Costume Creations at St. Patrick's Day Parade

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Four students from BA (Hons) Costume Design and Practice got the opportunity to showcase their designs in one of the largest parades in the World, this St. Patrick’s Day.

The second year students designed and created four puppets that led the high profile parade in Birmingham, second only in size to the annual parade in New York.

The students chosen to take part in this highly publicised event, worked closely with Garry Jones, a graduate of BCU’s BA (Hons) Theatre Design course and currently, Artist and Designer from Off Our Trolley Arts.

Garry has been designing floats, costumes and lorries for the parade for ten years, so has a huge amount of knowledge and experience that he kindly passed onto the current students.

Garry said;

This year’s theme was ‘dance’ and student’s took part in a series of workshops throughout February and early March with Garry, to learn the techniques needed to create the structure of the puppet, the back pack frame, the paper mache heads and of course, the costumes the puppets were dressed in. 

The puppets they created represented different types of dance from across the globe, including the Rio Carnival, Days of the Dead and African Tribal.

Rebecca Jones, one of the students who took part in the event said; “the experience certainly has been interesting and it was a great opportunity to do something really different.”

With a huge media presence, including national and global TV coverage, interviews and photographs in national and local press and of course social media, the parade, one of the city’s most high profile events, is an excellent opportunity for students to highlight the breadth of their skills and talent.

Louise Chapman, Lecturer in Costume Design and Practice said;

“The project encourages students to work with different materials, and different costume making techniques, but the real value for me was that it developed a sense of play and encouraged the students to think about costume much more broadly.

We tend to work with more traditional textiles on the course but I am keen to develop the students’ knowledge of materials and alternative costume making approaches so this was a great opportunity to enhance their skills, develop their portfolios and enrich their experience.”

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