Can I use textile skills to work in theatre?

I am studying for an MA in Art, specialising in textiles. I love making things and turning ideas into reality.

I have a strong interest in theatre and was wondering if I could use my skills to be, for example, a set, prop or costume maker? 

What steps should I take?

— Beth

Expert answers

Corinne Kilvington 's reply:

Absolutely! Those are transferable skills that's could be applied to wardrobe, set or props.

You'll need to find a producing house or company (so a place that creates it's own productions) as opposed to a receiving one (where productions visit). They are the ones likely to have departments where you might ply your trade.

It might be that you have more luck offering your work on a freelance basis than securing a full-time position. So have a look at how to register as self-employed for this type of work.

As always, work experience is really important. Can a local venue offer you a couple of weeks' placement or an internship? Try and arrange meetings and have your portfolio and CV up to date. Maybe create a simple website you can send people links to so they can see your work. You could also look at a local amateur dramatics company to apply your skills to a new environment. 

I would suggest designing and creating some pieces with theatre in mind, such as a specific play to demonstrate that your designs work in context of a show and take into account the practical nature of things in theatre. Can actors move in them, for example? This might be something you can do with a local amateur dramatics group, then some of your material cost can be met.

It's not likely to be a 'quick fix' transfer, but it's totally doable. Hope that helps!

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