Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis


Theatre and Dance


College of Arts and Sciences

First Advisor

Nic Ularu


Costume Design: Communication Through Dress represents my experience as a candidate in the University of South Carolina’s Master of Fine Arts program in Theatre Design, with an emphasis in Costume Design and Technology. During my time in this program, I worked closely with Professors Lisa Martin-Stuart and Nic Ularu to practice text and character analysis, rendering techniques, communication and the execution of designs from concepts on paper into three fully realized productions.

This thesis explores the design process behind three shows produced by the University of South Carolina’s Department of Theatre and Dance: Translations by Brian Friel, Blithe Spirit by Noël Coward, and Scapin, adapted by Bill Irwin and Mark O’Donnell. I investigate the design process for these three shows, starting with researching and interpreting historical dress and for each world onstage. Through extensive script analysis and communication with the director, I learn about the background and psychological state and goals of each character, determine class differentiation requirements in each world, and establish ways to convey these distinctions through garment choices. I explore instances that occurred during production requiring modification and troubleshooting, and discuss how these experiences have helped me finesse my communication skills. Additionally, I discuss experiences that have helped me learn to better anticipate the needs of the production team and actors, which have in turn helped me to grow as a designer.


© 2017, Rachel Amanda Harmon