Unusual internships kept a small group of UTC students busy this summer gluing rhinestones, styling beehive wigs, and sewing ruffled dresses.

Sydney Roberts, longtime costume designer for the UTC Theatre Department, formed a partnership with the Red Mountain Theatre Company in Birmingham, Alabama, to construct costumes for their production of the popular, long-running stage musical, Hairspray.

The result of their work is dozens of finished costumes, from bedazzled dresses to ornate suits, and more than 50 wigs to bring beloved characters like Tracy, Edna, and Link, to life for the production.

“I’ve mostly worked in costumes since coming to UTC, but I’m really excited to have something outside of school work to put on my resume. It validates what I’ve been doing. Right now I’m more interested in construction of costumes and eventually I would like to design. I would just like to have the confidence that I would be able to create whatever I design,” said Rebecca Owens, one of the four student interns supervised by Roberts.

In this unique internship opportunity, students gained hands-on experience, working closely with Roberts and another professional costumer to learn and grow their skills in a small, close-knit environment.

“These intern opportunities provide students with a theatre experience unlike our work at UTC:  schedules, work production, budgets are all geared around a professional theatre company’s needs and timetable. Working with different people is also helpful and having the internship on their resume shows they are serious,” Roberts said.

Roberts has designed costumes for 140 shows at UTC. Often given just five weeks to take her vision from her sketchbook to the stage, she relies on students to help her bring characters to life.

“The students who worked with me on this project, TK Kelly, Rebecca Owens, Brooke Dobson, and Jen Ervin, have different professional ambitions at this point but in our department, they are taught to work all areas of theatre production. An internship in one area may serve to push them towards a more focused college career.”

For more information about the UTC Theatre Department visit https://www.facebook.com/UTCtheatre

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