UNCSA costume design program is among world's top 10, says Hollywood Reporter for third consecutive year
The costume design program at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts is among the top 10 of its kind in the world, according to The Hollywood Reporter (THR)’s list published in January. The program in UNCSA’s School of Design & Production has been in the top 10 since the list began in 2018.
To develop the list, THR consulted with costume designers and professors to choose 10 top schools based on curriculum, reputation, alumni success and networking opportunities.
“Once again our stellar costume design program at UNCSA has received the recognition it deserves,” said Interim Chancellor Brian Cole. “The expertise of our faculty, the intensity of our curriculum, and the success of our alumni position us at the top of the pack for training generations of creative storytellers.”
The UNCSA costume design program “trains in a broad range of theoretical coursework from all genres, from contemporary plays, musicals, Shakespeare and the classics to opera, circus, dance, film and television,” said THR. “Students can participate in 26 theatrical productions and 10 student films in an 80,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art production space,” it added.
D&P Dean Michael Kelley, an alumnus of the program, said his graduates are in high demand. “Everyone loves a good story, and costumes advance the story by telling us something about the characters and their relationships. We’re training costume designers who have the vision and creativity, but also the technical knowledge and work ethic to become leaders in the industries they serve.”
UNCSA alumnus, Tony- and Emmy Award-winning alumnus Paul Tazewell (“Hamilton,” “The Wiz! Live”), was among the costume designers interviewed by THR. Tazewell, who received an undergraduate degree in 1986, values his UNCSA experience so much that he established a merit scholarship for designers of color.
Tazewell told THR that the program prepared him for the 2019 film “Harriet,” with its extensive number of pre-Civil War costumes. "I learned how to organize a film of that size as well as the approach to conceptualizing the period costumes."
The article also sites alumnus Stef Maus, whose credits include “Madam Secretary,” “Orange Is the New Black” and “Boardwalk Empire.”
Current faculty include Bill Brewer, who has designed numerous projects for PBS and was a designer for Lucasfilm, in addition to many stage productions; Pam Knourek, whose television and film credits include “Field of Dreams,” “Sleeping With the Enemy,” “House of Cards” and “Betsy’s Wedding”; alumnus Michael Sharpe, who was assistant costume designer on television shows “Iron Fist,” “Luke Cage” and “Jessica Jones”; and alumna Kjersten Lester-Moratzka, who teaches costume technology and has experience as a principal draper for Santa Fe Opera and as a freelance draper for a the Metropolitan Opera and Broadway productions.
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