Costumes and hats to shine at H.M.S Pinafore

From left, Celia Wesselman made the majority of the costumes for Echo Players’ H.M.S. Pinafore while Yvette Toombs made the hats. The musical opens Feb. 14 at the Village Theatre. - Lissa Alexander photo
From left, Celia Wesselman made the majority of the costumes for Echo Players’ H.M.S. Pinafore while Yvette Toombs made the hats. The musical opens Feb. 14 at the Village Theatre.
— image credit: Lissa Alexander photo

There’s a 40-foot rule in the theatre: if you can’t see something from 40 feet away then it doesn’t exist.

Celia Wesselman had this rule in mind when she designed and sewed 25 period costumes for Echo Player’s H.M.S. Pinafore, opening Feb. 14 at the Village Theatre.

Wesselman said many of her ideas took shape whilst she was working on them.

“It’s like a sculptor I guess,” she said. “They have an idea of what they want and then they start working with clay or stone the result comes out. And if  you're lucky it’s exactly what you want.”

Wesselman found many of the drapery fabrics she used for the costumes in Vancouver. A few of the outfits were deconstructed from existing costumes, and then reconstructed, and many began as an idea in Wesseslman’s head.

The costumes are bright yellows, mustards, creams and blues, with sailor outfits adorned with gold buttons and shiny, elaborate dresses with bustles, pleats and lace. Colourful old fashioned parasols were also created and one hundred and fifty textured buttons were needed, and bought in Arizona.

The work came with its share of challenges and Wesselman was up many a late night for the past two months, working throughout the days.

Yvette Toombs is no stranger to the work, as she has been a dressmaker for Echo Players for many years, and for this production made all the ladies hats, as well as assisted in some of the costume making.

Making the hats proved to be no easy task as Toombs had to use a piece of fabric from each dress and couldn’t include any brims. This was so the actors didn’t have shadows on their faces. Toombs created the whimsical designs with feathers, flowers, ribbons and pieces of other hats.

Creating the costumes for Echo Players is a passion for both women, who say it’s all worth it when the show begins.

“The feedback is amazing, when I sit back in the audience when the production starts and it looks so together and it looks how I wanted it to look, that's the feedback,” said Wesselman.

“That’s your payment,” Toombs agreed.

Tickets for the play are $21, $18 for seniors and $10 for students. Stop by the box office in Qualicum Beach during office hours at 110 West 2nd Ave, or call 250-752-3522 or email info@echoplayers.ca.

Visit www.echoplayers.ca for more information.




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