Costume Design

Information for Costume Designers

The following timeline offers information for anyone costuming a production. There may be specific requirements for your space; for example, you may be required to submit design plans to Kat Nakaji if you are working in the Loeb. Consult with your producers if you have questions. 

Before you start

  • Know the show: get a script or recording of the production and familiarize yourself with the characters, historical period, etc. This will make your job much easier when it comes time to dress the actors.
  • Meet with your director to discuss his/her vision for the production.
  • Collect measurements from actors as soon as the show is cast.

Five weeks prior to production

  • Schedule a meeting with Jeanette Hawley (jeannette_hawley@harvard.edu), the A.R.T.’s costume shop manager. She will train you on the sewing machines, show you where items are located in the shop, and offer advice on your production as a whole. Additionally, she can help you schedule a trip to the A.R.T.’s costume warehouse (every show can schedule one visit).
    • Note: Students are not allowed to use the costume shop during work hours (9am-6pm) due to space constraints. However, you can schedule after hours times to sew and work, with Jeannette’s approval.
  • If you need to buy any costume pieces or materials to construct costumes, keep the receipts and give them to your producer(s) in order to be reimbursed. Use the p-card for your space if possible. Use the tax-exemption form if purchasing yourself.

Four weeks prior to production

  • Finalize costume design ideas with director.
  • Make a costume plot detailing what each character wears in each scene.
  • Schedule a meeting with Suzy Kadiff, the costume stock manager. She can be reached by phone (496-2000×8876) on Tuesdays from 1-6pm, Thursdays 1:00-7:30pm, and Fridays from 12-2. You will need to schedule a time to visit costume stock (located in the basement of the Loeb) to look for and pull costume pieces that are stored in student stock. She will provide you with the paperwork necessary to check the costumes out
    • Note: Shows being performed in non-Loeb spaces need to provide a $100 deposit for the costumes. The deposit will be kept and returned upon receipt of the costumes.
  • Attend the designer run (a full run of the show for all of the designers). The director/producer should inform you of when this is taking place.

Three weeks prior to production

  • Actor fittings: These must take place during Suzy’s hours in the shop. She will tell you if alterations can be made to a specific item of clothing. If alterations are needed, speak with Jeannette to okay a time to work in the costume shop.
  • Schedule and have a costume parade. Speak with the director to have all of the actors try on their items of clothing and show it to the staff.

Tech Period (two weeks prior to opening-opening night)

  • Attend Load-In: this is mandatory for every staff member.
  • Communicate with the director and producer to insure that all costume needs are met.
  • Continue with alterations.

Run of Show

  • Be available for any repairs or alterations that need to be made during the run.

After Closing

  • At strike, separate all costumes that need to be dry cleaned from those that do not (pieces that were not worn during the show, shoes/suspenders/hats, large structural pieces that cannot be dry cleaned, etc.). Bring all dry-cleanable costume pieces to Hillside Dry Cleaners (located across from Burdick’s on Brattle Street).
  • Pay for the cost of the costumes when you drop them off. Tell the cashier the name of the show they were used in, and let them know that they can be delivered to the A.R.T. Tell the cashier you want to pay in bulk.
  • During strike, bring any costumes that will not be dry cleaned to the stock room. DO NOT RETURN COSTUME PIECES TO THEIR ORIGINAL RACKS. Label them with “Name of Show – to Check In – YOUR NAME” and return during Suzy’s hours to check them in with her.
  • Suzy will contact you when the costume are delivered from Hillside. DO NOT RETURN TO THEIR ORIGINAL RACKS. Return during Suzy’s hours to check in the costumes with her assistance.