This thesis explores ways to transform costuming concepts for theatre productions that provide a more inclusive and comfortable environment for actors while still maintaining the essence of the characters they are portraying. This thesis examines theatrical bodies of work as case studies to illustrate options for incorporating costume designs that take into consideration the emotional and physical welfare of the actors. The purpose of this study is to inform theatre teachers how to create costumes that aid in psychological comfort of students regarding gender identity and age, as well as for flexibility in casting due to disproportionate gender ratios that are typical in public school populations. For my thesis, I focus on the following productions for my case studies, applying my area of concentration at the middle school level: Guys and Dolls, Jr., Are We Scared Yet? and Wicked. Through these case studies, I answer the following questions: Is it possible to incorporate costumes that provide gender nonconformity, gender neutral identity or swapping genders in casting and still maintain the playwright's intention and the essence of the character? When applying these concepts to costuming, what elements of the costume are important to keep and what elements can be adjusted? How will reinventing costuming in this manner change the experience for both the actors and the audience members? How can we ensure our costuming choices are fitting the psychological needs of our actors and students? This thesis includes my research on nonconformity in fashion and its key historical impacts on gender, research of the play/musicals including a character analysis, pictures of original, adapted and newly created costume designs transformed for the purpose of the actor's comfort, and a journal of the process, including self-reflection on the outcome of the designs.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
School of Performing Arts
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Evenson, Lisa, "Transforming Costuming Design: Costuming for the Actor's Comfort" (2023). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 1557.