In a previous blog, “Costumes 101: Before and During the Show,” Production Manager Megan West revealed how costumes are created or acquired and handled before and during the show. But what happens to them after the play is over?
Park Square Theatre has minimal space for costume storage, and outside storage is expensive so very little is kept after a play is done. Rented items are returned, actors may purchase costumes, and leftovers are donated. Only very specific items that may be reused, such as Nero Wolfe’s yellow pajamas, and common stock that are often needed, such as white dress shirts, tailcoats, some shoes, wig heads and petticoats (great to wear during rehearsals if actors need to get used to the motion of full skirts), are stored. During the summer, West goes through the labeled and well-organized bins again to look for overstock that can go. Her rule for shoes: If the lid no longer fits on the bin, then get rid of something.
Costumes in Storage
The exception to the “toss rule” has been a collection of at least a dozen boxes of vintage wear by deceased costume designer Jack Edwards, whose career spanned over 50 years, taking him from Broadway to the Guthrie Theater. Restoration cost for these handmade and sometimes fragile items would be costly, but thus far no person or organization has been interested in taking them as a donation to archive or use for educational purposes. Every item in each box has been catalogued (numbered, photographed, and indexed).
The costume storage area is kept as orderly as possible with everything in its place, ready to be used for yet another show.