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Wardrobe Internship on A Christmas Carol, Alexandra Palace Theatre

April 11, 2024

Aisha worked for seven weeks as the Masterclass Wardrobe Intern on A Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story, at the Alexandra Palace Theatre. We are very grateful to Eleanor Lloyd Productions for having made this opportunity possible. Aisha told us a bit about her experience on the show.

What tasks & responsibilities did you have as a Wardrobe Intern?

I had the opportunity to get a holistic experience of the responsibilities within the Wardrobe Department and how it collaborates with other departments to make a show run smoothly. This means that I had a wide variety of tasks and responsibilities, like setting costumes, performing quick changes, and making repairs and alterations. Due to the unpredictable nature of theatre, I was also able to take on new responsibilities and tasks, challenging me to promptly adopt a new efficient work pattern and approach. For example, I had the opportunity to cover the Wardrobe Assistant’s dressing track on a couple of occasions, as well as the Deputy Wardrobe’s track for a couple of other shows. Although this was a nerve-wracking experience as a Wardrobe Intern, I was entrusted with this challenge and adapted accordingly. I found myself being proud with the way I handled the newfound responsibility and was blown away by the positive feedback from Wardrobe colleagues and actors.

What was a typical day in the life of your internship like?

My mornings would always start with doing costume repairs and alterations that had been recorded the night before. This would include rips and tears, or loose fastenings. After placing the clean laundry in the dressing rooms, I would then make my way to the stage to do presets of the costumes, getting them ready for the start of Act I. During the show, I would collaborate with the Deputy Wardrobe to do quick changes, hang up costumes, and return them to their appropriate locations. At the interval of the show, costumes would be set for the next act, any immediate repairs or alterations would be made on stage before the 5-minute call, and shirts were put in the hotbox. At the end of the show, the costumes would be taken into dressing rooms. On a matinee day, this had to be a quick turn-around so we could have a break or quickly get any repairs done before the evening show. The day ended with a laundry call for all the actors, who had designated bags for underwear, mic belts, and gloves, so they could be washed and ready to be set in dressing rooms again the next morning.

What are some of the lessons you learned over the course of your internship?

I learned to trust my intuition. The nature of the job required me to think on the spot at times and prioritise. I learned to adjust to sometimes hectic environments, be observant of the movement of actors and other departments, and rely on good collaboration to ensure everyone could work to their best and find the ideal way of operating. I also learned a lot about prioritisation and organization: hanging is not JUST hanging, it’s prioritisation at its peak; baskets will be your best friend and it will be like tetris! Luckily, I love to organise, so figuring out the best way for flow of movement and space, or designing a lot of labels and lists to be temporarily stuck on the walls and floors to increase efficiency was really satisfying.

What processes or tools did you use to make the most of your internship and learn as much as possible?

As a dyslexic thinker, preparation is essential for me to get the most out of an experience. Before I started the job, I constructed a document with outlined headings of my personal learning objectives and pending questions. Throughout the internship, I logged my learnings and experiences that answered these questions under the appropriate heading. This helped me in articulating my experiences in the moment, which was important for me. I communicated with my team about the modes of recording information that best cater to my learning needs, such as having tasks modelled to me for accuracy, employing recording methods to retain information, and relying on clear notes. Masterclass made me feel like I had another team of support by helping communicate my learning needs to the relevant people when I got this position, and this made me feel welcomed and ready to start the internship with confidence! The wardrobe team were also always ready to answer any questions I had. Thanks to the dynamic nature of theatre, I achieved my original aims and more. I was always challenged and got to see myself do things I didn’t think I was capable of doing!

What’s next for you?

I’m soon to start as a dresser on ‘Guys and Dolls’ at The Bridge Theatre!

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