FROM a colourful kaftan worn by the late, great soprano Cara O’Sullivan in Pagliacci in 2012, to an army green T-shirt worn by singer/songwriter Mick Flannery for the world premiere of Evening Train at the Everyman in 2019, there is an opportunity this weekend to buy costumes, vintage and high street fashion that have treaded the boards at the venue.
With the Everyman’s costume department bursting at the seams, hundreds of items will be on sale in the bar and the foyer of the venue. And members of the public who buy the clothes will be supporting sustainable fashion - and contributing to the theatre’s coffers.
As the Everyman’s Anna Marie Coughlan, head of development and partnerships, says: “Over the years, we have invested a lot in costumes. This clear-out will let the public see behind the scenes. Obviously, costumes are a massive part of theatre and we have some amazing pieces.
“Also, not a lot of people know that we are a charity so this fund-raiser will highlight that. We get just 6% of our funding from the Government. The rest comes through ticket sales, donations, support from friends and members.
“Anything we get goes straight back into developing shows and supporting artists. The public are great. They love the Everyman. Being a cultural hub for the community and looking after the building (which is 126 years old) is a big ask.”
Anna Marie adds that “curating costumes is a huge project in itself; just picking them, making them and choosing the right costumes for the shows. We have several costumes designers (who are freelance.)”
They include Lisa Zagone, Valentina Gambardella, Deirdre Dwyer, Jessica Healy-Rettig and Molly Ó Catháin.
“With opera, the costume designer is there right from the start for the concept sketching and drawing. The costumes have to fit in with the set.
“If there’s movement involved, like dance, the costumes have to work for the performers. It will be interesting to see if people will spot the era of the various shows or spot the shows themselves.”
Other costumes on sale are a tie-dyed cotton smock dress worn by Siobhan McSweeney in Kevin Barry’s play, Autumn Royal, which premiered at the Everyman in 2017; a sequined black and gold top worn by Gina Moxley in Lynda Radley’s play, Futureproof, presented by the Everyman as part of the Cork Midsummer Festival in 2017, and a grey shift dress worn by soprano Majella Cullagh in Side By Side By Sondheim in 2010.
There are also the denim jacket worn by Gus McDonagh and an ’80s style sporty shell jacket worn by Amy McElhatton in The Lonesome West by Martin McDonagh, staged at the theatre in 2018. And there’s a red duffel coat worn by Mary-Lou McCarthy and a turquoise blouse worn by Áine Ní Laoighre in Frank McGuinness’s The Factory Girls, directed by Julie Kelleher.
Everyman head of marketing, Sinead Murphy, says the sale of costumes “is geared towards people who are thrifters. It’s for people that are interested in sustainability and not fast fashion. The eras we’re covering are the ’80s and ’90s. The ’90s are having a revival at the moment.
“I think a lot of people coming to the fundraiser will be quite young as they tend to be more conscious of the environment. There is a big movement among young people to buy second vintage fashion.”
Last week, when the fundraiser was being organised, a multi-purpose room at the Everyman had six rails of costumes and piles of shoes heaped on the floor. But that was only a sample of what will be on offer. It’s necessary to have the sale as there is a lack of storage space in the building. There are costumes scattered around different rooms and spaces at the Everyman.
“The Everyman has been a functioning theatre since 1990, so some of the costumes go back to over 30 years. We have had an amazing response to the sale so far.
“The eager beavers who booked a ticket in advance can come in and have first dibs during a two-hour window on Saturday from 11am.”
Early access, which costs €10, includes a mimosa cocktail. General admission is free of charge.
Anna Marie says that it’s not difficult to come up with fund-raising ideas.
“By our nature, we are storytellers. But what is hard is getting the message out about how much support the arts need.
“Ticket sales keep us ticking over but we do need extra support and corporate partnerships. Financially, we are doing well. We have a good team managing the building. But the arts cost a lot of money. Running a theatre has got so expensive.”
If you feel like some retail therapy that will go to a worthy cause, drop into the Everyman at the weekend, browse the rails, enjoy a drink - and who knows what you might pick up...
Contact 021 4501673.