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.
- Maintenance of costumes, including cleaning and mending
- Assisting actors with quick costume changes
- Stage Costume – Step-by-Step by Mary T Kidd, 2002
- Costume and Make-Up by Michael Holt, 1988
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.
Other courses are available. Those above represent a sample from various drama schools and universities.