Over the past thirty years the primary method of generating theatrical
costumes in Brisbane has changed significantly. Traditionally costumes were hand
sewn in dedicated workshops from original designs, with a few bought items to
supplement these costume ‘makes’. Now designers and costumers have become
shoppers, styling costumes from new and second-hand retail fashions, or finding
items from existing wardrobe stock.
This research examines why the primary method of costume generation in Brisbane
theatre has changed, and the impact this is having on the costuming industry. The
examination focuses on changes in the Australian labour market and the Australian
fashion industry. It uses Queensland Theatre as a case study, along with interviews
with industry veterans, to demonstrate the relationship between current costume
practice and these factors, concluding that costuming in Brisbane is highly
responsive to, and reflective of, these shaping forces. The research forms the
beginning of an academic and industry dialogue about a major shift in the theatre
industry that needs to be acknowledged. This shift is causing skills to be lost in the
industry, and raises issues applicable to costume generation around Australia.
"Shopping their wardrobe: Changing costume practices in Australian theatre,"
Behind the Scenes: Journal of Theatre Production Practice: Vol. 1
Available at: https://via.library.depaul.edu/bts_journal_of_theatre_production_practice/vol1/iss1/3