Former College Student Takes Next Steps as Costume Maker

Image: Chanel in the Running Wardrobe team at the RSC’s The Other Place venue (photo by Danny Evans © RSC)

Former Bradford College student Chanel de Angelis is flourishing after gaining a place on the talent development programme at the world-famous Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC). Chanel, who completed a Level 3 Art & Design course at the College in 2018, is now studying to be a costume maker and working with costumes for the upcoming RSC ‘Mischief Festival.’

Chanel knew she wanted a career in costume but had few opportunities to explore it. She said: “I was almost discouraged from the arts at school and pushed towards the sciences more, because that’s where the good jobs would be.”

Her tutor heard about the RSC Next Generation programme and put Chanel forward for it. Each year, Next Generation Backstage gives gifted young people from communities that experience structural disadvantage the opportunity to gain experience and explore whether a career in the theatre is for them.

Chanel was accepted onto the programme and found herself working with peers to stage a scene from Twelfth Night. The group was given a brief by the director before sourcing costumes from the Costume Store, measuring and fitting actors, making embellishments, and carrying out alterations.

“It was really wonderful! It was my first moment of creative freedom with a costume. I got to try my own vision,” Chanel continued.

After studying Art and Design at Bradford College, Chanel applied to study Costume with Textiles at the University of Huddersfield. She is currently working as part of the Running Wardrobe team at The Other Place venue on two plays for this year’s RSC Mischief Festival: O, Island! and Ivy Tiller: Vicar’s Daughter, Squirrel Killer.

The job involves maintaining and laundering all the costumes for the show, making sure actors feel comfortable in their costumes, making any alterations required and helping actors with quick changes during a show. The team also uses detailed paperwork to document all costumes and changes throughout the show.

Chanel said: “You have to be really on top of it – it’s so easy to miss something, like an earring or a badge. And you have to keep up with any changes that are made to the production that affect the costumes and make sure they are all recorded.”

Mike Tipping, Bradford School of Art Course Leader for the Level 3 Art & Design (Creative Practice) Diploma, said:
“The Level 3 Art & Design course at Bradford School of Art is designed to nurture creativity in young students, and also explore the wide range of employment opportunities within the creative sector. When Chanel joined the course in 2018, it was clear from the outset that she had the drive and determination to succeed in industry. It is no surprise to learn that she is now working with the acclaimed costume team at the RSC.” 

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