Last month a group of Academy of Art University costume majors and recent graduates met with David Zinn, a three time Tony nominee for Costume Design. This is the second time that Zinn has met with the costume design students of Academy of Art University.
Previously, when the program was designing and producing a seminar, he conducted an interview with the class via Skype. Since then he has designed a Broadway production with Alan Rickman. The class reported that he was incredibly gracious, answering questions about how he approached the show as well as giving career advice. When Margaret Whitaker, Costume Design Coordinator, knew he was going to be back in town she approached him about coming in person.
He was in San Francisco designing sets and costumes for Amelie, the new musical version of the film at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. Zinn gave the costume design students a detailed backstage tour of his sets and costume designs and then told the students a little bit about his career and design process. Over the course of 90 minutes, the group talked about the role of education in preparing students for a career in theatre, what the important relationships are for costume designers to foster a show, and how to build trust between yourself and actors.
While Amelie is contemporary, due to the specificity of color and pattern needs, the costume shop at Berkeley Repertory Theatre built nearly everything for the production and commissioned knitters to do some of the sweaters seen in the show.
Written By: Margaret Whitaker, Academy of Art University Costume Design Coordinator