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Guiding and supporting the theatre makers of the future

It’s a backstage choreography and it’s as important as the onstage choreography.’



A dresser works backstage assisting the maintenance of costumes during performances, ensuring they’re of a high-quality and standard, and helping actors with quick costume changes. They report directly to the Wardrobe Manager and/or Costume Supervisor. Dressers may progress to become Wardrobe Assistants and Costume Supervisors.


Key Skills

  • Practical skills, such as hand sewing
  • Excellent attention to detail
  • Speed and efficiency
  • Calmness under pressure
  • Good people skills, including a calm and tactful manner


Costume Courses

  • BA (Hons) Theatre Practice - Costume Construction – Central School of Speech and Drama Click Here
  • Theatre Costume - Royal Academy of Dramatic Art Click Here
  • BA (Hons) Costume Production – Rose Bruford College Click Here
  • BA (Hons) Costume for Performance – London College of Fashion Click Here
  • BA (Hons) Theatre and Screen – Costume Interpretation – Wimbledon College of Art Click Here
  • BA (Hons) Costume with Performance Design – Arts University Bournemouth Click Here

Other courses are available. Those above represent a sample from various drama schools and universities.


  • Maintenance of costumes, including cleaning and mending
  • Assisting actors with quick costume changes



There is no formal training to become a dresser, although a dresser may have studied costume/fashion at university or drama school. Many people working in Wardrobe Departments begin by working in local theatres, progressing from dresser to Wardrobe Assistant. Skills are developed on-the-job while gaining useful industry contacts – designers, Costume Supervisors, Production Managers, etc. – which are vital for securing future work.

Further Reading

  • Stage Costume – Step-by-Step by Mary T Kidd, 2002
  • Costume and Make-Up by Michael Holt, 1988