Professional costume designers generally fall into three types: freelance, residential, and academic.
Freelance designers are hired for a specific production by a theatre, dance or opera company, and may or may not actually be local to the theatre they design for. A freelancer is traditionally paid in three instalments: Upon hire, on delivery of final renderings, and opening night of the production. Freelancers are not obligated to any exclusivity in what projects they work on, and may design for several productions concurrently.
A residential designer is hired by a specific theatre, dance or opera company for an extended series of productions. This can be as short as a summer stock contract, or may be for many years. A residential designer’s contract may limit the amounts of freelance work they are allowed to accept. Unlike the freelancer, a residential designer is consistently “on location” at the theater—at hand to work with costume studio and other collaborators. Residential designers tend to be more established than strict freelancers, but this is not always the case.
An academic designer is one who holds professorship at a school. The designer is primarily an instructor, but may also act as a residential designer to varying degrees. They are often free to freelance, as their schedule allows. In the past, professors of costume design were mostly experienced professionals that may or may not have had formal post-graduate education, but it has now become increasingly common to require a professor to have at least a Master of Fine Arts in order to teach.
I’ve retired early from UAF so the Theatre UAF Costume Shop Web presence Has Moved to the Theatre UAF Official Site!
Soon I will have a site up on the Diablo Valley College costume studio (once I clean up there and take photos).
Thinking of applying for my old job? Take the old tour of the The UAF Costume Shop HERE!and see more pages about Theatre UAF below…
- Costume Classes
- Links to Costume Shops on the WWW
- Theatre UAF Antique Costume Collection
- Costume Dyeing and Painting
- A Photo Essay on Costuming Shows at UAF
- The Secret History of the Graffiti Hall
- Shoelace The Costume Shop Cat
- Theatre UAF Social Life & Customs(inc. Monkey Balls)
- Makeup Policy for Actors
- Theatre UAF Actor Headshot Page
- Dale Seeds Scene Design Class Projects