water polo speedos Stratford Festival all about the details
The Stratford Festival Theatre is coming alive with a secret maze of artisans.
They’re crafting sets, props, and elaborate costumes.
You’d never know it from first glance at the majestic Festival Theatre, but the lower levels of the building house an entire network of elves preparing hundreds of thousands of pieces to make the shows a reality.
They’re working under a tight timeline, to be sure rehearsals start on Monday and the first round of shows preview in the middle of April but there’s no compromising on those intricate details.
well worth it. We are so fortunate to have some of the most talented cutters and sewers in North America, and I’m not saying that just because I love them. I hear that from designers, said Bradley Dalcourt, head of wardrobe.
A dedicated team creates every piece of clothing, down to the trim and specific buttons. The entire wardrobe is meticulously planned and custom made.
Some of the most time consuming costumes can take weeks of round the clock work to build.
a real variance depending on the complexity of the garment, Dalcourt said, standing in the middle of a room filled from floor to ceiling with bolts of fabric.
can budget an 18th century gown for 250 hours of labour. But a little rehearsal costume for Guys and Dolls could be 24 hours. are about 70 employees working exclusively on wardrobe and every one is needed. At the Stratford Festival, everything from hats to shoes to jewelry is handmade for the actors.
don’t know how they accomplish everything they do, but boy, do they ever, said Ann Swerdfager, publicity director for the Festival.
That includes little known crafts like the art of wig creation.
make all of the wigs, strand by strand, with real hair, she said. moustaches and beards, they use yak hair, because it’s got a bit more texture. But it’s human hair for all of the head wigs. building every last detail from scratch can get pricey.
the last time we did Guys and Dolls, which was about 12 years ago, wool has gone up 65 per cent in cost per metre. I have to work that into the budget, because every guy in that show is getting a wool suit, Dalcourt said.
And those period specific outfits are designed to such custom specifications that there’s no chance Dalcourt can find them on his scouting missions to Toronto or New York City.
(actors) have to be able to jump and dance and do all the stuff,
and the (suits) have to have a 40s feel to them, Dalcourt said. can’t buy them, so they have to be built. now the focus is on the shows that will open earliest, including Twelfth Night, which will grace the Festival Theatre stage through the summer and fall.
Bringing the audience into these worlds of days gone by is a massive effort, one that includes hand gluing over 2,000 leaves for the grand trees that will anchor the Twelfth Night set.
Senior prop builder Shirley Lee had the task of creating those 60 branches. She spent some serious time with the hot glue gun, painstakingly gluing the leaves in place. But she had it all wrapped up in just a few days.
just need to be moving on, she said.
And though hot glue isn’t always fun to work with, Lee said a little discomfort is no big deal for those in the props department.
well, we’re tough, she said with a laugh. you’re working down here, poking your finger is nothing. the corner in the metal shop, prop master Ken Dubblestyne welded a network of metal tubing into place to create two of those trees.
they’re going to be dressed covered in tape to give them a bark texture and then painted black, he said. clear packing tape over top of that to make it look like ice, with shards of Plexiglas, mirror, Aurora Borealis type stuff so it’s very sparkly and winter like. trees will flip open to reveal a new season.
it’s winter, and then you turn around and it’s spring, said Lee.
The preparation is monumental and the level of detail is astounding, but that’s what makes it the Stratford Festival, Dalcourt said.
amazing. When something isn’t right, a lot of the audience wouldn’t know what it is, but they will feel when it is right, he said.