Kathleen Laundy Costume Designer
SCHOOLS THAT WILL TURN YOU INTO A COSTUME DESIGNER
My School: Texas A&M University, Class of '93 WHOOP!
Texas A&M is where I got my Bachelor's Degree. Almost every single one of us in this picture became professional theatre practitioners thanks to the incredible faculty we had way back then. Two of those incredible faculty members are in the photo. To my right, in the red shirt and overalls and looking like a student himself is Jimmy Humphries, our scenic designer. On the left of us, in shorts and the graphic T, is our director and lighting designer, Robert Wenck, affectionately called Coach. Not in the photo, probably because she was taking the picture, is our costume designer, Susan Kelly. Unfortunately for you, none of my teachers are still there because this photo was taken 25+ years ago. And worse than that, right after they built a brand new performing arts building in 2012, they cancelled the theatre major. So you can go there if you want to, but if you want to be a theatre major, you'll have to go somewhere else. Sad.
Two Year Schools
This is where I work. If you are still in high school, come see one of our shows and then you can be a theatre major here when you graduate. We'll even put you on scholarship, give you a work-study job in the costume shop, help you transfer, and watch you graduate like McLennan alum Casey Bellows.
My friend, Shara Haghjoo, is the costume designer at Del Mar in Corpus Christie. If you don't enroll at McLennan, go enroll at Del Mar. As a bonus you'll get to take classes with Scenic Designer and former Aggie Player, Craig Brashears.
Four Year Schools
Sally Askins in the costume designer at Baylor and has been ever since I came to McLennan. She has been a great mentor to me and she runs a great program over there at the "big boy" school. We have had many McLennan students transfer to Baylor to finish their degrees including Amanda Lassetter, Jessica Hall, and our own Kelly Parker. Amanda just graduated with her Master's degree. Michael Sullivan, former McLennan scenic designer, now works for Baylor.
Amanda Lassetter is a McLennan alum and Jack Kent Cooke scholar. She received both her BA and MA from Baylor University. She is currently an Assistant Professor teaching the Stage Management course and has been the Opera Stage Manager for many years now. Amanda is a contributing writer for the Baylor University Theatre Dramaturgy Blog. You can check out all the latest news on their current season right here.
Brandon McWilliams is the costume designer at Texas State. Brandon is an McLennan alum who successfully transferred to UT for his BA. He then earned his MFA from Carnegie Mellon. He went on to teach costume design at LSU. Brandon has designed costumes for My Fair Lady at the Texas Shakespeare Festival as well. This is Brandon's first year at Texas State. As a bonus, Shane Smith from my hometown of Bastrop, Texas is their Technical Director.
Elizabeth Lewandowski is the costume designer at Midwestern State University and the author of The Complete Costume Dictionary. I met Elizabeth at USITT several years ago and she's a very nice lady and a very smart costume designer. You'll like her too if you enroll at Midwestern.
Claremarie Verheyen is the costume designer at University of Houston. She taught my sister everything she knows about costuming and makeup. I took a mask-making workshop with her at TETA years ago that was wonderful. You should enroll there and work in her shop. Quick! before she retires!
T'Cie Mancuso is the costume shop manager at St. Ed's. T'Cie is also the Mardi Gras Queen. She used to have her own business in Lake Charles, LA custom designing Mardi Gras costumes, which is where I met her 25+ years ago. If you have enough money to afford a private school education, enroll at St. Ed's, like former student Noah Neal.
Out of State Schools
My friend, Lloyd Cracknell, is the costume designer at OU. If you don't transfer to A&M, transfer to OU. For those of you who don't know, Lloyd is British and that makes him 75% classier than everyone else.
This is where I went to graduate school. Nancy Jo Smith and Michael Pacciorini are still there. You should go there too before they retire. like my makeup professor, Barbara Matthews. They run an excellent program and if you know what's good for you, you'll go get your MFA there, now, before it's too late.