A Day in the Theatre

You often hear the phrase that “you can’t go home again”. Well, I recently had an experience that completely disproved that belief.

One of the reasons I started sewing oh-so-long ago, was because I had also started acting in plays as a young girl and I needed someone to make my costumes. Finding that person always seemed to be a challenge so I started making them myself. Long story short, that eventually lead to a career in professional theatre costume shops. I entered that world as a stitcher ( or seamstress) and grew into a Draper (pattern maker) after a few years. I loved that life and the many challenges it provided. I did work I never thought possible, met colorful and exciting people and despite the frequent long hours, had more fun than I ever could have dreamed.

Life has a way of moving you forward, however, and I found myself on an island in the Pacific Northwest faced with the challenge of making a living. That’s where Sew Like The Wind came in and I conducted business there for 20 years.

A few months ago, when I moved Sew Like The Wind over to Bellingham, I saw that there was a beautiful old theatre downtown called The Mount Baker Theatre. It is a professional theatre and they bring in tours of plays that perform for one or two nights before they leave to go to their next venue, much like concert performers. I stopped by one day to see if I could be of service. After submitting my resume and signing up with the appropriate union, I was called to work the production of “Mama Mia” which was in town for only one day.

There I was, surrounded by dozens of crew members, all dressed in the mandatory black, busily unloading scenery, sound equipment, rolling wardrobe boxes, and who knows what else, from a number of semi trucks. I was lead to the Wardrobe room with 8 other women and we were assigned tasks, laundry, ironing, steaming, and costume repair. I had said that I could sew, so I spent the day at a sewing machine fixing pants that had torn in performance and altering costumes for understudies.

After a dinner break we were each given an actor to help and dress as necessary, so I met my actress and spent the rest of the night making sure that she successfully managed all of her costume changes. Despite the fact that there was no rehearsal and I was new to the situation, I knew the basics, and the evening went beautifully. It was late when I got home and I was tired, but thrilled that I had had the opportunity to play in the world of the Pros once again. I had gone home.