The Chesil Theatre’s unique intimate auditorium was transformed into a glittering catwalk for a fashion show and costume presentation on 30th May, in aid of the Chesil Theatre Development Appeal.
A sell-out event, the audience gathered for drinks and canapés to the accompaniment of The Flute Trio whilst Ali Galvin, of neighbouring dress agency The Clothes Line in Bridge Street, was given a challenge. Several of the Chesil’s models had done their best to exemplify what not to wear – grunge, hippie, too tight, too slack … Ali then had to transform them during the evening into elegant mannequins using her own designer stock.
Whilst all this was going on, Gerry Tuff, one of the Chesil Theatre’s costume specialists, narrated an introduction to just a few examples of historically researched costumes made for specific productions. These were worn by some of the actors involved in the shows. Eleanor Marsden as Eliza Doolittle and Norma York as Mrs Eynsford Hill reprised a scene from Pygmalion whilst Love’s Labour’s Lost, Playhouse Creatures, Arms and the Man, The Rivals, Florence Nightingale and Hay Fever were also represented. The importance of wearing the correct underwear was demonstrated by a cheeky Mimi Gilles in period corset and bloomers.
Items for the following auction included a signed script from Dame Judi Dench and an autographed tie from Sir Ian McKellen, as well as donations from several local businesses including Little Minster Street Hairdressing, Spa Beauty At Home, Deborah Dalton Milliner, Movers & Shapers, No 5 Bridge Street and Chesil Theatre itself for a dining/theatre evening. Auctioneers, Gary Nicholson and Martin Humphrey, appeared in Chesil costumes too but this time as pantomime dames! The evening was rounded off to great applause with the return of the original models, now dressed ready for any occasion from a Palace garden party to Royal Ascot.
The event was the brainchild of Chesil member Ros Liddiard who said: “Planning this show has been immensely rewarding. Thanks to set designer, building crew, lighting and sound technicians, a ‘proper’ catwalk in authentic fashion house ambience was skilfully achieved. The wardrobe team produced a stunning array of costumes and Ali Galvin’s section blended perfectly into the theatrical scheme. The whole effect was wonderfully complemented by the energy and professionalism of the models, all Chesil members. We are grateful to our enthusiastic audience for their generosity”.
The evening raised £1,700 in aid of the Chesil Theatre Development Appeal, which aims to extend this much-loved theatre into a bigger and brighter community arts venue. Details of the project are available on www.chesiltheatre.org.uk which also has full information on how to book for the Chesil Theatre’s upcoming comedy Home and Beauty by W Somerset Maugham.
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Editor’s Note: The attached images are supplied repro-free by Chesil Theatre for editorial use.
Credit Tony Rogers