Behind the Stage: Behind the Stage: Talking "Spring Awakening" with Costume Designer Bailey Hammett
Opening November 11th, the Department of Theatre and Dance at Auburn University is presenting its first musical of the 2021-2022 season. “Spring Awakening”, directed by Andrew Schwartz, features the work of numerous guest designers. However, one thing that makes this production unique is the inclusion of a student Costume Designer—Bailey Hammett.
Bailey is a senior BFA Design Technology major with a concentration in costumes. Her previous Auburn credits include Costume Design for “Eat Dessert First” within “The Future is Here,” Assistant Costume Design for “Blithe Spirit” and “Little Women,” Wardrobe Supervisor for “Together Apart,” and Wardrobe Crew for “New Day Dawning,” “Little Women,” “Blithe Spirit,” “Bring it On,” “Belle’s Stratagem,” and “Eurydice.” Of all the shows she has been involved in at Auburn, “Spring Awakening” is her favorite because it is her first time getting to design a mainstage show. “I have a lot of creative control, which I like,” Bailey explained, “I am able to make mistakes and learn from them and incorporate them into the design.” Bailey also enjoyed “Bring It On” and recalled how everyone on the crew would dance backstage and laugh constantly.
What interested Bailey most about the piece is how it has been performed so many times. She was excited by the challenge to make it original and all her own. Since there are a lot of characters and personalities to design for, Bailey has had a large outlet for creative expression and has experimented with new techniques throughout the construction process.
A distinctive feature of this production is how involved students have been. The majority of the draping and construction of the costumes were done by student workers. They were given the chance to bring patterns to life through building mock-ups and draping the actual garments.
The design process for Bailey started in August before school began. After a first meeting with the production team, she started to learn and analyze the script. Reading about the scenes and characters, Bailey started creating a costume and action plot that melded with Schwartz’s concept and vision of the show and the ideas of the guest designers who have been collaborating on this.
The creative process included researching photos, paintings, and artwork which included images of 1890s school children’s clothing. From this, she drew inspiration to create renderings of costumes for the performance. Following the director’s approval, she started working with the costume shop to buy fabric, materials, and shoes. Once the materials arrived, she began helping the student workers drape the dresses and she personally worked on one of the characters’ dresses (Anna’s) for the show. This past week, Bailey has been busy with costume fittings to make sure the garments would fit and turn out just as she envisioned. Her favorite piece in the show is a tie between Wendla’s pink dress, Thea’s purple dress, or Anna’s blue dress.
“Since the concept of the show is that the younger generation is taking over the space,” Bailey claimed, “I love how I am a student designer fueled by other student artists.” Her hardest challenge as a student designer has been approaching it without fear of doing anything wrong. “It has been hard to approach this with authority since I am still learning and growing.”
Bailey says that the transition back to live performance this fall, from the costume designer’s perspective, has not been as marked. Even in the filmed productions, the costume shop still had to costume people. However, she said, “It is exciting to have to consider all the details again. Like knowing how a costume will go in the show, where a mic will fit, what the quick changes will be like, etc. We did not have to focus on these details on Zoom.”
Bailey thinks people should see the show because it covers a lot of important topics. She also feels like it is exciting to see student-led work in action. Bailey shared, “It is live theatre and some of the first in a long time. It’s the first musical back at Auburn, which is exciting! Come support our students!”
Be sure to come see Spring Awakening to appreciate the work of this incredible student designer as well as the efforts of the student workers who built the costumes almost entirely by themselves!
Spring Awakening contains strong language and adult situations, and it is intended for mature audiences. The show runs from November 11th-19th.
Book and Lyrics by Steven Sater
Music by Duncan Sheik
Based on the play by Frank Wedekind
Directed by Andrew Schwartz
Music Direction by James Mablin
Choreography by Jeri Dickey
November 11-19, 2021
Telfair B. Peet Mainstage Theatre
Thur. Nov. 11 @ 7:30pm
Fri. Nov. 12 @ 7:30pm
Sun. Nov. 14 @ 2:30pm
Tue. Nov. 16 @ 7:30pm
Wed. Nov. 17 @ 7:30pm*
Thur. Nov. 18 @ 7:30pm
Fri. Nov. 19 @ 7:30pm
*Talkback after show
Last Updated: November 09, 2021