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Costume in Action

Categories: Costume in Action

Research Symposium 5: Costume, Culture and Calendar celebration: Carnival and the body; Chaired by Lilja Blumenfeld

Thurs 13 Sept 11.30 - 13.00
Studio 1

Research Symposium 5: Costume, Culture and Calendar celebration: Carnival and the body; Chaired by Lilja Blumenfeld

This symposium looked specifically at calendar celebrations from Brazil and Europe and how these are experienced and embodied by costume in the performance of the event and of the culture.

1. Fausto Viana: Maracatu and Fogaréu: ritual, costume and mise-en-scène

These are two celebrations from the countryside of Brazil that use ancient costumes as a very important part of the performance. Maracatu is an afro-Brazilian party, a celebration that started with the presence of black African slaves in Brazil in the 18th Century. The Fogaréu carries out the white Catholic tradition of Europe, especially Portugal and Spain in the Middle Ages. The performers celebrate rituals from different nations, but both produce energies that are based on the power of people. We  showed how important costumes are in those celebrations.

2. Rosane Muniz: Carnival: Typical Brazilian Dramatic culture?

This presentation proposed an analysis of a national identity perceived on the theatre costumes and some questions, as ‘Is it still possible to have a national identity on dramatic costumes?’ and ‘Can the Carnival be the “symbol” of Brazilians’ costumes for drama?’ Passing through the significance of Brazilians’ Carnival costume, a reflection about regional folk and drama costumes was discussed.

3. Emma Thatcher: The Constance Fasnacht costumes and their importance for the cultural identity of the community and of the wearer

Inspired by Axel Hoedt’s photographic tour of Southern Germany in 2008, costume designer Emma Thatcher travels to Constance to analyse and experience the performance of the costumed body and of the cultural event. There she finds in the town squares opposites of celebration and melancholia, release and restriction, self-expression and conformity, co-existing in a timeless street dance.

Chair: Liljia Blumenfeld

Price: £6

Image: Fasnacht costume by photographer Axel Hoedt from     his tour of Southern Germany in 2008.

Key contributors

Professor Fausto Viana

Professor FaustoViana is a set and costume design professor at the School of Communication and Arts at São Paulo University (USP). He got his BA in Drama at USP (1992), his master (2000) and doctoral degree (2004) also at USP, all of them focusing on the creation of costumes. He has published Theatre costume: scenic revolutions of the 20th century, where he analyses the proposals of AdolpheAppia, Gordon Craig, Antonin Artaud, Kostantin Stanislavsky, Max Reinhardt, Bertolt Brecht and Ariane Mnouchkine. He has also published a few other books on costumes and set design. He received an additional doctoral degree in Museology (2010), at the Lusófona University of Humanities and Technologies, in Portugal. He was in charge of the Brazilian Schools of Scenography Exhibition in PQ’11.

Rosane Muniz

Rosane Muniz holds a master in Scenic Arts at the São Paulo University (USP), where she is also completing her doctoral degree. She is currently investigating the possibilities of costumes’ cultural identity and the Brazilian costume designers’ processes of creation. She is author of Wearing the Nude: Costume on Stage (2004), and co-author of Schools’ Diary - scenography PQ’11 (2011) and Researchers’ Diary – costume (2012). She was in charge of the Brazilian Extreme Costume exhibition and did the research for the award-winning Brazilian National Exhibition at PQ’11. Muniz’s trajectory in theatre and performance includes acting, producing and designing costume.

Emma Thatcher

Emma Thatcher is a theatre designer who works in sculpture and has a background in fine art. Recent work includes ‘The Dolls House’ at the Arcola Theatre nominated for Best Set Design 2010, and set and costume design for ‘What Lovely Weather’ by Andre Breton at The Barbican part of the Surreal House Exhibition. Her art work has also been featured in galleries and commissioned for fashion magazines. Her travels in search of costume as a meaningful agent in society have taken her to Cambodia for a cultural exchange around craft, and to southern Germany for a costume-based field study of carnival.


Liljia Blumenfeld

Lilja Blumenfeld, renowned Estonian scenographer has won several domestic and international awards. Her designs for Shakespeare include The Winter’s Tale (2000, Annual Theatre Award) and Hamlet (2005 Drama Festival Award). Her recent work includes Yerma (2006, UK), Richard III (2009), and Rinaldo (2011). She completed MA Scenography at CSM College of Art and Design, London in 1996. She is currently a Professor and Head of Scenography at EAA, Tallinn. Her designs as have been exhibited at the PQ since 1995 and at the WSD in 2005. She has taught in UK, Switzerland, and Canada and written articles on scenography.