Students from across Rose Bruford College have a wide array of placement options available to them. Let’s delve into Design for Theatre and Performance BA (Hons) student Olivia Davies’ experience working as a wardrobe assistant.

Olivia gained placement experience at Hope Mill Theatre in Manchester, a venue inspired by the highly regarded Off West End Theatres and small producing venues which dominated the London theatre scene.

Hope Mill Theatre officially opened its doors in November of 2015, and has become one of the most successful and reputable independent venues in England – winning Fringe Venue of The Year at The Stage awards in 2018.

Olivia also spent time with St Helens Theatre Royal, the theatre has a large capacity and stages many performances, including comedy, music, and drama and is perhaps best known for their Christmas pantomime.

Our thanks go to both venues for supporting these invaluable learning experiences for our students.

What is the most interesting thing you have learnt from your experience?

I learned the most about costume, specifically the way costumes are made and fitted for a show. The most interesting part of this for me was learning about practicalities, like quick changes. As a designer you most often think about the way a costume looks before the way it works, so to be able to see how costumes were so creatively adapted for quick changes and to be able to see them take place was especially interesting and exciting.

Has being on placement supported your studies?

Being on placement has definitely given me a better understanding of the way bringing together a show works practically in the industry, and the role of a designer in the wider context of collaboration with all the other creatives. It’s also shown me how ideas can develop and change, and that you must be adaptable at every stage of the process.

I’m grateful to have had this opportunity to be a part of the wonderful productions I worked on, and the experience I’ve gained from working in the industry has not only given me more skills and knowledge to take forward into my future design work, but it has also given me more confidence in myself as a designer and collaborator.