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No calm this Christmas for Bishop Auckland costume designer

Published December 06, 2017 11.24am

The run-up to Christmas is a busy time for everyone, but for Bishop Auckland's Emily Baxendale it's even more hectic than usual.

Robinson Crusoe costumes

Paul Dunn as Dame Connie Crusoe

Emily, who was born and lives in the town, has spent the last few months designing and making the costumes for Robinson Crusoe, this year's pantomime at the Gala Theatre.

Every panto needs a dame - and every dame needs a variety of flamboyant dresses - something Emily particularly enjoyed working on.

Wacky and wonderful

"Making those costumes was particularly fun as it gave me the freedom to really use my imagination. Her outfits need to be wacky, which makes them fun to create," she said.

"One of the trickier things was actually adapting a moustache for one of the cast that was comfortable to wear and realistic, but easily removed, while dying some of the polyester fabrics to the right shade also proved to be quite difficult."

Emily first became interested in costume design while studying for her A levels and went on to get a degree in Costume Design and Making at university.

While she has worked on a wide range of productions, including Kynren, pantomimes are something she finds even more special.

"I feel that they have a different atmosphere to normal productions - although it's hard work for everyone there is a real sense of fun. The team seems to come together more," she said.

No time to rest

More than 28,000 tickets have already been sold for this year's show and the run is now well underway, but that doesn't mean Emily gets a chance to rest.

"During the run there are inevitably occasional repairs to be done, and sometimes minor alterations, additions or replacements," she said.

"As well as being the costume designer, I am also separately employed as dresser during the run, which includes doing a lot of washing and ironing each day after each performance!"

To see the wonderful costumes for yourself, visit Gala's website or call the box office on 03000 266 600 to book tickets for the show which runs from now until Saturday, 6 January.


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