Behind the Curtain: Courtni Riddick, Costume Designer of “ONCE ON THIS ISLAND”

Courtni Riddick, Costume Designer of ONCE ON THIS ISLAND

Courtni Riddick, our Costume Shop Director and Costume Designer for ONCE ON THIS ISLAND, has brought her talent to many of our shows since joining our professional staff in season 44. Learn about her artistic tastes and processes for designing this fantastical production, onstage at the Dock Street Theatre this April, below:

Share with us your artistic background. How did you get into theatre and costume design?

I originally started school in fine arts. While in school I was offered a work-study position in costume coordination. I fell in love with it, and the rest is history.

Which styles of theatre do you gravitate towards the most? Why? 

I love the esoteric and the fantastical. Anything that gives me an opportunity to try a new approach conceptually and artistically is interesting for me.

What has inspired you as you create your designs for Once On This Island? What are your dreams for Charleston Stage’s visual presentation of this special show?

The framing for ONCE ON THIS ISLAND is that of a community coming together to share and tell a story, utilizing whatever they have on hand to convey the beauty of a shared lore and history. I want to help the audience feel immersed in this telling, like they’re being let in on something special. With all the hard work our team is putting in, I absolutely believe they will be.   

What has come easily as you costume the show?

Collaborating with our Director, Crystin Gilmore, has been thoroughly enjoyable. She is open to and welcoming of our ideas. Her energy, attitude, and approach to this show and our team has been so inspiring.

Which aspects have proven to be more challenging?

The most challenging aspect has surprisingly been access to the unique resources and fabrics we need. Most of our really interesting fabrics we’ve had to travel hours to get or have them shipped in. 

What are your favorite shows of all time?

I would love to one day design for Sweeney Todd and Ti-Jean and His Brothers.

Courtni has been designing and building costumes for more than 15 years. Originally from central Florida, she graduated from Florida State University with an M.F.A. in Costume Design. She loves to create for the big and fantastical as well as the intimate and detailed and she is thrilled to be a part of the historic Charleston Stage team. Her recent credits include Bright Star and Murder on the Orient Express. Other credits include The Importance of Being Earnest and Eurydice.

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