Costuming - The Nutcracker
We are privileged to have Desmond Heeley, one of the entertainment world’s legendary designers, as part of The Nutcracker’s creative team. Now resident in New York, Desmond has been precluded by illness from making the journey to Australia to see his costume designs worn by our Queensland Ballet dancers. However, he was happy to let Noelene Hill, our Resident Designer and Wardrobe Production Manager, interpret his work and ensure that The Nutcracker’s many, richly-detailed costumes are realised in accordance with his vision.
Desmond designed Ben Stevenson’s production of The Nutcracker for Houston Ballet in 1987, and his designs for Queensland Ballet’s new production pay homage to those originals. His lively and vibrant design drawings are not a detailed blueprint, but rather show the essence of the costume. Noelene’s input into the design details, fabric selection and costume construction is such that Desmond has welcomed her recognition as Associate Costume Designer.
After visiting Desmond at his home in Manhattan in June this year, Noelene enthused, “He is an amazing talent, and such a lovely man, a real gentleman of the theatre.” In the short time they spent together, Noelene and Desmond certainly ‘clicked’ and found plenty of common creative ground. “I was thrilled when he told me he felt I was a kindred spirit, it was a great compliment,” Noelene muses. “I’m very grateful to have had the opportunity to meet and work with him on this production.”
To complete the 156 costume sets required for our new Nutcracker, Noelene has overseen a team of 30 cutters, costumiers, costume-makers, and specialist artisans. Over 4,500 metres of fabric, tulle and trimmings have been required. “We are mindful that this production will have longevity, so each costume has to be made to last,” says Noelene. “There’s no cutting of corners underneath the outer layers!”
The end result of this special creative collaboration is a suite of gorgeous costumes that will delight audiences each time The Nutcracker returns to enchant all for the festive season.