Shining Star

Allison Osterman

Allison Osterman with her dragon creation from
Shrek: The Musical.

Dresses from The Birth of Rock & Roll

You may not recognize her as one of our outstanding on-stage performers but, off-stage, fans of Theatre Ancaster have definitely seen Allison Osterman shine! Allison is Theatre Ancaster’s costume designer extraordinaire!

Fans will remember her work from the forty-two Theatre Ancaster shows that she’s created costumes for – such as Shrek: The Musical, Hairspray, Peter Pan and The Wizard of Oz. Gary Smith of the Hamilton Spectator even gave her a ‘perfect’ comment on his review of Annie. In addition to designing costumes, she’s in charge of the entire costume warehouse, with thousands of pieces, and has directed one of our spring musical revues, Made in Canada, in 2013. Her very first show doing costume construction was Fiddler on the Roof, back in November 2001.

Allison’s journey to costume design began when her mom taught her to sew as a child. She also had two amazing role models at Theatre Ancaster: Veronica Watkins, who gave Allison her first job in the company and who now works for the Shaw Theatre as a stitcher, and Sonia Lewis who now is head of wardrobe at Theatre Aquarius.

When asked where she gets her creative ideas, Allison says it is mainly from her imagination and inspiration and, of course, from meeting with the director and reading the script. It is especially important to get a feel for the director’s vision and then use that information to create pieces that suit the personality of the characters, the overall theme, historical significance and mood of the show. Allison then figures out a colour palette and sketches the costumes to make sure the whole look is cohesive.

After that, it’s a matter of putting her creative skills to use. Allison loves working with textures and patterns. She makes it a personal challenge to try and use available and affordable resources. She always has the most fun doing the more extravagant and challenging pieces. Her personal favourites are Dragon, from Shrek: The Musical, Colin Lapsley’s Fire jacket from the Birth of Rock & Roll, and the women’s sparkly halter/twirling 50’s inspired dresses.  Although, Allison says, “picking a favourite is like asking me to choose a favorite child”.

It is no doubt to anyone that Allison is a vital part of the Theatre Ancaster family.  She is an extremely hard worker and, with her vivid imagination and creative influence, our costumes have never looked better!

You can next see Allison’s work in the upcoming production of Mamma Mia! When asked about this show, Allison said she is extremely excited for it. She’s working to ensure that the costumes are vibrant and bright to suit the show’s lively spirit.  You don’t want to miss it!

Written by Dawson Nyffenegger