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Behind the scenes with Sunderland wardrobe mistress

UK Productions Wardrobe Mistree Angela Donkin making adjustment to one of the costume from the Sunderland Empire Theatre Panto Peter Pan.

UK Productions Wardrobe Mistree Angela Donkin making adjustment to one of the costume from the Sunderland Empire Theatre Panto Peter Pan.

Meet the woman who is helping to create the magic of Peter Pan. Reporter MONICA TURNBULL went backstage at this year’s panto to meet wardrobe mistress Angela Donkin.

PIRATES, mermaids and Lost Boys. Angela Donkin has stitched and darned for them all.

The wardrobe mistress working on the Sunderland Empire’s panto is helping to create the on-stage magic, behind the scenes.

Angela, 28, has been working in the wardrobe department for eight years.

As she puts it, she fell into the job, after completing an English degree at university.

“They were a seamstress short for one of the shows,” she said. “I could sew, but I had never had anything to do with theatre before.

“I’ve done it the hard way.”

Angela is working for UK Productions’ Peter Pan at the Empire.

As wardrobe mistress, she is in charge of the costumes for the entire cast of the pantomime.

“I love it,” she said.

“It is the first time I have run the wardrobe for panto.

“I did all the original dress fittings with the cast and initial alterations to their costumes.

“I’m in charge of dressing Tom Lister, who plays Captain Hook, during the performance. And I have a dresser, Laura, who dresses the ensemble.”

Angela, who will be working for the Sunderland Empire as wardrobe mistress when The Rocky Horror show comes to the theatre in February, said: “It is hard work and long hours.

“My fingers hurt from all the sewing.

“There is stuff to do every day, nearly all the costumes need repairing or altering, and cleaning, after every performance.

“But when you see the audience’s reactions it is worth it.”

Angela, whose sister is a school teacher, said: “My family love my job, because it is different.

“They are interested because they get to see the other side of the productions too.

“It is totally different from my sister who is a teacher.

“She is the educated one and I am the creative one.”

Angela, who never stopped working during our interview, said: “It is quite nice on this show, because quite a few of the costumes are new.

“They look really good.

“Costumes vary a lot on shows, as do the costs.

“Some use clothes from Primark, some from H&M and some use Marks & Spencer.

“Because this is panto, most of ours are made, and a lot have been made new for the show this year.”

Angela, from South Shields, said: “Every day is different, but we get to see the benefits of our hard work.

“And what is nice about this production is that everyone has come together to work as a team.

“All the cast are lovely, and Tom is very funny, and makes a brilliant Captain Hook.

“Working in this industry you get to meet so many different people, and some really interesting people.”

Angela will work on Peter Pan until the show finishes on Sunday.

She said: “It’s really long hours, at least 13 hours a day now, and it was even longer to start with.

“I’m looking forward to having some time off after this.”

Twitter: @Monica_Turnbull

 

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