KulturAcademin Trappan


Gothenburg, Sweden


June 25-27, 2015


Inside-Out Design

The Inside-Out method facilitates the active professional discussion between designers and collaborators, and educates all involved in the creative decisions that give rise to the design. The workshop has been made to be useful for other theatre practioners, not only designers, who have no previous direct experience with costume design. This workshop leads participants step-by-step through the development of a costume design, following a systematic design method that I have developed.

In this workshop, I will encourage participants to create a design for one or several costumes for well-known characters from a classic text in a creative and playful environment. I will first demonstrate the principles of the method in a brief lecture. Participants will then work in groups, dissecting the character for which a costume is designed, and relating it to shapes, colors, textures, and so on. Finally, using readily available materials (fabric, paper, plastic) three dimensional drafts of the costumes will be produced on a dress-form.

The method encourages active discussion about the dramaturgical and narrative properties and strengths of the costume designs, and how these relate to character, plot, text and relationships. While the application in this workshop will be theatre costumes, the method is general and can be applied to other design projects as well, including sets, props, puppetry, etc. This workshop will provide participants with a new vocabulary and new directions in design, which should help theatre makers in their ability to communicate and collaborate with designers, and are useful for educators who are interested to teach a fundamental, step-by-step approach to the work.

The method transforms traditional design approaches, including historical, dramaturgical and textual research with concepts from visual arts traditions (in particular the tradition of Russian Constructivism) into a new system which is widely applicable to the theatre of the 21st century.

The method is based on capturing the essence of a character, or an idea, as a combination of shapes, lines, colors, textures, and other fundamental visual properties. This reduced visual representation then serves as a solid base to apply further features of the characters, and/or conceptual ideas. This can be used to very clearly indicate relationships between characters, highlighting specific character motifs, suggest historical, social or political context.

Building the design from the interior essentials towards the outward appearance promotes synergy between character and costume, and enhances the dramaturgical qualities of a production.