By Sam Snobelen

The Bard costume shop, located at the SFU School for Contemporary Arts’ Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, is a veritable tempest of thread, ribbon, fabric and beads! Over 20 cutters, sewers, and Wardrobe interns have worked tirelessly for three months this spring to realize the dreams of designers Mara Gottler, Christine Reimer and Nancy Bryant. Marketing Coordinator Roanne Ward and I were able to get a sneak peek early in the build process and discovered our designers have all sorts of delightful surprises in store for this season!

Trincula's underskirtThe central theme of Bard’s 2014 BMO Mainstage productions is “reimagining” and it resonates through every aspect of the costume designs. The costumes for Bard’s 25th anniversary productions are split evenly between recycled pieces and newly constructed items. Both Reimer and Gottler (designing The Tempest and A Midsummer Night’s Dream respectively) have been particularly clever about re-using costume pieces from previous seasons. Keen-eyed fans of the original 2008 production of The Tempest may, for example, spy a few familiar elements in the guests’ attire during the culminating wedding scene this season. For bonus points, note Trincula’s (played by Luisa Jojic) underskirt this year. You may not recognize it, but the wardrobe team took her original 2008 overskirt and repurposed it for this season – after replacing each decorative bead by hand! 

Jennifer Lines’ (Ariel) costume is also getting an upgrade this season. After stitching together over 40 metres of four different kinds of organza, the wardrobe team has more than doubled Ariel’s wings – giving Prospero’s ethereal servant a magnificent wingspan in tune with The Tempest’s move to the larger BMO Mainstage for this season.Costume Designer Christine Reimer (left) shows Ariel's new 2014 wings alongside Head of Wardrobe Sydney Cavanagh who holds Ariel's much smaller wings from the 2008 production of The Tempest. Photo by Sam Snobelen

Gottler’s design concept for A Midsummer Night’s Dream will be familiar to patrons who attended the 2006 production, but they’ve also been refreshed for the 25th anniversary. Gottler has been designing costumes for Bard since our original production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 1990 and she’s watched the Festival grow each season. Her 2014 designs are more “grown up” versions of the costumes worn in 2006, incorporating elements which reflect how our Company has grown over the past eight years. Puck’s (Kyle Rideout) costume is a prime example of this more grown-up style. Bard fans who remember Rideout’s original pink tutu and red Converse high tops from 2006 will find that Oberon’s mischievous servant has had his look darkened. Rideout’s tutu in particular has become edgier and shorter as part of the new design.Ian Butcher (Oberon) & Kyle Rideout (Puck) in A Midsummer Night's Dream 2006 (left) and 2014. Photos by David Blue

John Voth (Theseus) & Adele Noronha (Hippolyta) in Mara Gottler's 'silver anniversary' costumes. Phot by David BlueGottler has kept at least one original costume element for each character from the 2006 production, which means that favourites like Bottom’s ass-head mask makes an appearance. Gottler is also quick to point out that silver plays a key role in this year’s colour palette, in honour of Bard’s 25th anniversary.

Both A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Tempest are playing now on the BMO Mainstage. If you want to get an up-close look at the costumes, become a Member and join us for exclusive Saturday morning backstage tours on July 19, August 9 or September 13!

Do you have a favourite Bard costume? Which pieces from A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Tempest are you most looking forward to seeing again this season? Let us know in the comments field below!