Graduate Studies: Costume Production: Alumni
Erin Abbenante is currently working as a freelance costumer and milliner in the Triangle area. She received her B.F.A. from Texas State University – San Marcos. She has worked as an apprentice at Steppenwolf Theatre Co., a stitcher at The Old Globe, and a first hand at Williamstown Theatre Festival and Shakespeare and Company. erinabbenante.wix.com/eabbenante
Reina Alirez is currently working for independent designer MarcoMarco in Hollywood, California where she is the head draper for the Custom Designs Department. There she has has had the opportunity to develop and construct garments for Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez, and Jennifer Hudson. She began her career in theater working as a Tailor’s Assistant for the San Francisco Opera and as a Second Hand for the Los Angeles Opera for 9 years. Aside from her full time job, Reina takes on side projects, and has been involved with the construction of entertainment productions designed by Bob Mackie for Holland America Cruise Lines, has built and constructed garments for national commercials for such products as Absolut Vodka and Virgin Mobile, and has been involved with costume work and styling for musical artists such as Katy Perry and Kasey Musgraves. She is happy to be a part of such a full array of projects and has used every morsel of knowledge she learned from her graduate career at UNC.
Jacki Blakeney Armit, a Mississippi native, is the Professor of Practice – Costume Technology at Tulane University in New Orleans, LA. After grad school, Jacki served as the costume studio coordinator for the Department of Theatre at Auburn University. Jacki’s work as a draper, first hand, stitcher and crafts artisan has been seen on the stages of Utah Shakespearean Festival, The Alley Theatre (Houston, TX) and Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival. Jacki also holds the distinction of Certified Teacher with the Society of American Fight Directors. She has been an instructor at North Carolina School of the Arts Summer Session – Introduction to Stage Combat, High School for Performing and Visual Arts (Houston, TX), Georgia Shakespeare Festival (Atlanta, GA) and the Atlanta Stage Combat Studio.
Amanda Phillips Balingit is privileged to be part of the Richmond Ballet costume shop. Prior to this, she has served as costume shop supervisor for Mill Mountain Theatre and adjunct professor at Hollins University. She worked in NYC for seven years in a variety of capacities including freelance patternmaker for the Brooklyn based clothing company, Viva Aviva; assistant head of wardrobe with Cirque Du Soleil’s “Zarkana”; draper/first hand at Tricorne, John Kristiansen’s NYC, and Parsons-Meares; dresser for Madonna’s MDNA tour; and beader for Broadway’s “Lion King.”
Brooks Ann Camper worked for several years in New York City as a milliner for Broadway and other theatrical productions (including Mama Mia!, Wicked, and Radio City’s Rockettes) at Lynne Mackey Studios. She also spent her summers during graduate school working at Costumes and Creatures on Jim Henson’s Muppets. Brooks Ann has since moved back to the Chapel Hill area where she is the owner, designer and dressmaker of her own custom couture wedding dress business: Brooks Ann Camper Bridal Couture. She works individually with each bride to design and create a one-of-a-kind ensemble perfect for her unique figure, personality and wedding day. You can visit her website at: www.brooksann.com
Denise Chukhina is currently in the Triangle area working at Spoonflower in Floor Operations. In 2015, she completed a reproduction of a flight attendant costume from the film “2001 A Space Odyssey” that will be included in the Museum of Science Fiction opening soon in Washington DC. She is also accepting freelance projects for weddings and teaching sewing and patterning. In the past she has worked for the Utah Shakespeare Festival and worked internationally at the Cologne Opera/Theatre House in Germany. http://dietrichadenise.wix.com/costume-technician
Adrienne Corral is currently working as the Specialty Costume Crafts Artisan at Feld Entertainment, Inc. in Ellenton, FL.
Lisa Davis designs and builds costumes in Los Angeles for film and television. Recent film projects include building some of the primary mascots for the Christopher Guest film, Mascots, as well as working on Guardians of the Galaxy 2. She also made walk-about costumes for a Maroon 5 music video. Lisa’s television credits include Colony, Arrested Development, Switched at Birth, Jimmy Kimmel Live! and The Muppets. She regularly works with puppets, Muppets, and stop motion animation. She is a member of Motion Picture Costumers Local 705 and the Costume Designer’s Guild, Local 892. CostumeandCloth.com
Colleen Dobson is an assistant professor of costume technology at Northern Illinois University.
Claire Fleming is the workroom supervisor at Eric Winterling Inc. in NYC. The shop is currently working on Can-Can for Papermill Playhouse, the Kinky Boots Tour, You Can’t Take It With You, Don Giovanni for Chicago Lyric Opera, Disney on Ice: Frozen, and the Radio City Rockettes Christmas show. Winterling’s also recently did costumes for “Turn” on AMC, and a new show called “Flesh and Bone” on Starz.
Randy Handley is head of wardrobe for Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson ONE in Las Vegas. He has also worked at the Ogunquit Playhouse, Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival as costume shop manager. Randy has spent many summers over the past 10 years working at the Utah Shakespearean Festival. He has also created the Computer Aided Paperwork System (C.A.P.S.) used to help track the progress of costumes during the production process. www.randyhandley.com
Emily Heilig is currently an adjunct professor @ UNC-Greensboro teaching costume construction courses. This season she will also be designing costumes for Matthews Playhouse & Theatre Charlotte. After completing her MFA, she worked in NYC as a milliner on Shrek: the Musical with Marian “Killer” Jean Hose LLC and as a first hand on Radio City Music Hall’s Christmas Spectacular. Emily then relocated to the DC area to work as the costume shop manager for Imagination Stage, a non-profit professional children’s theatre company. While there she had many opportunities to design costumes, including the mainstage production of Disney’s Mulan Jr. The highlight of her time in DC was working as a milliner and dresser for Cirque du Soleil Special Events. Love and marriage brought Emily to Chattanooga, TN where she was an adjunct professor at UT-Chattanooga. This allowed her to become a member of IATSE 492-Studio Mechanics-Wardrobe when she worked on the Jackie Robinson baseball film 42. As a result, Emily worked on Tim McGraw’s “Truck Yeah” video and award show gowns for country singer, American Idol alum, Lauren Alaina.
Spencer Henderson has been an instructor and costume shop manager for the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC since 2008. He also has been the costume shop manager for Williamstown Theatre Festival for the ’09 & ’10 summer seasons. Spencer has designed two shows for Workshop Theatre in Columbia and is also an advisory board member for SC Pride.
Corinne Hodges spent the summer managing the Trinity Shakespeare costume shop and is now freelancing in Houston, TX.
Hui-Lin (Lydia) Huang is on leave from the National Taiwan College of Performing Arts. She is recently married and living in Holland with her husband. She is planning to start a millinery business in her new location.
Jennifer Jacob is a shopper in the costume department at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. In addition, she works as an assistant costume designer on and off Broadway and does freelance design and production projects. Her favorite project is designing and building costumes for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS’ annual Broadway Bares fundraiser. She has previously worked for Carelli Costumes and Eric Winterling Inc in NYC, the Williamstown Theater Festival, Seaside Music Theater in Daytona Beach, FL, the Santa Fe Opera, and the Alliance Theater in Atlanta, GA.
Katherine Keener is a freelance costumer in Santa Fe, NM. She received her undergraduate degree from Philadelphia University. She has worked as a first hand at Utah Shakespeare Festival and previously designed and stitched at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire as their resident Costumer. In summer she has worked as a first hand at The Santa Fe Opera. katherinekeener.wix.com/costume
Iisha Lemming worked as a first hand for Hugh Hanson at Carelli Costume in New York and as a patternmaker at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, moved back to the south and taught briefly at The University of the South and O’More College of Art and Design before starting to work for Dolly Parton. She has been working as full-time patternmaker and seamstress for Mrs. Parton for over seven years now. She has made and altered many outfits for Mrs. Parton that were featured in videos, a movie, interviews, many print ads, and even the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in 2007. Iisha also has her own business that has had many incarnations and that she is looking to expand in new directions in the near future.
Marcy Linton has received tenure at University of Virginia, teaching Costume Technology.
Kerri Martinsen has been the Costume Director at the Carolina Ballet since 2010. Before that, she worked in the Washington, DC area as the Assistant Costume Director of the Washington National Opera and as a draper for Troika Entertainment. She has also currently been working with local figure skaters on creating custom competition dresses.
Candy McClernan a freelance costumer/crafts artisan living in North Carolina, creating costumes and accessories for film, ballet and regional theaters around the country. Candy also provides thermoplastic workshops for Wonderflex World, and has recently begun showing/selling her batik art in coastal galleries. http://candymcclernan.crevado.com/
Kara Monroe works with Randy Handley on Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson ONE in Las Vegas, NV.
Amy A. Page is the Costume Director and an assistant professor of theatre with the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Amy served as a draper for Playmakers Repertory Company productions such as Amadeus, Pride and Prejudice, The Importance of Being Earnest, and Nicholas Nickleby. She worked professionally in the area of costume construction with the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Children’s Theatre of Charlotte, Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte, Carolina Ballet, and Santa Fe Opera. She has also worked on the The Lion King, Hot Feet, and The Phantom of the Opera with Parsons-Meares in New York. She has professional experience as a costume shop manager, draper, first hand, stitcher, and crafts artisan. Amy has worked with the St-Arts summer program as an instructor of stage make-up, technical theatre, and puppet construction. While earning her BA in Theatre Education from Winthrop University, Amy also served as the costume shop assistant. She has been the costume shop manager for both Paramount’s Carowinds and the University of North Carolina Charlotte, and has taught theatrical and couture sewing techniques at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Oklahoma City University, and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Amy is an active member of SETC and USITT, working with the USITT Costume Commission and assisting with master classes in Fabric Modification.
Jade Bettin Papa is the Curator at the Design Center located on the campus of Philadelphia University. She also teaches History of Costume and Textiles there and 20th Century Fashion Designers. In her previous life, she worked as a professor for UNC and a costume designer and draper for PlayMakers Repertory Company.
After two years in New York City working as a first hand at Tricorne Inc. and as a swing dresser for Disney’s The Lion King, Leah Pelz is currently taking a leave from the theatre to hike the Appalachian Trail. While at Tricorne, she worked on such shows as Hamilton, Aladdin, Kinky Boots, Matilda, and Wicked. She will relocate temporarily to North Carolina upon finishing her hike. http://leahepelz.wix.com/costume
Erin Proud is currently working as a tailor in New York with fellow UNC alum Daniel Weger. She is also the founder and designer of Brooklyn Pattern Company, an indie sewing pattern company specializing in Brooklyn-inspired children’s clothes. Previously, she worked as a first hand/draper at John Kristiansen, Tricorne, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Boston Ballet, Huntington Theatre Company and Santa Fe Opera.
Kaitlin Fara Smith is currently working as a freelance costume artisan accepting custom and overhire contracts. She has previously worked as the costume studio supervisor at Wake Forest University, and as a draper and first hand for such companies as Stages St. Louis, the New York City Ballet, Eric Winterling Inc, John Kristiansen NY Inc, and Parsons-Meares Ltd. http://www.kaitlinfara.com/
Denise Wagner is a draper at the McCarter Theatre in Princeton, New Jersey.
B. Daniel Weger founded his own business, B.D.Weger Tailoring for Broadway/TV/Film. Recent contracts include The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, patternmaker for Tom Cruise in Mena (2017), Michael Fassbender as Steve Jobs (2015), and Tom Hiddleston as Hank Williams in I Saw the Light (2015).
Laura Wigginton is currently the Education Program Director for the Virginia Opera Association in Norfolk, VA. She is currently heading an Education Partnership with Richmond CenterStage in Richmond, VA. When time allows she has done some design work at Generic Theatre and Little Theatre of Norfolk.
Laurie Bailey graduated with a double major in music history and dramatic art in 1997. She worked as a stitcher/first hand at the Alliance from 1998-2000 and moved to L.A. She worked freelance for both theatre and film from 2000-2002 and part-time 2002-2005 while she was in graduate school. Laurie got her MLIS from San Jose State University in 2005 and worked as the costume and textiles librarian at the L. A. County Museum of Art from 2005-2006. Laurie is currently the youth services librarian for the San Diego Public Library.
Grier Coleman graduated in 2006, moved to New York to attend the Professional Intern Program at The Juilliard School. She holds an MFA in Costume Design from the Yale School of Drama. Recent Off Broadway Credits include: You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown at the York Theater Company and Missed Connections: The Craigslist Musical at the New Ohio Theater. Regional credits include Disgraced and The Crucible at Playmakers Repertory, Arcadia at Yale Repertory, All My Sons at Weston Playhouse, and four seasons at Shakespeare on the Sound. She has designed for the Opera, Drama, and Dance Divisions at the Juilliard School, and worked on educational pieces at New York University and The New School for Drama. Grier is a proud member of United Scenic Artists Local 829. www.griercoleman.com
Jean Devine has been working for Ralph Lauren for the past five years designing children’s sweaters, but has recently moved to the Home Department as a textile designer. She feels fortunate to be part of a company that has so many divisions. She expects her career to transition between clothing and fabric—all expanding her knowledge of the industry as a whole.
Eleanor Fluharty graduated from UNC in 2001 and moved to Montgomery, AL to work for Alabama Shakespeare Festival. After her first year as a stitcher, she moved up to first hand. She has worked as first hand and draper for Utah Shakespearean Festival and California Musical Theatre. She is currently the draper for Sacramento Theatre Company in CA. Though she received her MFA from the University of Texas, she will always be grateful for the skills she gained while at Carolina.
Pei Lee received her MFA from University of Connecticut and was a costume designer for the Olney Theatre. Pei has recently moved to Seattle.
Nora Pedersen graduated in ’01 with a BA in dramatic arts. She worked in New York for one year at The Juilliard School as an assistant designer through their professional internship program. She then packed up and headed to Los Angeles to work in costumes for film, where she continues to work. She is now a member of both The Costume Designers Guild and The Costumers Union which support union film, TV, and commercial work in Los Angeles.
Megan Rutherford recently completed a year in the Professional Intern Program at The Juilliard School in New York. She is now a design assistant at New Studio on Broadway at NYC-Tisch.
Tiffany Verch is a set costumer for The Walking Dead. Past film/TV credits include three season of Homeland, Blood Done Sign My Name, and Army Wives.
Marion Williams has designed both sets and costumes for PlayMakers Repertory Company. Her website tells it all: www.MarionWilliamsDesign.com