by Helen Casey
Written by the Deputy Head of Make-Up and Wigs at the National Theatre, this book opens up a process that very few people will otherwise be privy to, giving perspectives on the preparation before a production and responsibilities during, as well as looking more widely at training, career opportunities and success. It does so through drawing upon some of the most adventurous and challenging productions mounted at the National Theatre and elsewhere.
From designing and fitting wigs to managing lighting-fast quick changes, hair, wigs and make-up people are a major part of the creation of any theatrical production. Yet their role and contribution are much less discussed and written about than elements such as writing, directing and acting, despite being critical to defining and executing the aesthetic of a production.
Their involvement requires a great deal of research and creative thinking; collaboration with other members of the creative team; specific knowledge of wig-making and measuring, make-up design and application; and managing all of these elements during the course of the evening. Often required to cover all three elements (and sometimes more), the designer looking after hair, wigs and make-up needs to bring to the production multiple areas of expertise and is a core part of the creative team.