Hannah Brewer is here this week with the latest in Shakespeare news from The Isle Of Wight as part of an ongoing series of regional Shakespeare Coverage.
When bringing together a successful production, it is important that all the elements in its DNA are as impressive as the next. The want to produce and resource period appropriate and beautifully crafted costumes is a universal one spanning across both professional and amateur dramatics.
Shakespeare’s work, from the traditional to the contemporary will forever be in need of competent costuming. Holly Hamblin, resident Wardrobe Mistress at the Isle of Wight Shakespeare Company is currently working on the company’s latest venture, Henry IV.
I caught up with Holly to find out more:
Good morning Holly, Costuming Shakespeare on a budget must be difficult, what techniques do you use in order to costume an entire cast?
Costuming on a budget can be incredibly difficult but personally I like a challenge and usually find I have to be far more imaginative than anticipated and create whole outfits. I have also made some great contacts in the industry that are very talented and generous people, they usually come to the rescue if I’m really stuck! So far we have been extremely fortunate and through generosity and quick thinking we have been able to costume each of our productions, period appropriately.
Is there anything you find particularity different about your work with the IWSC?
If anything, it’s much less stressful that other wardrobe work as I am close to other members of the company. It’s makes communication between the departments a lot easier when you have a good working relationship. The main difference is attending the early rehearsal process and costuming our actors as early as possible so we can see what works and what doesn’t.
What has been the most exciting job for you as Wardrobe Mistress at the IWSC?
I have loved every production with the IWSC. I’m very excited about the upcoming season,
Henry IV ‘on tour’ is going to be an incredible experience, we are going full out traditional, not something we have yet done. This is really what theatre is all about; bringing a concept to life through a unique vision and witnessing true talent and passion grow.
Transporting the costumes around might be a bit of a headache though…
Have there been any surprises?
I suppose one of the main surprises was being asked to create a costume hire service for the public to have access to. The challenge now is to put it into practice and build up a generous stock of historical and contemporary clothing and accessories. The aim is to have it up and running by the end of the year.
From the 1920’s to the 1500’s the IWSC has put Holly’s skills the test. But Holly has an impressive resume, having worked with the English National Ballet and 20th Century Fox. It’s wonderful to know that she is now bringing her expertise and experience to this young and growing company.