Costume Professionals Appreciation Day 23 July 2021
Hello costume community,
As we celebrate Costume Professionals Appreciation Day using #LoveCostume2021 it is hard to know what to share, the customary explosion of costume images of shows we have worked on over the previous year is hard to do when for most folks 2020 provided no work, no new shows and the pausing of the big West End shows, in all honesty, what costume images can we share?
And also in my mind is the terrible cost the country has had to bear, the loss of life, the uncertainty and fear, it feels somehow wrong to be celebrating something which on the surface feels so flimsy. But, over the past year, the thing that has sustained the public as much as anything can, is Art. For many, reading, theatre live-streams, TV and film have been a constant to keep the loneliness and isolation of lock-down at bay. And we have seen digital and online theatre grow from recorded shows and NT live-streams, to interactive phone calls and immersive digital experiences and even an epic 12 hours live-stream as artists and craftspeople do what they do best, solve the problems and make art.
So, this year CITEA are celebrating the people in theatre, the acknowledgement that for a costume to reach a stage it has to be designed, bought, made; fabrics needs to be purchased, it might get broken down or dyed, in short, it takes a village to create a show and the costume folks we have worked with are the key ingredients to any successful costume. I know that costume friends have kept me sane over the last year, the CiTEA coffee breaks and happy hours kept the community of costume people talking to each other.
And in the lock-down, with the time to reflect, I believe the costume community has come together as never before to campaign for fairer wages, safer working conditions, better equipment and for the industry, which we love, to respect us more. We have made and strengthened links to the other disciplines in theatre, our friends in Light, Stage, Sound and AV are with us when we talk about the industry being undervalued. I have been delighted with the engagement of students, graduates and early careers costumiers in the work CiTEA is doing, supporting these folks as they enter the industry is key to the sustainability of the industry.
I am wildly optimistic at what the future has to hold. Theatre is coming back, in fits and starts, but everyday I receive messages from people looking for talented costume professionals to work on their shows. We have a unique opportunity to build back better and this starts with us valuing ourselves, valuing our work, valuing our colleagues and standing up for each other.
So this Costume Professionals Appreciation Day, I will be thanking some of the amazing costume people it has been my privilege to work with in years gone by, and the hope that we will, all of us, be able to work again in this industry that we love so much.