BF23: Laura Delchiaro comes home to design costumes for 'Chronicles of Sarnia'
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
While it will be all about the Imperial City when Chronicles of Sarnia hits the Memorial Hall stage this summer, the costume design will have a significantly local flair to it thanks to Laura Delchiaro of Seaforth.
Delchiaro’s family moved to Seaforth when she was about six and she’s lived here ever since (with some breaks for post-secondary school and some work). This, however, will be the first time that she has plied her trade at the Blyth Festival. She went to high school in Clinton and became enamoured with the theatre, which is what led her to where she is today. But, before that, she took interest in sewing at a very young age under the tutelage of her mother.
In an interview with The Citizen, Delchiaro said she’s always been sewing, learning how to use a sewing machine from her mother when she was just five or six years old. However, it wasn’t until she was in her early 20s that a career in theatre and the arts became apparent to her.
She left Huron County and studied at Dalhousie University in Halifax before returning to the county. Since then, in about 2015, she’s worked on productions all over the country, but never in her backyard at the Blyth Festival.
While she’s spent much of her life at a sewing machine, Delchiaro says creating garments for the theatre is a far different task than it is for our day-to-day clothes.
Using the example of a lavish musical, she said characters will have to be dressed in what appear to be three-piece suits, but have the ability to do high kicks or dance very physically, both things that don’t exactly come naturally to someone while wearing a three-piece suit. As a result, there have to be considerations made for flexibility, versatility and durability. She says theatre costumes endure a lot more wear and tear than street clothes, which is another thing those in her field need to take into consideration.
Another consideration for a show like that is the ability of an actor to make a wardrobe quick-change that takes only about a minute. Again, using the three-piece suit as an example, it can be necessary to be designed in a way that an actor can get out of it and into something else in just a minute or two, which further complicates the costume design process.
While at the time of the interview Delchiaro hadn’t begun much of the work she would do on Chronicles of Sarnia, she said she was delighted to get the call from the Blyth Festival, a theatre she’d attended as a teen growing up less than a half-hour away. Being able to work at this theatre, she said, is a real honour.
She has a lot of respect for the theatre, she said, because she feels there should be more venues like the Blyth Festival all across the province. The strength of regional theatre, she said, should be more widespread.
Chronicles of Sarnia opens on Saturday, Aug. 5 at 2 p.m. and closes on Friday, Aug. 18.