Watch Toi Whakaari’s Costume Showcase live tonight!

Costume Showcase at Toi Whakaari

I teach Costume Construction at Toi Whakaari: New Zealand Drama School.

In their first year of study students in the department learn, among other things: core sewing techniques; workshop practice; patternmaking; hatmaking; dyeing, printing and finishing techniques; costume history, and the costume design process.

By the end of Term 3 (out of 4) they will have made: a boned historical undergarment; a multi-part historical dress using theatrical techniques; a wired buckram hat; various accessories that utilise dyeing and printing techniques; and a pattern and completed garment which they have developed from a sloper.

In their second year of study students build on these skills, learning: advanced millinery; advanced corsetry; tailoring; costume for dance (often making costumes for the Royal NZ Ballet); and EVA & Worbla skills. In addition they do industry secondments and learn how to manage wardrobes for stage and screen productions.

At the same time these graduating students are asked to choose a costume design (it can be an actual costume design, a painting, concept art, etc.) to bring to life as faithfully as possible. They are given a budget of NZ$300 to do this. They spend all year (when they aren’t in other classes!) researching, testing, and building their costumes. They work with a model they have selected from among the students at Toi Whakaari to create a character and story for their costume.

The culmination of all this work for both years is Costume Showcase: a theatrical mini-extravaganza featuring performance and dance and their costumes.

It’s a chance for friends and family to celebrate the student’s work, and see it up close.

Unfortunately this year Covid-19 restrictions mean that we can only have a tiny audience for Costume Showcase, but that comes with a benefit for you.

We’ll be livestreaming tonight’s 6:30 showing of Costume Showcase!

I hope you enjoy the show! I’m phenomenally proud of all the students: they did all this despite missing 2 months of in-person tuition, and access to all our specialised equipment, due to lockdown.

And I’m phenomenally proud of the crew. The show is hugely directed and managed by current students or recent graduates, and they have done so well working around uncertainty and changing restrictions.

But wait there’s more! You can also follow @Toi_Costume on instagram for a peek into their world (the account is student-led).

And, if you are planning to apply to the course don’t forget that applications for 2021 close this week, on the 25th!


  1. Gerdiene Baas says

    Bravo! So much to love and admire in each and every piece! Congratulations to everyone.

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