30 March 2015 at 11.00am | 20 Comments
In a bid to address the current shortage of high quality costume makers, a new degree course in Costume Construction has been announced by the Royal Opera House, University of the Arts London (UAL) and South Essex College.
The UAL-accredited BA (Hons.) course will be based at the Bob and Tamar Manoukian Costume Centre at High House Production Park in Thurrock and will focus on the cutting and making of costumes for opera, ballet, theatre, film and TV. Modules over three years will include hand sewing techniques, pattern cutting, garment construction, and the history of costumes throughout the years. Students will also get the opportunity to work with professionals from the Royal Opera House on costumes featuring in new Royal Ballet and Royal Opera productions.
Students will be taught how to make costumes that are lightweight and flexible for Royal Ballet dancers to perform in, as well as create costumes that are made to last many years as productions may remain in the ROH repertory for up to four decades. They will also learn how to make a range of different styles of costumes from leotards for contemporary ballets, to historically accurate costumes for opera productions set in specific periods of history.
‘This course is a fantastic example of industry and higher education coming together to invest in young people, training them alongside the very best professionals in their field, and giving them skills that employers so desperately need,’ says Alex Beard, Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House. ‘The skills the students will learn on this course will give them the foundation to work not only in opera and ballet, but also in theatre, film or fashion, expanding the job opportunities even wider for the graduates.’
As well as hosting the Costume Construction course, the Bob and Tamar Manoukian Costume Centre will also be home to more than 20,000 Royal Opera House costumes and wigs, as well as historic costumes from the ROH Collection. The High House Production Park is also home to the ROH’s Bob and Tamar Manoukian Production Workshop, the Backstage Centre, and High House Artists’ Studios.
To find out more about the BA (Hons) Costume Construction degree, visit the South Essex College website.
The building of the Costume Centre is supported by Bob and Tamar Manoukian, European Regional Development Fund, Thurrock Borough Council, the Foyle Foundation, the Royal Opera House and South Essex College.