Costume Showcase 2021: Livestreaming 2nd Oct 6:30 NZDT!!!

Toi Whakaari Costume Showcase 2021

It’s back!  For the second year in a row, Toi Whakaari’s Costume Showcase will be livestreamed!

Join us virtually on the 2 October, 6:30 PM NZDT

(that’s 7:30pm Friday the 1st in Hawai’i, 10:30pm Friday the 1st in California, 1:30am Sat the 2nd on the East Coast, 6:30am Sat the 2nd in London, and 1:30pm Sat the 2nd in Singapore).

What is Costume Showcase?

Costume Showcase is the culmination of the years work for the Costume Construction students I teach at Toi Whakaari The New Zealand Drama School.

At the start of the year the 2nd year students chose a costume design to bring to life.  It could be something from a piece of art, a costume design done for a film or show, a fashion plate, or something from a video game or anime, etc.  They just can’t be something they designed themselves (it’s a Diploma in Costume Construction, not Costume Design), and it has to be a design, not a made costume or garment.

Over the course of the year they research and test different ways to ‘realise’ their design.  They apply this research, and the techniques they have learned over the course of their studies, to their ‘Major Work’.

Come Costume Showcase, their creation steps off the page, onstage, and into life, with the help of a student model, and a mainly student cast and crew.

In addition to the Second Year’s individual Major Works, the First Year Costumers show their progress in two group performance pieces: one focused on a historical dress, and one that they have had to pattern and make from a design I create.

Huge amounts of the show are student run.  Student costumers, student models, a student stage management team.  The lighting design and movement director are both recent graduates.  What you see is really the students vision: we just provide support.

We focus on the learning being more important than perfection, but what they put together is still pretty darn fantastic.

What’s this year’s Costume Showcase going to be like?

Amazing!  (obviously).

There’s a Queen Guinevere reimagined as a Maori heroine, an exquisitely precise cosplay, a pierrette and a harlequin that are equally adorable in totally different ways, 1950s-does-1570s with attitude to spare, and tree elf that literally looks like it grew from a seed, and a drag queen of seriously epic proportions.

Also, SO many rhinestones!

The First Year’s 1830s dresses are everything you could hope for in the way of bonnets and big sleeves.

Plus, we’re extremely excited to be working with the New Zealand School of Dance and the Set and Props department at Toi Whakaari for the Patternmaking number.  Their dance number really brings our armour inspired dresses to life, as do the amazing helmets by Set and Props.

It’s a great insight into the work we do at Toi Whakaari, and what makes our school so amazing and unique.  You can see the collaboration between departments, and the specifically New Zealand flavour of the show.

How has Covid & Level 2 in NZ affected the show?

Covid has had such an impact on this years graduating costumiers.  New Zealand had its first major lockdown just a little over a month after their course started.  They were still settling in, and had to adapt to studying online, in isolation.  Costume Construction is not an ideal subject for online teaching!

Then, just when we were getting to the part of the year when the student’s really focus on their major works…we had another lockdown.

So significant portions of this year’s major works had to be done at home, on small domestic machines, with no specialised equipment, in tiny dorm rooms.

To say I am proud of what the students have achieved under the circumstances is an understatement.

Covid is also affecting the show itself.  Toi Whakaari is following best practice Covid procedures for Costume Showcase.  This means that our audience is limited to people who work and study in the building.  Even the costumer’s families can’t attend.

So we really hope that you’ll attend virtually, from wherever you are in the world!

But I want to see the details!

The best part of Costume Showcase is usually at the end, when the Costumers and their works spill out into the plaza, and the audience gets to see everything up close.

We can’t do that this year because of Covid, but we’ve got you covered!

We’ll be showing all the details on the @toi_costume instagram, AND one of our first year costumers is going to be taking over the @toi_whakaari instagram stories to give you a look backstage on Sat eve.

How long is the show?

Half an hour!  Perfection is short and sweet!

Just 3ish minutes per Major Work, and two group dance numbers featuring works by the 1st year Costumers.

Hope you can join us for a watch!

To finish up, here’s some photos I took backstage at last year’s Costume Showcase (which is why we aren’t masked in them!)

Toi Whakaari Costume Showcase 2020

Toi Whakaari Costume Showcase 2020

Toi Whakaari Costume Showcase 2020

Toi Whakaari Costume Showcase 2020

Toi Whakaari Costume Showcase 2020

Toi Whakaari Costume Showcase 2020

Toi Whakaari Costume Showcase 2020

Toi Whakaari Costume Showcase 2020

Toi Whakaari Costume Showcase 2020

Toi Whakaari Costume Showcase 2020