Stunning costumes from past plays return to centre stage

By Costa Maragos Posted: January 13, 2017 2:00 p.m.

Carson Walliser, a fourth year theatre student, says the exhibit “Becoming” showcases the creative work produced by the theatre department.
Carson Walliser, a fourth year theatre student, says the exhibit “Becoming” showcases the creative work produced by the theatre department. Photo courtesy of External Relations.

Costumes of various shapes and sizes from past university plays are back in the spotlight, thanks to an exhibit at Fifth Parallel Gallery. Colourful costumes on display include:

  • A stunning wedding dress from the 2012 production of “Much Ado About Nothing.”
  • A long, elegant robe from “The King’s Stag” (2015).
  • Straight cut, perfectly pressed, austere looking school uniforms from last Fall’s “The Spring Awakening.”
costumes wedding dress
From the play Eurydice (2011) 

The exhibit, “Becoming – A Decade of Costumes” runs until January 27, 2017 and is put on by the Theatre Students' Association. The opening reception is Friday, January 13 at 6 p.m.

Carson Walliser, a fourth-year theatre student, came up with the idea.  

“I was watching the movie ‘the first Monday in May,’ a documentary about the Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute, a gala they put on every year.  And so I thought ‘why don’t we do something like that with our own costumes?’ ” says Walliser.

costumes wedding dress
Much Ado About Nothing (2012)

He has waded through 10 years worth of theatre costumes. The garments have been cleaned, pressed and displayed, in all their glory at the gallery.

As you enter the room you immediately envision actors gracing the stage in the costumes. Take a closer look and you appreciate the intricate detail that has gone into each stitch of clothing.

“Costumes let people become whatever they want, which is why the exhibit is called ‘Becoming.’ It’s because these costumes helped become a show. It’s because these costumes mean something to each person involved. Theatre costumes get touched by so many different people in such a short amount of time and everyone has a connection to each one,” says Walliser.

This costume “connection” means different things to different people; the audience, actors, designers, directors and constructors.

“Part of the reason I wanted to do it is because I love my department and I just wanted to showcase all the strong work we’ve done. Every single person involved,” says Walliser. “There are classes that built the costumes every semester. There’s Cathy Mearns in our costume shop who has built every single one of these. She has touched every single one of them and so for all of them, I think it just shows the immense amount of talent and intelligence that every person has.”

Event:      Becoming – A Decade of Costumes
Venue:     Fifth Parallel Gallery
Location:  Riddell Centre – U of R
The exhibit runs until January 27, 2017.

The exhibit features costumes from:

  • The Importance of Being Earnest
  • Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean
  • Eurydice
  • Schoolhouse
  • Much Ado about Nothing
  • Fear and Misery of the Third Reich
  • The Birds (A Modern Adaption of Aristophanes’ Comedy)
  • Back Story
  • LOL: Audience, The Actor’s Nightmare, and For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls
  • Philistines
  • The King Stag
  • ReMeasure
  • Attempts on Her Life
  • Spring’s Awakening