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Costume in Action

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Research Symposium 3 : The Agency of Costume in Society

Wed 11 Sept 11.30 - 13.00
Studio 1

Research Symposium 3 : The Agency of Costume in Society

Papers presented here are from designers, theatre makers and academics whose idea of costume expands beyond the performance to embrace therapeutic purposes, educational approaches and ways to bind generations together in social dance.

1. Melissa Trimingham: Autism: Audience and Agency

Melissa Trimingham is a co-investigator in the AHRC funded project ‘Imagining Autism: Drama, Performance and Intermediality as Interventions for Autistic Spectrum Condition’. Here she describes how autistic children play within the specially built, sensory immersive environments using loose iterative narrative strands of drama: costume becomes a vital material form in direct contact with the body; a driver of action; a material anchor for thought and creativity; an instrument of agency and a conduit for change- for both practitioner and child.

2. Sofia Pantouvaki: Performance Design Generating Interaction

Results from the Greek National Opera Research Project “Interactive Opera at Primary Schools” Professor Sofia Pantouvaki presents the first collective results of the implementation of the Greek National Opera artistic research project “Interactive Opera at Primary Schools” (May 2012 – June 2013). The project included educational interactive activities through the scenography and costume design of the opera The Barber of Seville, which were integrated in the design of the actual performances on stage. This preliminary evaluation provided evidence of the wide potential for artistic expression as well as the social and educational benefits of children’s creative engagement with performance design.

3. Ramon Ivars: Together but not the same

Flamenco’s role in society transformed when it moved to the stage, becoming established as leisurely entertainment for the ‘elite’ across generations, thus alienating itself from its own roots. This illustrated presentation is about the substantial differences between what almost the whole world understands as Flamenco (Spanish dance) and the real Flamenco and how costume reflects this difference. The interesting exchange between gypsy traditions and the Andalusian/Arabian folklore generates a really specific and rich way to communicate ‘authenticity’ through the dancing, costumed body.

Chair: Donatella Barbieri

Price: £6

Image: Photograph by Victor Moreno


Key contributors

Dr. Melissa Trimingham

Dr Melissa Trimingham, BA Oxon, PGCE, PhD, is a Senior Lecturer in Drama at the University of Kent. Her research and teaching interests are contemporary performance, puppetry, and applied theatre. She has published on the methodology of practice as research, the Bauhaus stage andthe use of puppetry with autistic children. She is Co-Investigator on the AHRC project ‘Imagining Autism: Drama, Performance and Intermediality as Interventions for Autistic Spectrum Conditions’ (2011-2014). She is co-author with Donatella Barbieri, Fellow in Costume at the V&A, of a forthcoming book on costume published by Bloomsbury in conjunction with the V&A.

Dr. Sofia Pantouvaki

Sofia Pantouvaki, Ph.D., is a scenographer and Professor of Costume Design at Aalto University, Finland. Her design credits include over 60 theatre, opera and dance productions in Greece, Italy, UK, Cyprus and Finland. Her research comprises The effects of theatrical storytelling and scenography on children: The case of children’s theatre in the ghetto of Terezín. Co-author of History of Dress – The Western World and Greece (2010) and co-editor of Presence and Absence: The Performing Body (in press), Sofia has taught, lectured and published internationally.

Ramon Ivars

Ramón B. Ivars has been working since 1972 as a set and costume designer for ballet, opera and drama and as a director for the stage, TV and film over Europe.  Recently he designed sets and costumes for ‘The magic flute’ in Barcelona and is now working on a new project for a play at TNC (Catalan National Theatre)

Catalan National Theatre Award 1982.Designer of the opening and closing ceremonies of the Paralympics Games in Barcelona 1992. At the present he is Professor of Scenography and Costume Design at the Institut del Teatre in Barcelona.

In 2007 he was awarded, as Spanish National Curator at the Prague Quadrennial with the Honor Diploma of Theatre Architecture and in 2011 he was the Spanish National Curator again.

Donatella Barbieri

Donatella Barbieri is Senior Research Fellow in Design for Performance, at London College of Fashion and at the V&A, having previously established the ground-breaking MA Costume Design at LCF.  Donatella is a scenographer, costume-based performance maker and a published author. Her frustration at the lack of discourse in the area of costume has led her to dedicate her work to the advancement of practice and research in this area.  She has curated exhibitions, series of events such as Costume in Action, and is currently in the process of establishing a new peer-reviewed research journal, ‘Studies in Costume and Performance’.