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Julian Wiles, Founder and Producing Artistic Director
Marybeth Clark, Associate Artistic Director

October 20, 2017

Meet Grace Schmitz, Our New Costume Design Coordinator and Senior Costume Technician

Filed under: Back Stage Blog — julianw @ 10:28 am

 

 

Q: Where did you grow up? Were there any activities you did as a child that led to your passion for the arts?

A: I grew up in a very small town in southern Mississippi where I could walk a few blocks to the Library whenever I liked. I would read fantasy constantly but I also explored the sections with instructional books for different trades and crafts. I read books about everything from cutting hair to making puppets, and would dive into my own art projects constantly.


Q: Where did you receive training? How did this prepare you for your work in the theatre world?

A: My Mom taught me to sew at a young age and doll dresses turned into personal clothing projects by high school; eventually I began making costumes for my high school’s Theatre productions. I have a Bachelors degree from the University of Southern Mississippi and a Masters from The University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Costume Design. I have also worked at several theaters across the country and consider each environment a new learning experience as I work with new people and new projects with their own unique challenges.

Q: Briefly describe your position at Charleston Stage and what you do for the company.

A: I am the Costume Design Coordinator and Senior Costume Technician at Charleston Stage. I designed the costumes for Disney’s The Little Mermaid and am also the Costume Designer for To Kill a Mockingbird, Avenue Q, and Shakespeare in Love this season and Assisting our Costumer Emeritus Barbara Young on A Christmas Carol. This goes hand in hand with my position as Senior Costume Technician where I will be spearheading the construction of major costume pieces for each production for my own designs as well as others.

 

Q: Where have you worked previously before Charleston Stage?

A: I have worked with many companies across the country in many different parts of the costuming team including Cirque do Soleil, The Santa Fe Opera, Cape Fear Regional Theatre, Triad Stage, Peppercorn Theatre, The Illinois Shakespeare Festival, West Virginia Public Theatre, Rivertown Theaters, and Southern Arena Theater.

 

 

 

 

October 17, 2017

Meet Gillian Paige, Our New Costume Shop Manager

Filed under: Back Stage Blog — julianw @ 10:27 am

 


Q: Where did you grow up? Were there any activities you did as a child that led to your passion for the arts?

A: I grew up in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and was always involved in the arts trying everything from visual arts, playing musical instruments to dancing and even figure skating. My family made sure I had a wonderful arts education and a strong appreciation for fine and performing arts. My mother is an elementary school art teacher so I always loved working alongside her and still enjoy visiting her classroom. Because of this I specifically loved visual arts and took classes at the Sawtooth School for Visual Arts in Winston. I took classes in traditional painting and drawing but also loved exploring new techniques like weaving and fiber arts. I fell in love with working in both 2D and 3D techniques. Building costumes allows me to do both every day!


Q: Where did you receive training? How did this prepare you for your work in the theatre world?

A: I received my undergraduate degree from North Carolina State University in the College of Design. My degree was more focused on fiber arts and fashion. I was able to explore everything from weaving, clothing construction, and digital print design. While at NC State I had the opportunity to work at the University Theatre as a stitcher in the costume shop. I fell in love with the costume shop and creating costumes for the productions. Working at my first costume shop helped me to understand that I could make a career out of costume design and construction. I decided to switch my focus and apply for graduate school at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) in order to get the proper training I needed to work in the theatre industry. UNCSA is a rigorous conservatory style program where I was able to work on over 30 productions a year. My graduate degree from UNCSA is a Master of Fine Arts in Costume Technology with a concentration in Costume Shop. This training directly prepared me to begin my position here at Charleston Stage as the Costume Shop Manager.


Q: Briefly describe your position at Charleston Stage and what you do for the company.

A: As the Costume Shop Manager, I oversee all of the costumes, wigs, and makeup we create for the productions at Charleston Stage Company. I keep the daily shop operations running smoothly and oversee the scheduling and builds for each show. I do a lot of scheduling and paperwork but I also get to run and assist fittings with actors and assist our Costume Designer in constructing and altering costumes for each show.


Q: Where have you worked previously?

A: While I was in graduate school, I worked at Williamstown Theatre Festival, a resident summer theatre festival in Williamstown, MA. I had the opportunity to work in the costume shop as a stitcher, altering and constructing costumes for all of the Summer productions. Many of our costumes were designed by Broadway costume designers giving me the chance to work with renowned artists like Gregg Barnes, Ann Hould-Ward, and Paloma Young.


Q: What do you do in your spare time?

A: Since I just moved to Charleston a few months ago I have been spending a lot of my free time exploring the city. Living downtown has allowed me to walk or ride my bike around, getting to experience Charleston in a totally different way. I love wandering down new streets and alleys, finding new gardens, and appreciating the traditional architecture. I always find myself thinking how lucky I am to live and work in such a beautiful city!

 

 

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