Photo of Brianca Robinson '22 BFA Drama: Design and Technical Production

Brianca Robinson has a style that she is ready to share with the world. While earning a BFA in Drama: Design and Technical Production at UNCG, Robinson focused on costume design:

“Creating costumes is a big part of helping an actor create a role. It’s the clothing and those nuances like accessories and hairstyles that allow the actor to develop the character further. An actor finally feels like they’re becoming the character once they put on that costume.”

Robinson started out studying filmmaking but decided that wasn’t exactly the path she wanted to pursue, so she transferred to CVPA’s School of Theatre. She had performed in shows during high school and decided to try her hand at production:

“The program here allowed me to combine different aspects of who I am, which was gratifying. I was able to use my acting, my drawing, and my directing. I really love the costuming process, but I still want to act and direct at some point. The classes I have taken have set me up to do all of that. Classes like Acting I, Directing, and Play Analysis helped shape me and prepared me for doing a lot of things because now my viewpoint and experience are so wide.”

Robinson credits the faculty with teaching her more than stagecrafts:

“I feel like the professors here were just what I needed. They allowed me to be a student first, and they really nurtured my ability to grow and develop then allowed me to become the professional I knew I could be. Professor Clare Parker teaches costuming, and she really helped me hone in and get detailed on my craft. Even when my class with her was over, she was happy to look over my portfolio. Josh Purvis’s acting class really helped me understand the actor’s perspective and that of the playwright. A script is the blueprint, and it’s important to treat the playwright’s intention with such care.” 

Robinson says that with costuming, just like everything in theater, there is so much that goes on behind the scenes:

“First you read the play to get a general view. Then you go back in and unpack the characters. Who are they? What are their motives? What is their world like? Once you have a good sense of those things, the research begins. What is the time period? What was happening then? What is the impact of the play? From there you’ll start your renderings, coming up with ideas of what these characters will look like and what they’ll be wearing. There’s a great deal of collaboration with the director and actors before you even begin looking at fabrics, obtaining measurements, and putting together patterns.”

Robinson says her favorite show is her most recent one:

Photo from "Dontrell, Who Kissed the Sea." Photo credit: Becky Vanderveen
Photo from “Dontrell, Who Kissed the Sea.” Photo credit: Becky Vanderveen

“I loved costuming Dontrell Who Kissed the Sea this fall. It was my third and final show at UNCG, and it made me realize how far I’ve come in designing. It allowed me to fine tune my skills and my stylized drawing. It felt like I found my place and my rhythm.”

And when she saw the costumes on stage?

“Opening night for Dontrell was surreal. I was so proud of my work and my collaboration with the actors and director. It was kind of a 360-moment. When I first came to UNCG, the first show I saw was in Sprinkle Theatre, and then to have my final production there, it was just that feeling of having come full circle.”

Robinson says she’s leaving with more than an professional degree:

“The School of Theatre has such a community. I feel like there are resources if you need them. The professors are so attuned to their students. I would tell future Spartans to come to UNCG for family. Come to UNCG to find who you are. This place, these people, will allow you to become the person you want to be.”

photo of Brianca Robinson '22 BFA Drama: Design and Technical Production
Brianca Robinson ’22 BFA Drama: Design and Technical Production

Robinson adds: “Earning a degree is a marathon, not a race. Enjoy the process. No matter how long you take, once you get there, it is incredibly gratifying.”

After graduation Robinson plans to move to Portland, Oregon to do costume design for local theaters. Her long-term goal is to create costumes for film and television. 

Story by Terri W. Relos

Photos provided by Brianca Robinson