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About the project

Drawing inspiration from Franz Kafka’s novella Metamorphosis, Alison Helmer designs a costume for a drag performance by a fellow NTS student, with the additional challenge brought by physical distancing which limits the materials and resources she has. Alison shows us the process of costume designing in 3 parts:  

  1. Conception/Research/Rendering 

  2. Drafting/Construction 

  3. Hair and Makeup/Performance 

This project mirrors the current societal themes of isolation and Kafkaesque madness which ensues. Alison comments on the relationship between gender exploration and identity by exploring the concept of shapeshifting partnered with that of drag performance and by using imagery of insects and nature, and the beauty and oddities within them.

Follow the project on Instagram over the next few weeks. Alison adds new content every day.  

    This project received financial support from the National Theatre School of Canada via the Art Apart program, an emergency fund for emerging artists who are affected by physical distancing due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

    About the artist

    Alison Helmer is a multidisciplinary artist who has been deeply and continuously influenced by her studies and experience working on the east coast of Newfoundland. She began her studies in the Technical Theatre Production program at Grenfell Campus, Memorial University. While there, she worked for two seasons as Head of Design with Beyond the Overpass Theatre Company, and as the costume and set designer for Rising Tide Theatre’s 2019 season 

    Currently in her final year of the Set and Costume Design program at the National Theatre School of Canada, she has been able to explore restoration costumes with a contemporary twist on Nell Gwynn directed by Krista Jackson, as well as work on the costumes for NTS’s 2019 creation project with directors Zack Fraser and Ariana Bardesono.