Chagford Cricket Club houses a rare and unexpected secret: a tractor garage that, alongside stumps, balls and cricket helmets, is home to a treasury of theatre costumes. The rails of outfits - from ball gowns to civil war uniforms - have been lovingly compiled by amateur performers wielding sewing kits and boxes of sequins for more than forty years.
This is where we ended our audition weekend in Chagford, knee deep in plimsolls and wire clothes hangers. It's hard to resist trying on the masks, capes and hats housed in what is the ultimate dressing up box. Cue comedy photographs and cries of, 'This will be my Facebook profile picture' (followed by hysterical laughter and disgust at the sight of said photos).
Emily (left) & Anna try on various masks and costumes
Costumes are one of our favourite parts of theatre. It's like the joy of reading a book with pages that have been turned over by all the people that have read it before you. With dresses, it's the hand sewn seams hemmed and pinned to fit dozens of leading ladies playing different characters.
Seeing years of costumes hung up on rails has a glorious way of putting into perspective that your play, after months of preparation, will be over within a matter of days and will, one day, be simply a memory of something fun you once did.
Our favourite moment in a costume store heist is finding an item of clothing Starling Arts has contributed to the store during one of our past two Chagford shows, Honk! or Moon. The felt tipped name label of a coloured t-shirt or customised boater hat is enough to send us squealing. To use a (slightly cheesy) musical theatre metaphor, maybe we just enjoy being part of the Chagford acting scene's 'Circle of Life'.
If you'd like to see which costumes make the light of day for our production of Beauty and the Beast, Jr., then come and see it on August 22nd, 23rd and 24th at the Jubilee Hall, Chagford. If you're lucky, we might even show you the tractor shed...
Tickets for Beauty and the Beast, Jr. are now on sale from Fowlers, Chagford or online.
Please click here for more information.