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Job Board/Babillard d'emplois > Head of Wardrobe / Costume Designer - University of Waterloo Drama Department

Head of Wardrobe / Costume Designer - University of Waterloo Drama Department

This is a Permanent, Full-time position.

Category: Production
Location: Waterloo, Ontario
Position: Head of Wardrobe / Costume Designer
Deadline: June 11, 2012
Posted: May 23, 2012

Job Description / Duties

General Accountability
The Head of Wardrobe and Costume Designer is a significant creative position dedicated to the Drama program, and is responsible for the design and execution of all costumes for department-mounted productions, and for the management of wardrobe facilities and wardrobe-related equipment.

Reporting to the Chair, the position is also accountable to the faculty member assigned as the Head of Production, and to the Director of each department production. The Head of Wardrobe and Costume Designer oversees student crew members working in the wardrobe area.

On occasion, a faculty member with design expertise or a guest artist may be the designated costume designer for a particular production.

Nature and Scope
The position encompasses two related functions: Costume Designer and Head of Wardrobe for department productions, and fulfills both functions for three to four department-mounted theatre productions each year.

As Costume Designer, the position is responsible for the concept and design of all aspects of costumes for particular productions, and for the separate functions of the Head of Wardrobe.

The position requires significant oversight of student work in the wardrobe area, particularly for students assigned to the area as part of the requirements for DRAMA 243/244 and for senior students assigned to the wardrobe area as Head of Wardrobe & Make-up (DRAMA 306/406 & 307/407).

Budgeting responsibilities for this position include each of the department productions (typically $500 - $2 000), equipment and materials purchase and maintenance costs, costume loans, and student payroll for work/study students hired on an occasional basis. The wardrobe houses specialized costume construction equipment, an extensive stock of period costumes and fabrics and materials for construction and alteration.

Statistical Data
Number of drama productions each year: 3 – 4
Audience size: 2,500 – 3,000 per production
Wardrobe budgets per production (materials only): $500 - $2,000
Actors to be costumed: 1–30 per production; costumes per character 1–6
Students assigned to crew positions for each production: 12
Costumes in inventory: est. 5,000 items
Replacement value: est. $50,000

Specific Accountabilities
Provides extensive training and oversight to student crews on all aspects of costume production and running maintenance for theatre performances; demonstrates construction and sewing techniques, painting and breakdown techniques, specialty make-up techniques; provides general instruction in the production process, including fitting procedures and organizational techniques;

Provides professional guidance to Drama 101B, critically reading 5 assigned scripts, outlining the design tools available to students in the class; providing a critique on students’ costume design choices; attending student presentations and assisting with grading costume design choices. May work with students on independent study involving costume design.

As Costume Designer, the position is accountable for the design, fitting, rental or purchase, production, and care of all costume items, which vary widely among productions:

  • analyzes each script for wardrobe needs; 
  • consults frequently with the Director to develop and refine a design approach and to determine the period setting for the play; 
  • conducts research into all aspects of the selected period as it pertains to costume; 
  • produces costume drawings or renderings of each costume sufficient to express the total idea in detail for the actor involved, the Director and the crew members responsible for the execution of the garments; 
  • oversees the acquisition or creation of all elements for each costume, including but not limited to garments, wigs, shoes, hats and headwear, as well as costume accessories such as spectacles, handkerchiefs, personal jewelry, handbags and parasols; 
  • plans and provides specialty makeup for aging, wounds or other special effects; 
  • attends sufficient rehearsals to understand the demand and scope of the costume requirements; attends all dress rehearsals where costumes are being used to ascertain deficiency lists and oversee the completion of all aspects of all costumes to her/his and the director’s satisfaction. 

As Head of Wardrobe:
responsible for the execution of all costumes in all details, with the assistance of students assigned to the area.

This role includes:
- pulling and altering costumes from the department stocks;
- renting, borrowing or buying all costumes not in stock;
- buying trips for costume pieces and accessories, as well as fabrics and supplies for costume construction;
- pattern drafting as required for period costumes;
- cutting and sewing or overseeing the sewing on all costumes being constructed; fitting and overseeing the alterations to all costumes to be used;
- attending adequate dress rehearsals to complete the costumes to the costume designer’s satisfaction.
responsible for the ongoing maintenance of costumes and accessories used in a production;
accountable for the ongoing maintenance, storage and improvement of the department costume stocks and the timely return and cleaning of all borrowed costumes.

Significant Internal Contacts

  • Faculty, students, staff and visiting guest artists in the Drama program 
  • Visiting and in-house Directors for productions 
  • Financial Services 
  • Plant Operations/Key Control 
  • Library 
  • UW Theatre Centre 
  • Optometry Museum 
<div>Significant External Contacts </div>
  • Local and area theatres 
  • Local and area fabric retailers and suppliers; theatrical suppliers 
  • Local and research resources, such as libraries and museums 

Working Conditions

  • A car will be required from time to time to fulfill these duties 
  • Ability to lift 50 lbs; fine motor skill and eye/hand co-ordination are essential 
  • Overtime will be required to meet production requirements 

Note: Leave of absence during the summer months for the purposes of professional practice may be negotiated with the department.

Qualifications / Required Skills

- Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Fine Arts or equivalent education and experience with extensive experience in professional theatre costume design and production.
- Advanced knowledge of costuming including period costuming.
- Proven research skills, particularly in the areas of costume history and the history of theatre design. Demonstrated proficiency in drawing and/or painting.
- Professional-standard competence in dealing with fabrics, cutting and costume/accessory production; advanced pattern-making, cutting, draping, and sewing skills.
- Knowledge of all aspects of theatrical wigs, facial pieces and make-up. Intrinsically motivated, with demonstrated ability to work independently; exceptional organizational and time management skills.
- Excellent communication skills; proven ability to remain calm and diplomatic in stressful situations and when working with faculty, staff, students, and guest artists. - Candidates will be required to provide a portfolio of design renderings and photographs of their costume designs.

Additional Information


Salary: salary dependant on level of experience

Contact Information

Jill Tomasson Goodwin
Chair, Drama Department
519-888-4567 xt 35056

Employer Profile

The Department of Drama and Speech Communication at the University of Waterloo is deeply committed to the belief that the arts of performing and communication are essential for a rich and complete humanities education. All of the department's work is based on the understanding that a balance between academic and practical work produces the best education in our discipline.

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