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Calgary costumer helps actors look the part: ‘I just jumped into it’

WATCH: You might look forward to the change of seasons bringing a chance to try out some new outfits. And as Gil Tucker shows us, for one talented Calgarian, this spring brings an opportunity to explore lots of different looks on a colourful cast of characters.

It’s a big week for members of a new Calgary theatre company — and for the costumer who’s helping mount the debut production.

Black Radish Theatre is staging Samuel Beckett’s classic play Waiting for Godot.

“It’s an absurdist existential piece billed as a tragic comedy,” actor Duval Lang said. “It’s about two guys waiting for a guy who never shows up.”

READ MORE: Iranian performers collaborate with Calgary theatre group to create new show

Costumer Ralamy Kneeshaw is making sure Lang and the other performers hit the stage with just the right look. She finds what she needs in several places.

“Value Village gives us many things, (other) thrift stores,” Kneeshaw said.

She’s also turning to the vast storehouse she’s recently established called The Costume Collective which contains “upwards of 20,000 pieces.”

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“We’ve got literally hundreds of hats of all different kinds.”

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Along with renting out costumes to theatre companies, Kneeshaw also supplies outfits for movie and TV productions.

READ MORE: Calgary dance and costume shop gets ready for final curtain call

“We get a lot of (costume) donations from actors and directors and other costumers, as well as the public,” Kneeshaw said.

It’s a field she got into almost by accident.

“My daughter was starting to do plays and since I was driving her anyway I said, ‘Well, I can help out with the costumes,'” Kneeshaw said. “And I just jumped into it!”

Performers really appreciate the creativity and attention to detail that Kneeshaw brings to each production.

“It’s critical to have a concept to determine who we are,” Lang said, “and to feel comfortable wearing a costume that befits our character.”

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The Black Radish Theatre production of Waiting for Godot runs April 25 through May 12 at the Grand Theatre in downtown Calgary.

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Kneeshaw is looking forward to seeing her work on stage.

“There’s this wonderful process that I really enjoy. Finding the right piece for the right person.”

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