Conference Report: USITT-Southeast at UNC-Greensboro

This past weekend, several of us from the costume production graduate program here at UNC-Chapel Hill attended the regional academic conference for USITT-Southeast, hosted by our sister school in the state university system, UNC-Greensboro. Our faculty and alumni provided significant contributions to the costume track of programming.

A costume on display in the UNC-Greensboro costume facility

Our new costume director, Triffin Morris, taught a master class on various methods to employ for on-stage quick changes (such as the Witch transformation in Into the Woods, the spinning rags-to-riches change in Cinderella, or the instantaneous dress change for multiple dancers onstage in Margaritaville). Triffin had a couple of example garments from her collection and had also created some functional quick change costumes for a doll to illustrate the methodology of different rigging.

Sample crown for the workshop, made by Candy McClernan with Wonderflex PRO

Alumna Candy McClernan, now the creative director at Wonderflex World, gave a hands-on workshop on the new thermoplastic product Wonderflex PRO. Fifteen participants created crowns, diadems, and tiaras using push molds and the new heat-activated medium. Candy also had a vending booth at the registration area with free sample packs of Wonderflex, Wonderflex PRO, and Fosshape  for conference attendees.

A selection of the restored parasols I took to show the audience at my lecture

And, I gave a lecture on the history of parasols, and methods for recovering or restoring antique frames. I've done this presentation at the regional conference before, perhaps five years ago when we hosted the event here at UNC-Chapel Hill. My lecture was completely full--the enthusiastic audience filled every seat in the room! I gave a brief overview of the information to be found in my book, Sticks in Petticoats: Parasol Manufacture for the Modern Costumer. (It's on sale right now at 30% off from Lulu, and is also available as a digital download.)

Erin Rodgers explains her poster to the jurors

The culmination of the conference, though, for our graduate program, was the adjudication of the tech expo, in which two of our graduate students won awards! Second-year grad Erin Rodgers presented a conference poster on the ecclesiastical millinery for the recent PlayMakers Repertory Company production of Galileo, and third-year grad Cami Huebert's display discussed the draping/drafting process for two doublets in last season's opener, Sherwood. Both students were able to display the actual garments and hats on dress forms and head forms alongside their posters, as well.

The USITT-SE regional chapter will sponsor these two students' attendance to the national conference this spring, for which they receive complimentary admission.

Congratulations, Cami and Erin!


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