Behind the Curtain: Interview With Tess Weaver - Wardrobe Supervisor for the MY FAIR LADY National Tour

By: Jul. 08, 2020
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Behind the Curtain: Interview With Tess Weaver - Wardrobe Supervisor for the MY FAIR LADY National Tour

Due to the global health emergency, Broadway theaters have found their bright lights dimmed and their houses dark for the first time in history. As the world works together to stop the spread of COVID-19, the theater industry has been put on hold indefinitely - theaters around the world have closed their doors in compliance with social distancing rules, and Broadway has been shut down in full since March 13. The Broadway shutdown has impacted the lives of all who work in theater industry, who are now facing uncertain and unprecedented circumstances.

In our Behind the Curtain interview series, we are speaking with Broadway musicians, stage managers, ushers, bartenders, and more, talking about how they are handling the current circumstances, and discussing the impact that the shutdown has had on the Broadway community.

Today, our Behind the Curtain interview is with Tess Weaver, the Wardrobe Supervisor for the My Fair Lady national tour.

What is your job title? Tell me about what you do within the theater industry and how long you've been doing it for.

Wardrobe Supervisor, My Fair Lady national tour. My Fair Lady is my fifth supervising contract - I first started as an Assistant Wardrobe Supervisor working with Darrell Wagner, on the national tour of Annie after years of working with IATSE in film and commercials. I have since traveled around the US and Asia and have learned and evolved as a person and Supervisor so very much, my goodness!

What were you working on when the shutdown was put in place?

Our company was in the midst of a week of shows working with a fabulously kind and skilled local crew out of Columbus, OH.

What has communication been like since the shutdown with the people you were working with? Have you continued to maintain contact with them?

Our company has provided communication along with support and resources throughout the COVID-19 crisis. I am also in a pretty constant meme communication with the Ascot Hat Department, aka Hair and Wardrobe, which currently has representation across the USA from Alaska to Florida and everywhere in between!

How do you feel that people in the theater community have come together during this time?

I feel a sense of support and encouragement towards each other and appreciate the camaraderie as well as great resources and realism on social media amongst colleagues and friends. For example, a lot of my friends have moved back in with parents/family members and we just count our blessings, relate to each other, vent, laugh, cry, but also keep our perspective, send letters, care packages, and again a lot of memes! What would we do without memes?!

What ways have you found to best deal with the current circumstances?

I really work to stay as positive as possible, but also allow myself to feel and take time to sit with my feelings during hardships.

I'm grateful for this time to work on my self-growth, health and wellness- investing in mental and physical health, restoring and reflecting. I'm also incredibly grateful to use my voice during this season away from work to dive deep into advocacy efforts close to my heart- namely, equality for all, Black Lives Matter, open conversations about mental health through support, community resources for the hungry and homeless, as well as cosmetics safety reform in the US.

How do you think this will change the world of theater going forward?

It will definitely be interesting, but a worthy evolvement- and in my experience, tour life is all about constantly adapting. I have always done my best to lead with keeping safety and cleanliness at the forefront alongside being as environmentally friendly as possible in the department. I don't believe in ever cutting corners when it comes to the hygiene and the safety of our company.

Do you have anything else you would like to share?

I miss and adore the Broadway community dearly. If you are reading this and are someone who knows me - know I feel fortunate to work alongside you and look forward to working with you and learning from you again!

If you are reading this and are yet to meet me as a local or future fellow company member- know I can't wait to meet you and learn from you!

Let's take care of ourselves and each other and get this show on the road!