Design Talks Night: Aoife Monks
Thinking Through Costume - This talk considers the various ways we can think about costume - and asks what forms of thought come out of the work of costume-making
I will offer some of the approaches I have taken to thinking about costume in my work – as a focal point in the relationship between the audience and actors onstage, as a means for actors to prepare for their performance in rehearsal, and as the ‘glue’ that connects a range of workers together backstage at the theatre.
Most recently, my thinking has turned to the question of craft. Drawing on my current exhibition and book project with the costume department of the National Theatre in London, I ask what craftwork actually means for the people who do it. I consider latex bodysuits, scissors, button-holes, linings, mud, thimbles, bootlaces and body padding, in order to ask what forms of thinking and knowledge emerge from costume work backstage.
Dr Aoife Monks is Reader in Theatre and Performance Studies at Queen Mary University of London. She is the author of three books on costume: The Actor in Costume (2010), Costume: Readings in Theatre Practice (2014, with the costume designer Ali Maclaurin), and Costume at the National Theatre (2019), which accompanies her major exhibition on the work of the Costume Department at the National Theatre in London. She is Director of Research for the Department of Drama at Queen Mary University of London and is currently working on a book on the role of craft in popular Irish performance.