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Alabama Shakespeare Festival Opens Costume Parade Outdoor Exhibit

The exhibit pays tribute to the artistry and craft that go into bringing characters to life at a professional producing theater.

Alabama Shakespeare Festival Opens Costume Parade Outdoor Exhibit

As spring nears and the Alabama outdoors enter their dressiest season, Alabama Shakespeare Festival is dressing up its grounds - and windows - with Costume Parade. A safe, interactive fun, and enriching outdoor installation, Costume Parade looks at more than a decade of costumes that have graced ASF's stages. It pays tribute to the artistry and craft that go into bringing characters to life at a professional producing theater.

The term "costume parade" refers to a costume designer and director's first opportunity to see all the costumes on actors in relation to each other at the same time before a production opens. But before these costumes make it to the stage, dozens of hands and myriad talents touch each garment and its accompanying accessories.

ASF Artistic Director Rick Dildine and Director of Costume Production Jeffrey Todhunter collaborated to curate the Costume Parade exhibit.

"As a professional producing theater, nearly everything you see on our stages is made by hand right here in our shops," said Dildine. "The designs we've featured here represent work by incredible designers, artisans and skilled craftspeople who've worked in professional theaters all over the country - even the world. It's truly a wonder that visitors can see work of this caliber and learn about careers in theatre arts right here in Montgomery, Alabama, and we wanted to share that with Costume Parade."

The designs featured in Costume Parade span some dozen years of ASF production history and include costumes from nearly as many periods in history. "From the diaphanous fairy costumes of A Midsummer Night's Dream, to the WWII military uniforms and kit of All Is Calm, to the Harlem Renaissance finery of Ain't Misbehavin', these costumes, alone, represent more than a hundred thousand hours of work," said Todhunter.

Each person who had a part in creating these costumes - costume designers, costume shop supervisors, cutter/drapers, costume crafts artisans, stitchers, first hands, wig/makeup supervisors, and wig/makeup assistants - learned and honed their crafts over years of work. Costume Parade offers visitors the opportunity to see and appreciate the work of these talented professionals.

The installation features 13 outdoor panels on ASF's lawn. Each panel includes information about the production's costumes, notes from the costume designer, and renderings and photography of the designs and completed costumes. Additionally, visitors can peek inside the ASF lobby windows to see some of the actual costumes on display.

Costume Parade opens Friday, March 12. More information is available at

Costume Parade is generously sponsored by The J.K. Lowder Family Foundation and Alabama State Council on the Arts.

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