Get insights from Dresser AJ Callaghan

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

AJ Callaghan


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

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

Further Reading

  • 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.