7 common costume disasters in school shows and how to avoid them.

The best laid plans sometimes fail to deliver so you want to do all you can to ensure your school shows run smoothly.
Here’s a few costume mishaps that have occurred over the years in my school, some in school shows that we have filmed and even some in professional productions.

1. Black on Black

A common mistake. Those wonderfully chic black catsuits that looked great in the studio suddenly disappear against the black backdrop when you get to the dress rehearsal at the theatre. It’s too late to change the costumes so see if the black curtain can be drawn back to show the white cyc and light that with a colour wash. We once hired a black gorilla costume but forgot about the curtain so all the audience saw was a face mask dashing across the stage!

2. Scary hairfalse plait

Make sure that all hair pieces are firmly fixed with hair-grips. I saw a professional production of a ballet where the lead dancer lost her false ponytail right in the middle of the stage. There it lay for several minutes until one of the characters was able to sweep it up under his cloak.

3. Popping waistbands

Velcro is wonderful BUT don’t rely on it when a skirt originally made for a smaller child has to fit someone a tad larger. I remember watching a jolly character number dancing galops in a circle where one poor girl’s skirt was getting lower and lower to the point where she had to rush off stage. If only her mum had sewn on an extra hook and eye.

Mouse ears

What big ears you have!

4. Mouse ears
Years ago before the advent of wonderful companies like IDS, we had to make costumes for school shows.
Yes, mums that involved sewing! One year we had 8 white mice so I asked individual mothers to supply 8 pairs of mouse ears. Simple, but I never said how large.  We had dear little ears too small for even a real mouse and huge ears suitable for a horror version of Mickey Mouse. Moral of that story? Always issue very clear instructions or buy in your costumes in sets.

5. Sock it to ’em
Have spare socks as one dancer can ruin an otherwise immaculate line up by using the wrong colour socks or tights.

6. Getting hitched
Beautiful lacy embellishments can turn into a nightmare if two costumes get hooked up, as even the dancers on ‘Strictly’ have discovered. Wayne Sleep recently told a very funny story of how the two lead dancers in the Sleeping Beauty became hitched for the remainder of the pas de deux.

7. and finally -bra straps
Just get those seniors to check that leotard and bra straps are not going to pop under the strain in the middle of the can-can – very embarrassing! We’ve filmed it happening on a school show video but we’re much too kind to show you.

P.S. ….and  in a student/semi-professional performance of West Side Story, Anita’s zip flew wide open in the middle of  ‘Ameri-CA’. I was a Puerto Rican in the chorus and we spent the rest of the number dancing past her, trying to zip her up at the same time.

If you’ve got a few funny mishaps of your own please share them on our Facebook page.
The best ones will get a FREE ‘I’m a Wizard teacher’ mug!

Posted in: Show tips

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