Backstage at the Festival!

by Lisa Middleton

We get a lot of questions from patrons asking, “What happens backstage and what does it look like?”  So I took a trip halfway around the Festival to share some backstage insights with you! One problem… there was so much to show you, we had to split it into two blogs! So without further ado, here is part one!

Let’s start at the very beginning – a very good place to start! Stage Door!

Luckily, I passed security 😉 – so let the fun begin! If there is one thing you’ll find of a lot of backstage, it’s costumes. We have to house costumes for four productions here. With 114 actors to dress, including multiple costumes changes, the dresses and slacks begin to pile up. Here is one of many — and I mean many – racks you’ll find backstage.

There might be costumes everywhere, but they are easy to store compared our sets! Where do we keep them when they’re not on stage? Backstage, of course!  If you’ve been to a show, you know just how fabulous (and large) our sets are. So we’ve created extra storage in cargo trailers right off stage door!

These photos are a little like Where’s Waldo – the Where’s Lisa edition. 😉

And a close up.  I spy with my little eye… pieces of 42nd Street and Much Ado About Nothing!

Buckets and chandeliers… only backstage at the Festival!

 Did I mention that they modeled the poster for Pretty Lady after me? I think they really caught the subtleties of my character!

And what would a trip backstage be without peeking inside some dressing rooms?
And hey, a little touch-up for myself!  Posing for pictures is hard work!

On to wigs. Our Wigs and Makeup Department can also be found backstage at the Festival, and they are creating some seriously amazing work! Here’s a wall of some of their creations.


Here’s a close up.  Each hair is individually attached!


I need to come backstage and do this more often! This is relaxing!

But nothing gets me up and moving like shoes! Here are just some of the 140 pairs of shoes you’ll see tapping across the stage in 42nd Street!

 And I couldn’t resist picking out a pair for myself… Shhh! Don’t tell!

*Note to self: Don’t move the trolley… heads will roll!

With great costumes comes great responsibility – as well as laundry!

 It’s hard work washing all those clothes!

And when all of the laundry is done, it’s folded and returned! Even the undies!


Now we’re in the money! Does anyone recognize these?

Time for my fitting! Is it just me or are these mirrors magical? One of many fitting rooms backstage!

How about some fabric to go with that fitting? We’ve got a pretty good selection…

I pick this one! White looks good on everyone, right? 😉

Now let’s make that dress!

The adventure’s not over! Keep watching our blog for more of our behind the scenes exclusive at the Festival Theatre!

What surprised you most about backstage?

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11 thoughts on “Backstage at the Festival!

  1. The detail in making the wigs in incredible. The best of the best work at Stratford (including you!)

    But, you didn’t show the sword room! Braeden will be so sad. He lost his pictures 😦

    Thanks for sharing the tour with us!

    • They had a picture of the sword/gun room in the Festival Theatre in the past. Braeden took a picture of a picture LOL Yes, he is very much a sword-geek. He has been playing swords since before he could talk. He’s 14 now and has a nice little collection 😛

  2. One of my strongest memories of the Festival Theatre will always be the sound of rolling wheels as they change from one production to another, it was a rare show I didn’t hear them after.

  3. Pingback: Backstage at the Festival – Part II! | Beyond the Footlights: Stratford Shakespeare Festival Insights

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