The Texas Shakespeare Fest: Where do they get those costumes? - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

The Texas Shakespeare Fest: Where do they get those costumes?

There's a whole lotta stitchin' goin' on at the Texas SHakespeare Feastival costume shop. Photo by Jamey Boyum KLTV. There's a whole lotta stitchin' goin' on at the Texas SHakespeare Feastival costume shop. Photo by Jamey Boyum KLTV.
KILGORE, TX (KLTV) -

Pray tell, what dost nearly come upon us?

Why, the grandest of theater, the yearly Texas Shakespeare Festival performed at the Anne Dean Turk Fine Arts Center at Kilgore College

Prithee, where do they find such fine adornments for the plays?

They make them themselves.

You can sound the part doing Shakespeare, but it’s just not as impressive in jeans. You have to look the part, too.

Raymond Caldwell founded the fest and knows what it takes.

“What are these people doing back here?” I asked Caldwell.

“Well, I think there’s 13 people working in the costume shop, I believe that’s right, plus there are two costume designers for the four major shows,” Caldwell replied.

And two more designers for the children’s show and the play he’s directing. All of them working long hours. 

“Nine o’clock in the morning to 10:30 in the evening, six days a week,” Caldwell revealed.

But it’s not some labor camp or something. They’re paid, and they know what they’re in for. Kyla Kazuschyk has been dressing Shakespeare from scratch for six years.

“The costume designer draws a picture of what they want the costume to look like, and then we analyze what the pattern shapes for those will be, and then we create the patterns,” Kyla said.

The costume patterns are then sized on the actors and are made of a different fabric. 

“After many costume fittings, a cheap fabric like muslin,” Caldwell revealed.

“Then we make adjustments to it and then we cut it out of the final fabric,” Kyla explained.

They don’t like to make mistakes on the real thing, which is understandable considering the cost. 

“Fabric was a hundred dollars a yard,” Caldwell said of an older costume.

And they collect fabric and lace.

“Oh my gosh, am I looking at your underwear drawer?” I asked a seamstress.

“All the lace and frilly bits that might go on underwear,” she laughed.

“It’s all filed under the Dewey Decimal System,” I said to Caldwell who was showing me drawers that came from a library.

“Yes, that’s right,” he laughed.

They keep the old costumes as they may be repurposed, or displayed like Michael C. Hall’s tunic from 1995. You might know Hall as “Dexter”.

But time is always short.

“They have to hurry. There’s real pressure to get it done,” Caldwell said.

“They have to sew like the wind,” I said.

“That’s right. Yes,” Caldwell laughed.

The 32 Texas Shakespeare Festival kicks off June 29 and will feature six plays including one written by Caldwell himself about 50 years ago.

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