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A Day in the Life: Costumes

by Rachel Thompson

The costumes of the Circus Smirkus 30th Anniversary Big Top Tour are incredible.  This year, we have 95 total costumes, but 360 pieces that make up those costumes.  This makes for the largest wardrobe in Circus Smirkus history.  From the audience, you get to see the final, finished product in all it’s glory.  What you do not get to see, is the woman behind it all here on tour.

Lauryn fixes Andrew’s caveman costume

Lauryn Moles is her name, and costuming is her game. Lauryn is the Tour Wardrobe Supervisor, and has quite the responsibility, keeping track of all of the costumes while on tour.  This is her first year with Circus Smirkus, and she is currently getting her MFA in Costume Design at University of California Irvine.

Before tour, the costume department also consisted of Julie Michael who is the Costume Designer, and Audrey Nauman who is the Assistant Costume Designer.  Lauryn says she worked with them to craft a lot of the costumes, including stenciling the skeleton costumes, and putting patches on the pyjama kid costumes.

While on tour, Lauryn has a list of responsibilities.  For load in, or setting up, Troupers Lola and Sarah help her put the costumes in the dressing rooms in the backstage tent.  That is, if it is nice out.  If it is rainy or muddy, Lauryn stores the costumes in the wardrobe bunk in the trailers in order to protect the garments.  Another responsibility of hers on load in days is to set up her wardrobe station which has her sewing machine and tools at the ready in case of a wardrobe malfunction.

During the show, Lauryn can be found helping with a quick change, or fixing a costume.  Although, she says “we also like to train the performers to really rely on each other and become a really good unit and be responsible for themselves.” She says the most fun part of her job is when she gets to slip away to see an act.  “I see so many of the costumes hanging up on racks, but I never get to see them in action, so it is always nice to get to see them doing all of their amazing things.”  She says the most challenging part of her job is keeping track of everything.  With so many bits and pieces, who could blame her?

Lauryn in the costume bunk

An additional job Lauryn has while on tour is our laundry coordinator.  There is one washer and two driers on tour with us, and costumes always come first.  If we need to do our laundry, we write our name on a list and Lauryn will let us know when it is our turn.

To wash the Trouper’s costumes, she has to make sure to wash each costume with other costumes of the same materials.  She has an entire delicate batch of unitards that she washes separate from anything else in order to ensure the longevity of these costumes.

When asked why she chose to work at Circus Smirkus, Lauryn says, “because it seemed like a fun challenge! I get to travel and go on tour, which is always something I have wanted to do.  I never thought Circus would be my answer, until I got here.  It has been a really challenging, but amazing experience so far.”

To join Lauryn and the rest of the 2017 Big Top Tour, get your tickets here!