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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Memories of shows gone by

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Community Theatre of Clay County President Lee Reberger inspects the "Mrs. Potts" costume used in a production of "The Beauty and the Beast." The costume is one of thousands of unique costumes stored away by the local theater company. Ivy Jackson Photo.
Whether a script calls for a Roman soldier or a person from the future, the Community Theatre of Clay County has it covered.

"After 25 years, we have thousands upon thousands of props and costumes in storage," Carol McConnell told The Brazil Times. "That makes for a lot of boxes to go through when you're searching for costumes."

A vigorous performance might damage a costume, but it doesn't mean it gets thrown away.

McConnell, along with Nancy Kulow, Elaine Clarke, Mike Hoffman, Keri Fagg and Shirley Fry, have been in the process of reconditioning and categorizing the thousands of costumes that range from 17th century ball gowns, to wedding dresses, to confederate soldiers to a gorilla suit for almost two years.

Every fashion era is represented among the garments hanging on racks and items filling the shelves in the theater storage area. Donations of unique shoes, hats, accessories, jewelry pieces and clothing are accepted by the theater.

"If someone donated a unique item for a show, it's probably still here," McConnell said. "We keep everything, but we do have to be selective in what we choose."

And if something is not available, McConnell said several local seamstresses, and mothers during the children's productions, create whatever is needed for the costumes.

Twenty-five years of props are also stored at the theater.

"Carl McKinney, one of our board members, takes care of them," she said. "Whatever we need, Carl finds it for us."

Although she has worked behind the scenes and performed on the stage, McConnell enjoys the creativity of creating the costumes each character will wear during a production.

"Costuming always starts from scratch. It's a little time consuming, but I love doing all the research that it takes to create a costume that sets the right tone of the performance and fits the period of the play," she said. "You can't hodgepodge and just throw something together. The slightest detail makes all the difference to the actors, who use their costume as a starting point for creating their character."

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