anne Boleyn

Hello! I'm back again with what looks like being a bit of an epic journey. The Maddermarket Theatre's June production is Howard Brenton's 'Anne Boleyn' and it will be one of the biggest shows we have staged (from a costume perspective) for a very long time. We have a cast of 24 and it spans several years so that is a lot of costumes.

I will be making quite a bit for this show. A lot of our 'Tudorbethan' costumes are quite generic and at least 40 years old.They are also very small! The style at Henry's court was quite specific. It was the link between the late medieval and the Elizabethan. Anne, in particular, was an advocate of fashion and the French style and I wanted this to be reflected in the play.

As usual. I have created a Pinterest board for research and inspiration. You can follow it here -

Below is a shot from the initial programme photo session (taken on my iphone!)

Rebecca Aldred as Anne. 

This dress is one from our wardrobe that we are refurbishing for the show. Anne is wearing a French hood which she made fashionable. All of the hoods in this production have been made by one of my incredible volunteers, Eileen Collisson, following the patterns in The Tudor Tailor.

They also have a very good website for all things Tudor.

One of the first things I do in preparation for a show is to make a costume plot. I read the play whilst make notes on a graph detailing what costumes are needed by each actor in every scene. They can often be fitted easily on an A4 sheet of paper. This one runs to two A3 sheets!

I found this amazing fabric for only £3 a metre. Just as well as the dress needs 10 metres
Procrastination. Black on bronze or bronze on black. Must make sure the motif is central

Anne's dress under construction. Spanish farthingale just seen
Jobs still to do on the dress
Underskirt in the same fabric as the turn back on the sleeves
Attach foresleeves
 Line and embellish bodice
Attach skirt to bodice and sleeves to bodice
Most importantly, have a fitting with Rebecca to make sure it fits!

And that's just one costume!

One thing to note is that although I'm following the patterns in the Tudor Tailor, I am adapting them for stage use. The gown above is traditionally made in separate parts.A chemise, a kirtle, a pair of bodies and the gown. This isn't practical for the theatre so I cheat a little to make it all into one garment that fastens at the back, instead of fastening at the front underneath a placket that is then pinned into place. Far too complicated in a show where some of the changes will be done on stage by the actors.

Five weeks left before opening night so next week I'll need to start the fittings.............

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