We think our Theater Costuming Program is pretty spectacular. The program began in 2003. We are particularly proud of our graduates who have gone onto great careers.
- Miriam Lewis, one of the first to get the certificate, went on to get her MFA in Technical Theater at SF State where she now teaches in the Theater program. She is also a free-lance costume designer in the Bay Area. She had done quite a bit of work with Ray of Light Theater, including their recent “Rocky Horror Picture Show” production. She designed the costumes for the Lamplighter’s “The Grand Duke,” which was our production for the Theatrical Production class last spring.
- Lauren Howard went on to get her degree in Costuming for Film and Television in LA, and has worked there on numerous television shows, including the recent sequel to “Boy Meets World” called “Girl Meets World.”
- Sarah Velichko got her BFA in Technical Theater at SF State, and is now working as a costume technician for the Palo Alto Children’s Theater. She is working for the Wardrobe Union, and has worked as a dresser on the Broadway touring productions of “The Lion King” and “Pippin.” She and her sister Hannah, who also completed her BFA at State, created their own business making fairy wings and accessories called Tinker’s Penny.
- Mary Carr was also one of our early graduates, and went on to run the costume rentals department for Theatreworks, and has now retired.
- Camar Janke has her own business creating historic reproduction garments.
- Many of our current and former students work freelance or part time for a number of companies and schools in the Bay Area.
Our program is very unique because it combines the advanced skills that our fashion program offers, such as tailoring, draping and flat pattern, along with specialized classes such as Pattern Design for Historic Costume and Intro to Theater Costuming that allow our students to learn how to use those skills in a professional theatrical setting. Most costuming classes in theater departments are laboratory only in nature; you learn as you work on a show. Here our students have the chance to learn their skills in a classroom setting, which gives them much more depth in their skills, and makes them very valuable in the profession as well as in advanced academic drama programs. Instructor Judy Jackson notes, “I learned from my own experience as both an apparel design student and as a costumer that the skills that I developed in my fashion courses were very desirable to those who were hiring me to work as a costumer.”
To be more specific, students who are studying costuming in a typical 4 year university BFA program are learning to be costume designers. They do get a good background in working on theater productions and on the concepts of design and history that are a part of the theater world. However, they do not ever get an intensive course in Textiles, Flat Pattern, Draping, Tailoring, Millinery, Grading, or countless other skills that we teach in our program. Just as in fashion, there are far more jobs relating to the actual creation of the clothes than there are for designers. And anyone starting off on a smaller scale will need to be both designer AND creator. Here at Cañada, our students get that intensive experience in those areas, in a classroom situation where they can experiment and make mistakes without the concern of getting something “just right” in time for an actor to wear on opening night. And to give our students a taste of what the professional costume shop is like, we offer Costuming for Theatrical Production as well as internships with local companies.
Our students are very fortunate to have such a unique and valuable asset here at Cañada College.