Securing high quality, relevant work experience in the sixth form is always a challenge, but so important to a student’s future career development. This is not always possible in Penrith. Trying to link past and current students is an important facet of the recently established UCC Alumni (Old Students) Association. With this aim, Jorie Griffiths (the coordinator) recently contacted Deborah Tallentire who left the College in 1999 to enjoy a very bright future within the world of costume and textiles. This initial contact produced a remarkable opportunity!
Deborah developed into an outstanding artist during her A level programme at UCC and progressed from us onto Cumbria Institute of the Arts to study for a Foundation Diploma in Fine Art. Subsequently she gained an HND at the University of Huddersfield and this led onto her degree, BA Honours, Costume for Screen and Stage at the Arts Institute in Bournemouth and further study at London College of Fashion. Post degree she worked as a Tailor at the world renowned costume house, Angels the Costumiers, London for four and a half years. Some of Deborah’s work has also been exhibited at London galleries. Deborah established her own business several years ago and now based in Crystal Palace, she has established herself as a leading Gentleman’s Bespoke Tailor and Theatrical Costume Maker within the Entertainment Industry. She has designed and produced costumes for a wide range of TV, film and theatrical productions. Some of her most flamboyant work has been for productions and shows in the West End. Her most recent contract was as a costume cutter with the English National Opera for their production of the Marriage of Figaro based at the London Coliseum directed by Fiona Shaw.
Dora Hill, a very talented A level Art, Art Textiles and Drama student in Year 13 was able to spend almost a week working alongside Deborah and other costumiers on this production in London. Amongst other duties, she spent an afternoon selecting costume items from the Opera’s casual wardrobe department, allocating them to a set of strict sizes and style criteria for the production. She made a pair of trousers for a male chorus member and assisted with the creation of a loose corset for a chorus lady. On the last day of Dora’s experience, she got to grips with the complex undergarments which are so important to enhance the shape of dresses and make them appear accurate and historically correct in silhouette. Dora now has no doubt how to make and fit a “bum roll” as there were over 10 to make for the ladies chorus performance.
Dora is so thrilled about her time spent with Deborah, from whom she has learned so much. She was so keen to say, “This fantastic opportunity has opened my eyes to a different world; a hidden industry which I have just begun to scratch the surface of. Deborah immediately made me feel completely at ease and was so supportive. She gave me real, hands on work to do and it was so fascinating observing such talented people produce costumes so quickly and so professionally. Deborah works so hard and obviously loves her role”.
The work experience was so successful that Dora and members of her family were invited to the recent final dress rehearsal for the Marriage of Figaro, which they were thrilled to attend. Deborah thoroughly enjoyed meeting Dora and was keen to say, “Dora was a very attentive and professional member of the Costume Production Team, putting maximum effort into every task she was given brought stunning results to light and assisted greatly with costume development. Her versatile nature helped her blend beautifully with the team in costume production at the English National Opera. It is this sort of versatility and willingness to adapt to meet the needs of the job in had that made Dora’s experience so very successful.”
Not only has this week given Dora a realistic insight into the work of a first class theatrical costumier, but has also helped Dora to determine her future and explore the University options available to her. She has even been able to use some of Deborah’s work as research for her most recent A level assignment.
Our most grateful thanks go to Deborah Tallentire and members of her team for providing such a worthwhile and exciting challenge for Dora and giving so generously of their time and expertise.
You can view some of Deborah’s work and commissions at: www.facebook.com/DebsTallentireTailoringandCostume.
And on Twitter at: DebsTallentire@TallentireSuits
Deborah’s portfolio of work to date includes: Film: Mrs Henderson Presents, Golden Compass, Dorian Gray and The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. TV: Heartbeat. Theatre: Phantom of the Opera, Shrek the musical, Spamalot, Love never dies and The Batman Arena Tour. Opera: The Marriage of Figaro and Manon
If you would like to join the UCC Alumni Association, please contact: