The Costuming Process
© National Arts Centre
The technical dress rehearsal, or “tech dress”, is the first time the actor wears his or her costume onstage. At this time, all the elements of the production come together: set, props, costumes, lighting and sound. Once the costume reaches backstage, it becomes the charge of the dresser who works during the performance and is responsible for getting the actor into costume, cleaning the costumes, and doing any minor repairs.
During the tech dress, the head of wardrobe, designer, and cutter/tailor are in attendance. The cutter/tailor takes technical notes regarding the costumes they built, the designer observes all the visual elements, and the head of wardrobe picks up the loose ends. Notes are completed the following working day in anticipation of the next dress rehearsal. Two more dress rehearsals allow for the fine-tuning of the aesthetic requirements of the designer and the honing of technical aspects such as the speed of a quick change.