Costume designer Enid Jaques with her sketches for Hansel

Parksville costumer working for Opera Nanaimo

Jaques, a Parksville resident, said she’s doing something a little different with the witch’s costume this year

Enid Jaques’ lips are sealed when it comes to the witch’s costume for Opera Nanaimo’s production of Hansel and Gretel.

Jaques, a Parksville resident, said she’s doing something a little different with the witch’s costume this year, so it will be a surprise for anyone going to see Hansel and Gretel.

Hansel and Gretel, a Grimm’s fairytale, tells the adventure story of two mischievous children who find delicious treats and also discover a dark secret in the woods.

Jaques said this is her second production with Opera Nanaimo since its production of Amahl and the Night Visitors last December.

Jaques, who is originally from Saskatoon, said she got the job from her contact with Bard To Broadway.

“When we moved out here after doing many years of costume design in Saskatoon, I answered an ad in the paper for volunteers,” Jaques said of her job sewing for B2B.

A retired nurse, Jaques said she has always sewn, but was self-taught.

“Like everybody else, you start off sewing something quite simple in terms of clothing,” she said. “Then, of course, when our children came along, they were involved in a number of sports and one of them was riding, and riding outfits are very expensive, so I branched out into various kinds of sewing.”

She said the difference with every day sewing and sewing for theatre is there are no patterns.

“A lot of times when you’re sewing for theatre, you’re having to use your imagination, and the imagination of whoever is directing,” Jaques said. “Sometimes, they (the directors) have a very specific vision in mind and that’s great and then you get to work with that.”

Jaques said she sat down with the stage director and came up with some drawing. She said some of the costumes, such as Hansel and Gretel’s, stayed quite true to the renderings, while others didn’t.

“That’s one of the things too, you’re always changing your plans as you go,” Jaques said.

When it comes to costumes, Jaques said the performers need to be comfortable in their outfits.

“If you’ve got somebody who’s unhappy with their costume, they’re not going to go on stage and do the best that they can because it really influences how they feel about their character,” she said.

For example, Jaques said the Dew Fairy is being played by a Grade 10 student.

“The back of the dress was cut down to her waist,” Jaques said. I wasn’t going to ask her to do that. That’s not fair to anybody. This is not something she asked. This is something I am putting her in. The solution is we change the given piece into something that is going to make her comfortable.”

Jaques, who has been working on the costumes since mid-September, said she’s been fortunate with costuming for Hansel and Gretel since she was able to pull some stock from B2B productions. She said there are only seven principle characters and 14 members of the chorus.

“If I was working on a show that had multiple costume changes — I’ve done shows with up to 60 people. The Sound of Music, for example, you’ve usually got a cast of about 45 and everybody’s got seven costume changes,” she said.

Hansel and Gretel is running at the Nanaimo Ecumenical Centre (6234 Spartan Rd.) on Friday, Oct. 28 at

7:30 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 29 at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $28 for adults or $5 for children 16 and under. Tickets are available through the Port Theatre box office (125 Front St., Nanaimo) or by phone at 250-754-8550.

For more information on the show, visit www.operananaimo.com or call 250-758-5107.

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