The actual process of costume design takes about a month and fabrication usually takes about 3 months or so– depending on the number of puppets for a specific show. For this one, I designed for Jack, John, Mom, Silas, Belle and Clarence. If a show has more puppets, like Cinderella, a team of costumers will usually assist me.

Initially, the script will be ready to review about a year prior to the show opening. Many details are given to consider – such as time period, style of show, desired looks for characters, colors, hairstyles and accessories (hats, belts, shoes). We have regular production meetings to make sure everyone’s on track as the show develops.

So, I begin to research. Much time is spent on the web and reviewing books at the public library. It’s not uncommon to find me sitting on the floor in the reference section – making quick sketches and notes! I also watch movies that relate to the time period and style. Then designs are drawn up and adjustments made for final approval.

After the marionettes are made, they’re handed over to me according to scheduled deadlines. Fabrics and trims will have been purchased. Any assistants needed would’ve been determined. Ample time has to be given to successfully complete the project – including changes or do-overs!

In Jack and The Beanstalk, you’ll see the obvious early medieval era – with my whimsical touch in the use of contemporary fabrics and trims. Since this particular show had mostly characters that lived a simple, peasant life, the drawings will depict such. Costume colors were decided early on after we locked in on the “cartoon” style for this show.

NEXT: Puppet details