Costume Design and Technology

Musical Theatre students perform in yellow and blue costumes during Seussical The Musical

Fully accredited by the National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST) and a member of U/RTA, CCM offers both a BFA degree in Theatre Design and Production (TD&P) with an emphasis in Costume Design and Technology as well as a three year highly concentrated MFA degree in Costume Design and Technology.

The design of a successful theatrical costume involves an insight into the dramatic character's development, an ability to blend with the visual style of the scenic design, a recognition of the director's vision of the staging and a special individual flair or style that is the costume designer's alone. The costume designer enhances the actor's physical and expressive ability through the cut, draping, choice of fabric and ornamentation, creating an appropriate effect with silhouette, line and color. The artistic skills of sketching and color rendering, a strong sense of historical period and style, a comprehensive knowledge of the practices and techniques of costume technology and good communication, interpersonal and organizational skills are essential to augment the designer's natural talent.

Costume technology involves the realization of the costume designer's sketches, samples, notes, research and fabric swatches into practical, effective and affordable costumes for a theatrical production on stage, television or film. Knowledge of the design process, historical periods and styles and familiarity with the dramatic or lyric work are also required. Pattern drafting, cutting, draping, stitching and dyeing form the core of the craft, with additional craft work in fabric painting, millinery, weaving, leather and mask work. Knowledge of fabric characteristics from traditional cottons, silks and wools, to contemporary synthetics, plastics and even metals is essential. Responsibilities for the costume management of productions range from the costing, construction and fitting phases, to material, equipment and costume inventory control, to fast changes backstage and wardrobe maintenance during the run.

This program emphasizes the dual importance of design and technology no matter in which area one's strength may lie, as knowledge and communication skills in both are critical in this collaborative art, and especially valuable for professional entry-level positions.

Headshot of Laura Jane Molander

Laura Jane Molander

Theatre Costume Technician

513-556-9409

Headshot of Susan Patricia Morrison

Susan Patricia Morrison

Tech Theatre Specialist

513-556-9409

Headshot of Rebecca Senske

Rebecca Senske

Associate Costume Designer

513-556-6125

Headshot of Regina Truhart

Regina Truhart

Associate Professor, Costume Technology

513-556-9408

CCM's admissions process begins on August 1 (undergraduate) and September 1 (graduate) for entrance in the following year's fall semester. All application materials must be submitted on or before December 1 to be considered for specific scholarship awards. Visit the CCM Admissions website for additional application instructions.

Pre-screening and Interview Requirements

Pre-screening

Applicants must submit the required pre-screening materials via getacceptd.com/ccm on or before December 1 in order to be considered for admissions and invited for an audition.

Pre-screening Requirements

  • Current resume
  • 500-word applicant statement
    • Use the 500-word statement to express: how you came to your area of theater design and production, what you expect to gain out of the CCM experience, and what direction you intend to go upon graduation. What are your personal and professional goals and how does CCM get you closer to those goals?
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Portfolio (include theatre, artistic, and/or craft work)
  • Theatre Design and Production questionnaire

Interview

Interview Requirements

  • Application materials, along with experiences, achievements and long-range goals will be discussed at the applicant’s interview. All applicants will interview with faculty from the Theatre Design and Production department.

Additional Information

  • Candidates should only apply to one major within Theatre Design and Production unless seriously considering two areas

Pre-screening

Applicants must submit the required pre-screening materials via getacceptd.com/ccm on or before December 1 in order to be considered for admissions and invited for an audition.

Pre-screening Requirements

  • Current resume
  • 500-word applicant statement
    • Use the 500-word statement to express: how you came to your area of theater design and production, what you expect to gain out of the CCM experience, and what direction you intend to go upon graduation. What are your personal and professional goals and how does CCM get you closer to those goals?
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Portfolio (include theatre, artistic, and/or craft work)

Interview

Interview Requirements

  • Application materials, along with experiences, achievements and long-range goals will be discussed at the applicant’s interview. All applicants will interview with faculty from the Theatre Design and Production department.
  • MFA Interviews should be scheduled directly through the appropriate faculty. Visit the Theatre Design and Production website for the faculty directory.

Our philosophy for the Costume Design and Technology Program is best simply stated: costume designers communicate better with costume technicians when they have a working knowledge of the elements and areas of costume technology; costume technicians communicate better with costume designers when they have a working knowledge of the process and elements of costume design. Therefore, both the BFA and MFA degrees emphasize the dual importance of design and technology. As an individual artist, your strength may lie in one area or the other, yet knowledge of both is critical in this collaborative art. And, as is often the case, entry-level positions in professional costume shops and theaters frequently tend to be in technology (cutting, draping, crafts, paint/dye) and wardrobe and less frequently in design. Our program recognizes this fact and addresses it honestly.

CCM offers a wide range of theatrical experiences for students. During each academic year we produce two major musical, opera and play productions on our two main stage theaters as well as several studio productions in our flexible space studio theater. And, with the recent re-structuring of our division, we have begun incorporating support for dance, expanding learning opportunities in both design and construction to this fourth area.

Both undergraduate and graduate students are given opportunities as design assistants, first-hands, cutter/drapers, crafts persons and studio designers as well as wardrobe and maintenance personnel on all productions. Faculty, staff and graduate students most frequently design the six main stage productions although exceptional undergraduates may also have the opportunity. The studio productions are usually student designed even though faculty from the Opera, Musical Theatre and Acting programs direct. The relationship between faculty, staff and students is a professionally demanding one within an equally demanding educational setting.

CCM undergraduate and graduate students are encouraged to seek summer employment at one of our nation's many outstanding summer opera, musical theatre or drama institutions.

The CCM costume shop is a modern, moderate size space excellently equipped to produce the most challenging designs. It includes a separate paint/dye studio, toxic spray room, laundry and maintenance facility, fitting areas, offices, excellent and organized large costume stock and more. Some of our equipment includes industrial and domestic sewing machines and sergers, blind hemmers, walking foot, Omni-Stitch, stainless steel industrial dye vat and steam cabinet, etc. Our costume stock includes more than 25,000 costume pieces including the Broadway and touring production of The Scarlet Pimpernel (designed by Ms. Jane Greenwood) and the Tony-nominated Cyrano! The Musical (designed by Mr. Yan Tax of the Netherlands).

Regular course offerings include beginning and advanced costume construction, costume design for plays, musicals, operas and dances, the history of costume and pattern development, character figure drawing and rendering, advanced rendering, millinery, fabric painting and dyeing, mask-making, patterning, draping, tailoring and costume shop management. Seminar and Special Topics classes are added as needed.

CCM is continually recognized regionally, nationally and internationally for its high quality productions and professional training programs. Our TD&P students, staff and faculty have, and continue to, receive numerous awards and citations for outstanding design and technological achievements from the National Opera Association Opera Production Competition to USITT (regionally and nationally) for both productions at CCM and elsewhere. Students occasionally assist faculty designers with their off-campus professional positions, thus gaining valuable experience.

Undergraduate and graduate costume students of CCM have recently been, or are now currently employed in costume technology, crafts, wardrobe and/or design with The Washington Opera, The San Francisco Opera, The Denver Theatre Center, Cirque du Soleil, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Utah Shakespearean Festival, Chicago Lyric Opera, Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, American Players Theatre, Santa Fe Opera, Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati, the Shakespeare Theatre, Wolf Trap Opera, The Houston Ballet, Glimmerglass Opera, English National Opera, Colorado Shakespeare Festival, Cincinnati Ballet, Disney, Broadway and national tours, as well as with commercial and independent film companies.

For the MFA applicant, the Graduate Incentive Award (GIA) may be available to help with partial tuition while the Graduate Assistantship (GA) helps with most tuition and includes a stipend for hours worked (usually ten hours/week).

For the BFA applicant, we encourage participation in the university-wide Cincinnatus Scholarship Competition. Also available may be scholarship support from CCM and TD&P. Please refer to our websites for updated information.

The Costume Design and Technology Program at CCM is a demanding, intensive educational experience for the highly motivated individual seeking a professional career. Few programs or institutions can offer as wide a range of opportunities, experiences and exposures as we are able to give students. And, few programs or institutions expect as much from their students as we must, and do. As frightening as this intensity sounds, a most creative and challenging environment exists within, as The New York Times has described, "One of this country's leading conservatories". We're extremely proud of our accomplishments and hope that you may become a part of them.


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