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Costume Design

In a Costume Design presentation, the Thespian must prepare and present designs for a set of five costumes for a published work written for the theatre. Designs for performances of original work, poetry, fiction, screenplays, television, or any other medium are not permitted. Only one Thespian may be involved in the design. No collaborations are permitted. Designs for either theoretical or realized productions are acceptable.

The skills measured by the adjudicators during the presentation are:

  • Ability to demonstrate an understanding of the costume design process
  • Ability to demonstrate an understanding of the artistic, functional, and practical constraints that impact design and the relationship to a unifying concept
  • Ability to research and understand the connection between style, period, locale, genre, and other historical and cultural influences on design choices
  • Ability to document, present, and clearly explain and justify design choices

In a Costume Design presentation, the Thespian must follow the aforementioned rules for the International Thespian Excellence Awards as presented in this guide, and also the following rules specific to this category:

The Thespian must prepare:

  1. Five costume renderings (either five different characters or a single character through five changes).
    • No more than five costume renderings will be permitted.
    • No finished costumes are permitted.
    • Renderings should be at least 8 inches tall and must be in full color; large and detailed enough for the adjudicators to easily understand the design choices (whether in person or digitally).
    • Renderings may be presented on a display board or in a portfolio (bound or digital). The board or portfolio page should be clearly and neatly labeled with a title block that contains the following information:
      • Play or musical title and author(s)/composer(s)
      • Performance dates and facility in which it took place (if applicable)
      • Character’s name, act, and scene
      • Entrant’s name and troupe number (optional)
    • Template or traced character forms are permitted.
    • Renderings may be hand-drawn or computer-generated.
    • Swatches must be included.
  2. A portfolio of support materials (bound or digital) that must include the following:
    • One-page design statement that includes:
      • Unifying production design concept
      • Theme of the show/recurring motifs
    • Research, including:
      • Summary of given circumstances from the script
      • Functionality requirements
      • Genre, locale, and setting of the play (or other explanation of the world of the play)
      • Artistic and practical needs that impact the construction
      • Sources of inspiration for design and color palette (if used)
    • Budgetary requirements or other constraints and considerations
    • Preliminary sketches
    • Costume plot for the chosen character(s), showing costume changes and indicating when costume changes happen
  3. A five- to eight-minute in-person or digital presentation summarizing the work with connections to concept, collaboration, and design decision-making. Digital media may be used during an in-person presentation as well (participant must provide their own equipment).
    • The video component may be a webinar-style presentation (i.e., a voiceover during a PowerPoint slideshow) or a talking head-style presentation (i.e., talking to the camera).
    • Suggested standard prompts for all technical categories are provided to help guide the content of a video presentation:
      • What are some of your responsibilities as a costume designer?
      • How did the director's concept influence your designs?
      • How did the style of the play affect your designs?
      • If the show was realized, did you struggle in unifying the director's concept across all areas of design?
      • If you had more time or resources, what would you change?
      • What would you be willing to compromise in your design if you had to?
      • What was your inspiration and how did you research it?
    • Also consider these category-specific questions:
      • Describe your collaborative design process (e.g., with your design team or director)
      • What role(s) did the other design elements play in designing the costumes for this production?
      • What challenges did you face due to other design elements of the production?
      • Do you think your designs helped to support the actor’s/director’s choices?
    • Any video presentation must display the work so that the adjudicators can see the details. If the details of the documents/photos referenced in your presentation cannot be clearly seen in the video, they should be included in your portfolio of support materials.
  4. An optional written essay response to share additional information about the costume design with the adjudicators.

 

Costume Design Rubric

PRESENTATION

Explanation of the executed design, unifying concept, creative decisions, and process

Superior
Above Standard

Presentation thoroughly explains the functional and aesthetic role of the executed design and the creative process, demonstrating an in depth understanding of their contribution to the unifying concept.

Excellent
At standard

Presentation explains the functional and aesthetic role of the executed design, and the creative process, demonstrating an understanding of their contribution to the unifying concept.

Good
Near Standard

Presentation offers a limited explanation of the functional and aesthetic role of the executed design and/or creative process, demonstrating a partial understanding of their contribution to the unifying concept. 

Fair
Aspiring to Standard

Presentation offers little or no explanation of the creative process and/or fails to explain the executed design and their contribution.


RESEARCH

Evidence of research of the given circumstances of the script as well as artistic and practical needs which impact the design.  

Superior
Above Standard

Comprehensive and detailed research addresses the artistic and practical needs of the production and illuminates the unifying concept.

Excellent
At standard

Thorough research addresses the artistic and practical needs of the production and aligns with the unifying concept.

Good
Near Standard

Limited research partially addresses the artistic and practical needs of the production and/or inconsistently supports the unifying concept.

Fair
Aspiring to Standard

Research fails to address the artistic and practical needs of the production and/or lacks alignment with the unifying concept.


INTERPRETATION

Design choices merge the unifying concept with the designer’s unique vision.

Superior
Above Standard

Design choices powerfully enhance and communicate the mood, style, period, locale, and genre of the play, and demonstrate a unique voice.   

Excellent
At standard

Design choices communicate the mood, style, period, locale, and genre of the play and align with the given circumstances.

Good
Near Standard

Design choices partially communicate the mood, style, period, locale, and genre of the play and do not distract from the given circumstances.

Fair
Aspiring to Standard

Design choices fail to communicate the mood, style, period, locale, and genre of the play; choices may or may not support the given circumstances.


DESIGN JUSTIFICATION

Connecting the design choices to the artistic and practical needs of the production.

Superior
Above Standard

Comprehensive explanations justify the design choices, illuminating the connection between the artistic and practical needs of the production.

Excellent
At standard

Appropriate explanations justify the design choices and demonstrate the connection with the artistic and practical needs of the production.

Good
Near Standard

Partial explanations somewhat connect the design choices with the artistic and practical needs of the production.  

Fair
Aspiring to Standard

Limited explanations fail to make the connection between the design choices and the artistic and practical needs of the production. 


EXECUTION

Products presented convey ideas and choices that support the script and unifying concept.

Superior
Above Standard

Detailed products communicate and enhance artistic ideas and choices to provide exceptional support for the script and unifying concept. 

Excellent
At standard

Products communicate artistic ideas and choices that support the script and unifying concept.

Good
Near Standard

Products partially communicate artistic ideas and choices and/or inconsistently support the script and unifying concept.

Fair
Aspiring to Standard

Products lack a clear focus and/or fail to support the artistic ideas and choices, script and/or unifying concept.

 

Download All Rubrics (PDF)