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Wardrobe call for Brolga Theatre

LOOKING THE PART: Young actors Jemma and James Tennant try on costumes for The Music Man. Jemma is in the children’s chorus and James plays Winthrop, a part he shares with fellow young actor Lachlan Youngberry. Mum Dawn will be in the adult chorus and dad Phil will work backstage, making their involvement in The Music Man a family affair.
LOOKING THE PART: Young actors Jemma and James Tennant try on costumes for The Music Man. Jemma is in the children’s chorus and James plays Winthrop, a part he shares with fellow young actor Lachlan Youngberry. Mum Dawn will be in the adult chorus and dad Phil will work backstage, making their involvement in The Music Man a family affair. Supplied

DECKING out the performers for a community show is no mean feat, as Brolga Theatre wardrobe wizards Margaret Richter and Carleen Tighe can testify.

The Brolga community musical The Music Man by Meredith Willson takes to the stage for the first of three performances on March 31 and the show’s two costume designers are already well into creating the wardrobe, partly from patterns used in the 1970s.

Ten weeks out from the show, they are volunteering at least 40 hours a week each to ensure the performers are dressed to perfection.

The costumes need to be immaculate with each speaking role requiring a hat – some elaborately feathered.

Each will be made to fit the actor using patterns from past shows and information from extensive research.

“People have grown in the last 40 years,” Margaret said.

“Outwards and upwards, so we need to redraft most of the patterns as we go.”

Neither of the women has had formal training in costume creation but the Wizard of Oz wardrobe is testament to their skills and the long hours they are prepared to contribute.

“It’s a bit like childbirth,” Carleen said.

“Each show becomes painful towards the end but you still go and do it all over again.”

The women are working to a conservative budget, but by accessing “secret sources” have managed to produce some of the leading ladies’ costumes for as little as $24 each.

The Brolga Theatre has a store of haberdashery from previous shows to tap into but they still need new materials.

“We shop locally first but have also travelled as far as the Sunshine Coast in search of just the right material for the job,” Margaret said.

About 65 performers will wear a total of 180 costumes, with the lead actors needing up to four and each band member needing at least two.

“The Music Man is a fun musical with wicked humour that takes the mickey out of stereotypes,” Carleen said.

“I have no doubt that the audience will enjoy it, and as far as the costumes are concerned. look out for the ‘Pick a Little’ scene – we are aiming to make that spectacular,” Carleen said.

“It’s a bit like childbirth. Each show becomes painful towards the end but you still go and do it all over again



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