Costumographic Synergy: devising the costume performance

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This research report presents an emergent methodological framework for devising costume performance that offers best practice to the collaborating designer, choreographer, and performer. Two distinct practical research case studies; costume performance project Elizabeth & The Three Sisters (2016) and costume research project SESSIONS #1-4 (2019), are examined to answer the question: what is an effective working methodology for designing and devising costume performance that creates a synergy between costume/materials and the moving body, and consequently design and choreography? The case study research methods include practical experimentation and devising leading to performances, and experiential findings. Research outcomes are contextualised in relation to Tim Ingold’s theories of (active) materials, Jane Bennett’s concept of assemblages, collaborative devising processes used in dance making, embodiment and somatics, and intentionality and authorship in collective making.

This investigation is predominantly discussed from the perspective of the experienced and experiential costume performer – choreographer: the ‘embodied subject’ (Mitra 2015: 147) who merges with the costume/materials bringing a unique analysis to the costume and performance research field that is significant to designers, performers, performance makers, and scholars. The findings of this report offer practitioners a framework to develop an impactful working approach for the devising of costume performance, as well as other performance where costume is (or could be) an integral part of the work.
Original languageEnglish
JournalStudies in Costume and Performance
Issue number1
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 12 Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Studies in Costume & Performance brings together experts in costume, scenography, performance, fashion and curation as well as critically engaged practitioners and designers to reflect and debate costume in performance, its reception in production, exhibition and in academic critical discourse. The journal is double-blind peer-reviewed in order to maintain the highest standards of scholastic integrity. Issue 7.1 is edited by academic and practicing theatre professional Dr Suzanne Osmond and Sofia Pantouvaki, Professor of Costume Design for Theatre and Film at the Department of Film, Television and Scenography, Aalto University, Finland.


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