Here at the Lyric Theatre, we're all about nurturing the next generation of talent in Northern Ireland. In our recent Drama Studio production of Anne Boleyn, we had the pleasure of having Niamh Mockford, our super creative Costume Assistant, step up as the Costume Designer, bringing her incredible creativity and imagination to the Lyric Stage. Niamh actually started her journey with us as a placement student and has since become an integral part of our costume team. She's been involved in a bunch of Lyric productions and even has her hands full with exciting projects outside of our theatre!
Reflecting on her journey, Niamh shares:
"As a costume designer-maker, my love for the work stemmed from a background in amateur dramatics and sewing, and developed while at university. I was studying fashion and textiles, specialising in costume and embroidery, when I decided to carry out a placement year with the Lyric Theatre costume department, and the National Trust, for their historical costume conservation. It feels strange to think back to that time, nervously trying to learn how a costume department works and how a theatre is run, keeping my head down and working hard, to this, my first lead design role in the Lyric Theatre.
It’s wonderful to be designing in the theatre that started my career in costume, and to be working on a show that encompasses my understanding and ideas of costume and historical clothing. I especially loved researching Anne Boleyn’s execution dress as there are no paintings, only accounts from history that allow for interpretation. I wanted to have Anne wear a version of this dress in the show as a foreboding sign of her inevitable death, and with historical accounts of a grey damask dress with a crimson petticoat, I decided to take creative license.
As well as creativity, a significant part of designing this show was problem solving. For example, figuring out how costumes for the Jacobean characters, Barrow, Reynolds, and Andrews, could work for them as ensemble Tudor characters, without full changes. The solution was to have them in black costumes with interchangeable ruffs and lace collars depicting the era, which proved simple but effective. I enjoy creating solutions through creative thinking, and have found it's necessary in all aspects of costume.
This play has been incredible to work on. It is entertaining, wonderfully educational, and it has shown me how I work as a designer."