Costume is an important aspect of a production, as it helps to:
As well as helping the audience to understand information about the character and the performance as a whole, performers can find it easier to ‘become’ their character once they try their costume on. Costumes can:
Costumes can also convey the context of the play, including the time period and geographical setting, following fashions and styles that evolve from one decade to the next. Performers wearing dinner jackets, bow ties and top hats could suggest the historical setting of the piece before any dialogue is spoken. Through local cultural dress or references to the climate, costume design can also help to convey the geographical setting of a play.
Costumes support the overall style of a production, along with the other design elements. If a production is naturalistic in style, then costumes should be realistic and recreate everyday life. However, a pantomime, which is far more theatrical, would feature grand and colourful costumes to support the overall style of the show.