How to become a wardrobe technician in a theatre: Sophie's story

Meet Sophie, 21, and find out about life as a wardrobe technician at the Royal Opera House in central London. Part of our Bitesize world of work series.

I'm so glad I took the time to think about what I really wanted to do.

  • Sophie was academic at school and chose to study Biology, Chemistry and Theology for A-level
  • She was the only one of her friends who didn't go to university straight away. It was daunting, but her sister encouraged her to keep her options open
  • After seeing an apprenticeship advertised on the Royal Opera House website, she decided to pursue her more creative side
  • Sophie is responsible for looking after the costumes for shows, keeping them clean, making any last-minute alterations, and helping out with quick changes during performances. Her full job title is Costume Performance Support Technician. This job is similar to Wardrobe Assistant, which we have more details on below.

Sophie's career path

What to expect if you want to be a wardrobe assistant

Wardrobe assistants help to make, find, and look after clothes and costumes used in theatre, film and TV productions. The nature of the job means that you might work in a fixed position in a theatre like Sophie, or work in lots of different locations on sets. It's very varied work, and the salary and working hours can vary.

  • Wardrobe assistant salary: Variable per year
  • Wardrobe assistant working hours: 41 to 43 hours per week

What qualifications do you need to be a wardrobe assistant?

  • Typical entry requirements: To get this job, you can take a higher national diploma, degree or postgraduate qualification in Costume Design, Fashion or Textiles. This could give you an advantage later if you want to become a costume designer. You could start by doing a college course to get some of the skills needed for this job, for example:

    • Level 2 Certificate in Fashion
    • Level 3 Certificate in Theatre Support Costume and Wardrobe
      You can also get into this job by doing a broadcast production assistant advanced apprenticeship. This can be used to get into a lot of different jobs in film and TV, including costume runner and wardrobe assistant.

This information is a guide (sources: LMI for All, National Careers Service)

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