Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Theatre and the arts in Stratford, Ontario

costume warehouse
We love being creative every opportunity we get. Sometimes, we find the need for a little inspiration to spark our creative energy, and we got this when we went to see the play The Music Man, and took a tour of the Costume Warehouse during our time in Stratford and Perth County
costume warehouse
Costume Warehouse Tour in Stratford
This is the largest working costume warehouse dedicated to a single theatre in North America, where they design the costumes and props for the Stratford Festival. 
costume warehouse
During this one hour guided tour we got an insight into how costumes, shoes, and props for the plays are made. As we walked down the different aisles at the warehouse we saw thousands of costumes catalogued and kept for future plays. Their cataloguing system is fascinating; it is done by theme, colour, and size. 
costume warehouse
These props and costumes can be either rented or borrowed by other plays, schools, television shows, movies, and more. 
costume warehouse
We got to take a close look at how the cordwainer paid attention to the footwear to make it fit the character and the era, and more importantly how some footwear were custom made. For example, if someone was going to walk on their knees to look short, the custom designed shoe didn't go deep it is just tied to the knee, however for the audience it would look like a shoe. 

We also saw how they reinforced the shoes for safety so the actors would not slip or the heel wouldn't break. This rubber type of reinforcement doesn't make noise when the actors walk or scratch the stage floor. Next time, you go to watch a play at Stratford pay attention to see if you can hear the actors walking on stage. 
costume warehouse
The designing of the hats are also interesting. To keep the costs low, they use easy to find material and dye feathers and cloth to fit the colours they need at the warehouse. 
costume warehouse
There were plenty of furniture, old technology such as televisions and telephones from different time periods that they would use for different plays. It was interesting how organized and neat everything was kept to quickly find what they are looking for.
costume warehouse
These are the inner suits actors wear to get the body shape needed for the play. 
costume warehouse
Props are made with simple tools, which shows how creative these designers are. Look closely at the picture with the trophy and you will see that they have used plastic spoons on the bottom, and a pacifier on the top.
costume warehouse
Look at the corn and you will see it is built with pressed bubble wrap. This made us feel quite excited as we love doing crafts in our home and it gave us ideas on how we can use simple and easy to find material to do some creative crafts. We got to hold and feel some of the props or properties used in the theatre; we were surprised how light they felt, although it looked heavy. 
costume warehouse
We got to see some fun mechanisms which were used to make some of the props move.
costume warehouse
The actors have different versions of the same costume depending on the scene. For example, there is a clean costume and a distressed version of the same for a different scene.
costume warehouse
Seeing the costumes up close and getting a chance to try on a few at the end of the tour gave us a chance to experience how some of the costumes felt heavy and sweaty. We also got to see how some costumes were light and easy to put on and take off, which is important when the scenes change so quickly while we are all watching the stage.
costume warehouse
Getting to go through the guided tour of the warehouse, asking questions, and seeing things up close made us appreciate the hard work that is put into theatrical performances. By the end of the tour, our children got a chance to relate to school plays they have been part of, and understand how the professionals do it. This tour is a good way to encourage our children to gain more interest in subjects such as drama and art, which is part of STEAM education, as they get to see firsthand how the designers do this as a profession. This costume tour was definitely an inspiration for us to open our eyes to becoming more creative. We heard they also offer backstage tours, which would be quite fun to experience.
 stratford festival
Music Man 
Live theatrical performances unlike movies have a different atmosphere as it is an "in the moment" kind of fun which we enjoy. Six years ago we were at Stratford to see You're a good man Charlie Brown in the Avon Theatre, which was very exciting as our children were young and they loved it. After this experience with our children, we watched a couple of family friendly plays at Shaw Festival including the Magician's Nephew this spring. We were very excited we ended our summer vacation with the fabulous performance of the Music Man at the Stratford Festival Main theatre.

The Music Man is a story with twists and tunes based on Meredith Wilson's 1957 Broadway musical. It is about a charming, but fraudulent salesman, Harold Hill that arrives in River City, Iowa in 1912, to work his usual scam selling musical instruments and uniforms and convincing the towns people that he is turning the ragtag youth into a band. Marian Paroo, the librarian despite knowing Harold Hill's background falls in love with him. The storyline is very interesting for children and adults.  

The props, costumes, lighting, and quick changing scenes on stage was entertaining and beautiful. We were excited to see the "Wells Fargo wagon" coming to the stage. Overall, this musical love story was comical and a delight to watch. Although, The Music Man is 2 hours and 40 minutes including intermission, you won't feel the time flying by while watching this performance. The play will be performing till November 3rd so purchase your tickets and enjoy this family entertainment.  

All rights reserved on photographs and written content Createwithmom © 2010 - 2018. Please Ask First Disclosure: This post is in partnership with Tourism for Stratford and Perth County. Please note that all opinions and thoughts expressed are my own.

9 comments:

  1. Wow that is quite the warehouse!

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  2. What an interesting tour this would be. So many costumes and props. There is a ton of hard work behind every piece. Very interesting.

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  3. wow thats quite the collection they have of costumes

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  4. Wow so many costumes! Impressive!

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  5. We haven't been to stratford in so long. We recently went to Niagara-on-the-Lake to see a play and our son loved it.

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  6. This would be such a fun warehouse to explore.

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  7. oh wow does that place ever look cool! I actually used to go to Stratford all the time when we lived closer but have never been to that costume warehouse...i actually didn't even know they had a costume warehouse! so awesome. will keep it in mind next time we are in the area

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  8. Fascinating, never knew they had a costume tour there. (Judy Cowan)

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