Karsen Green, Graduate Costume Designer for Saint Joan painting a shirt for the final scene of the production

In Greensboro’s historic College Hill neighborhood, you’ll find a recent addition to CVPA facilities.  326 Tate Street—where Addams University Bookstore once stood—is now home to the School of Theatre’s Costume Studio. Although technically not on campus, it’s very close, just down the block from Taylor Theatre and Sprinkle Theatre.

The Costume Studio is fascinating enough on its own with thousands of costume pieces on racks in the front room and a fleet of sewing machines humming in the back. But keep exploring, and you’ll find a specific area that is dedicated to theatre crafts, including the production of costumes and props for stage productions.

There, Costume Studio Supervisor Amy Holroyd and a group of design-tech students make the magic to take an actor’s wardrobe to the next level:

“This is an exciting space. It’s where we produce some of the more unusual costume pieces. From hats to footwear, wings to body padding. We dye fabrics, paint shoes, silkscreen and airbrush costumes. This is where we can get messy and not worry about the equipment. This studio space allows us to keep the paints and glues away from the sewing machines.”

The Dye Room is equipped with two industrial soup kettles, and a stove with an exhaust hood, which designers use to cook up just the right colors for a particular need on stage. There’s also a stower stall for drip drying, and a washer and a dryer for newly dyed fabrics.

Last semester, students created wings for a character in Marisol, which Amy says was a team project that made her proud:

“Allison Hines, who graduated in December with a BFA in Theatre Design and Technical Production designed the wings. Another student actually built them. Then practicum students spent hours upon hours dying each feather to the right grey and silver coloring.”

Currently in the Crafts Studio, students are working on Saint Joan by George Bernard Shaw, and the Spring MFA Theatre for Young Audiences Candidates’ One-Acts:

“Students are building suits of armour for Saint Joan, distressing fabrics, and painting emblems on shirts. One of the one-acts is a play by Mary Hall Surface titled Round Pegs, Square Pegs. The characters in that play have very distinctive hats, and students are getting experience building headwear in a variety of unusual shapes and sizes. They’re also working with thermoplastics and foams to make really fun things for the ‘Pegs.’”

Looks like the team in the Dye Room and Crafts Studio has UNCG actors covered from head to toe.

Amy Holroyd, Costume Shop Supervisor.    Photo by Sayaka Matsuoka, August 2019      Triad City Beat

Amy Holroyd has been the Costume Shop Supervisor since 2010. She holds a BA in Theatre from UNC Charlotte and attended the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in Bristol, England where she completed an intensive wardrobe curriculum earning the school’s Jean Healey Award.

Story by Terri W. Relos

Photography provided by Amy Holroyd and Triad City Beat