When opening a chest full of costumes, one experiences the storied history of performance and theatre at Queen’s.
The DAN School of Drama and Music hosted an interactive prop and costume display in Theological Hall on Oct. 21 to rediscover old performances.
Theological Hall was graced with a tickle trunk filled with crowns, parasols, and costumes easy to pull over guests’ clothes. As they donned these clothing items, visitors could see themselves reflected in a room full of mirrors.
Director of the DAN School of Drama and Music Julia Brook explained the importance of having Homecoming events for alumni to relive their memories, while trying new things.
“What’s been important to our drama alumni has been participating in what we call our major productions. We produce two shows a year, [the] fall major and the winter major,” Brook said in an interview with The Journal.
The department thought it would be fun for alumni to see some costumes and go down memory lane. The event featured costumes from previous shows, with the help of the DAN School of Drama and Music Wardrobe Coordinator Marianna Thomlinson.
Regardless of whether guests were affiliated with the department during their time at Queen’s, the event staff encouraged all to immerse themselves in the display and properly get a feel for the interactive activities.
“[Guests] know what it feels like to put on a show or become an actor. They put on a character and have a costume around that,” Brook said.
The DAN School provided costumes for display to showcase the more fragile and historical pieces from their collections. Brook’s favourite part of the event was seeing how much joy was experienced by people.
“When you try something on like that, maybe it makes you a little silly or makes you feel like a different character. I think that’s always fun and it changes your face,” Brook said.
In 2018, the DAN School performed the classical Greek play Birds, featuring rugby sweaters and Queen’s baseball hats. The textured headpieces and vibrant colours resurfaced this Saturday, and everyone got to see the elaborate masks.
“When you watch the show, just like how a human person can embody a bird, you as an audience member watch that and think, I actually kind of believe that you’re a life-sized bird,” Brook said.
Brook emphasized the importance of the wardrobe department and its role in making characters come alive both for the audience and the actors.
The wardrobe coordinator and their teams make many costumes from scratch or by using repurposed clothing. They find pieces at places like Value Village and customize them for students and their role in the performance.
“We have a lot of costumes in storage, and sometimes you can reuse the costumes,” Brook said.
Brook said they don’t rent costumes and typically buy clothes to be readjusted. She called the event a dress-up day to have fun and reflect on the history of the DAN wardrobe department.
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