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Otterbein University Department of Theatre & Dance

Costume Construction & Design

Hands-on learning is tantamount to every student’s theatre education at Otterbein.  In the costume area, students work in Wardrobe, Costume Technology, and Design, giving each student a solid foundation and preparing them for work in many facets of professional theatre. 

In the Classroom

All students begin their freshman year with a “Costumes for the Theatre” course which reviews a variety of methods and skills for garment construction, including both hand and machine stitching, fabric layout/cutting, and fabric selection. “Advanced Costume Technology” can be taken spring of Freshman year and introduces pattern draping, drafting, and flat pattern manipulation.  Other courses covering millinery (hat making), fabric dying/manipulation, etc. are taught on a rotating basis or as independent studies. 

In the sophomore year, students take “Costume History” which introduces students to fashions from the Ancient Egyptians to the 20th Century.  The course includes research methods, drawing practice, and prepares students for “Costume Design” class as well as future work draping period garments.

“Costume Design” begins a student’s education in both the artistic and managerial sides of being a professional Costume Designer.  Instruction through this course includes paperwork/organization, research, sourcing materials, fiber sciences, budgeting as well as elements of visual design as used in clothing.  Projects explore contemporary clothing, abstract/creative work, and period replication. 

In Production Work

Freshmen serve on wardrobe crews and as stitchers in the Costume Shop; sophomores begin leading crews as Wardrobe Masters and First Hands.  In the junior and senior years, students are given roles as Drapers and Assistant Designers.  Students who show the promise and work ethic can apply to be a Costume Designer within our mainstage season. 

In addition to structured production assignments, many opportunities are available for student designers and technicians through Classroom Project productions, and student produced productions such as Cabarets, Drag Shows, and the student produced Theatre Festival (part of the mainstage season). 

Faculty and Staff

Costume Designer, Rebecca White and Costume Shop Manager, Julia Fererri both hold Master of Fine Arts degrees (the highest degree in the field) in Costume Design and Costume Technology.  Both Rebecca and Julia are extremely dedicated to ensuring authentic learning experiences both in and out of the classroom.  Students are guaranteed individualized attention and personal mentoring.