11/10/2021

Meet Costume Designer, Wes Jenkins!

What inspired you to become a theater maker and costume designer?

I learned to sew when I was very young. I loved to draw, and I got the theatre bug from going to see Broadway tours with my family. Ultimately it offered an outlet for my various creative interests. 

What kind of education prepared you for this career?

I think there are many paths to having a career in the arts, but mine involved a BFA and MFA in theatre, with a concentration in costumes. 

What school subjects that our students may be studying do you use everyday?

All of them. When I’m designing or making costumes, I’m using my reading skills to analyze the script; my art and computer skills to draw my designs; my math skills if I’m building the costumes (sewing requires a lot of math – measurements and fractions in particular); craft work can involve a lot of science if you have to mix dye or use certain chemical compounds. 

What did you use as inspiration while designing the costumes for Cinderella? 

I blended a hint of modern fashion aesthetic with traditional fairytale style and placed it loosely in the mid 18th century. 

Cinderella’s magical transformation into her ball gown is an iconic moment from the story. What can you tell us about creating clothing that transforms on stage?

You have to be deliberate about your choices. All costumes (and clothing for that matter) have to function and be wearable, but the transformation magic adds an additional layer to it. We use special closures – magnets, snaps, Velcro, etc. to make things easy to remove or put on quickly. It has to happen with minimal effort from the actor making the change, or it doesn’t feel magical. 

Cinderella’s fairy godmother helps her achieve her dreams. Who supports you in your own life?

My family has always been supportive of my artistic pursuits. I’m very lucky in that regard. My wife Jen definitely does the most supporting these days. Between my day job and freelancing, there are days when my brain is on creative overdrive, and it requires a special person to help harness that and keep me focused on my goals. 

What are three words you would use to describe this production?

Magical!

Aspirational!

Hopeful!

Wes Jenkins previous design credits with Orlando Repertory Theatre include: Disney’s Newsies, Curious George: The Golden Meatball, Flora & Ulysses, Elf The Musical, Beat Bugs: A Musical Adventure, and Anne of Green Gables. He has also designed costumes for St. Louis Shakespeare, Stage One Family Theatre, Lindenwood University, Otterbein University, and Utah Festival Opera. He has worked as a tailor in the costume shops of the Los Angeles Opera, Utah Festival Opera, and Actors Theatre of Louisville. He currently works as an apparel designer for Disney Consumer Products.

 

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