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College costume learners bring Shrek The Musical to life on New Theatre’s stage

A group of talented learners from a south Wales college will see the costumes and props they have created take the spotlight on stage for the opening night of the musical theatre adaption of the Oscar winning fairy-tale movie, Shrek.

College learners Lindsay James, Kamila Abramczyk, Camryn Locke and Keira Lee with costumes for the three little pigs
Twenty-seven aspiring Costume Construction and Prop Making learners from Coleg y Cymoedd have been working tirelessly to create an array of costumes and props needed for the live action recreation of the Dreamworks animation, which arrives at Cardiff’s New Theatre from 29th May.
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As part of a collaboration with Orbit Theatre, first and second year Costume Construction for Screen and Stage learners have taken on the challenge of bringing over thirty well-known characters to life. In addition to this, learners from the HND Creative Production Arts (Prop making) course have been tasked with designing and creating the supporting props and puppetry for the adaption of the hit film.

The learners, who study at the college’s Nantgarw campus, are working closely with the production team from Shrek the Musical, as well as working alongside the cast who have been attending regular fittings.

Throughout the process, learners have learnt about the requirements of costume for stage and gone outside their usual work to construct the unusual characters that feature in Shrek. This includes experimenting with body padding to create ogre costumes and producing various animal designs for the numerous characters included in the production.

Rebecca Southall, a first-year costume construction learner who is creating the mother and father ogre costumes, said: “Working on the costumes for the musical has provided me with some amazing experience in the industry.

“I’ve never really worked on theatre design before and it’s so interesting to see how it differs to creating costume for film. I’m really enjoying working closely with the cast and the production team throughout the project.”

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After the success of previous collaborations with Orbit Theatre, including costume construction for the musical adaption of leading animation picture Madagascar, the learners were given another opportunity to work with the company. The show will see beloved characters like Shrek, Princess Fiona, Donkey and Lord Farquaad take to the stage to tell the story of an unlikely hero.

Coleg y Cymoedd’s two-year foundation costume construction course, which is delivered in partnership with the University of South Wales, aims to give learners a thorough introduction to costume construction within the industries of theatre and film.

Course leader and lecturer on the foundation costume construction course, Emma Embling, said: “It’s great to be working on another production at the New Theatre and the learners are finding the opportunity very exciting to be a part of. Taking part in projects with theatre companies really helps them to develop their skills and learn more about cutting and constructing costumes fit for stage.

“The collaboration provides learners with invaluable, hands-on experience in the theatre industry and they’re really enjoying seeing the costumes come to life.”

Richard Embling, Prop making Lecturer on the HND Creative Production Arts course, said: “Working alongside the costume construction course has provided the learners with a real understanding of the industry. There have been some really fun props to problem solve. It’s a fantastic way to end the year and everyone involved can’t wait to see their work on stage.”

You can see Shrek the Musical from Wednesday 29th May – Sunday 2nd June at the New Theatre, Cardiff.

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