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Production Resources
Here's a list of production resources to help teachers.

Lorna (at Peterhead Academy) suggested: "and cheap !" "Good for tips but you'll find they're expensive and you might want to buy elsewhere." "These guys have a really cool new bodypaint stuff that can either be sponged or airbrushed on. I've never used it but it looks pretty cool." "This woman doesn't have online ordering. You have to e-mail her and bank transfer or post a cheque but she has some really unusual products like UV face paints (and they do work). She was really helpful and rushed an order for us last year. A little more expensive but for the special bit of make-up, totally worth it. She also does face paint classes so check out the website." "This is where I got my gold body paint from last year. You get it in gold, silver, bronze, copper, ivory and grey. It goes on so easily and you only need one coat. One bottle is enough for maybe 4 people. It stinks and my fingers were green for about a fortnight afterwards but if you check out the old Peterhead Academy mini-pics and look at Zeus you'll see the results."

We've recently been made aware of "Fancy Dress Ball", a company based in Halifax, West Yorkshire but dealing in orders from around the UK. They are described as "a family run business and happen to be one of the largest online costume suppliers in the UK. We often donate costumes to charity, productions and shows in the UK and thought we would ask if you could add us as an alternative resource"

You'll find their website at ... if you use them, let us know how it went ?

Another company that has just (October 2014) got in touch is "Redstar Fancy Dress" at

They say "We supply various costumes which have been popular with school productions so I thought it could be of use to you? If it is helpful we could also give you a discount code for teachers and other visitors to use?"
As before, if you use them, let us know how it went.

Lorna at Peterhead Academy suggests: A good place to order everything from shoes to material to masks to full costumes. Watch out for items that only come in child/infant sizes though. If you make your own costumes be sure to check this place out. One stop shop for hundreds of links. Never underestimate fancy dress shops for costumes and props.

Be wise with your budget though when you go down this route.

Theresa Cook of Matthew Humberstone school writes:

The following are not eBay shops although I think they do put some items on at times. (And the first two have velvet as stock items.) The third one is absolutely brilliant when you need large quantities of the same fabric, as they sell by the roll as well as by the metre.
Hope this helps. I know how frustrating it is when you have a picture in your mind of the costume you want to produce but can't find the fabric you need!


More information and links:

Dr Tara Maginnis used to have a free online teach-yourself course called "THE HISTORY OF FASHION AND DRESS" available on the interweb (quite like that word :)
Sadly, it doesn't seem to be available online any more, and her website at has morphed into a sort of Wiki for Costumiers. However, it's still well worth a read! THE COSTUME PAGE- Costuming Resources Online This is a massive collection of links leading to all sorts of goodies about making costumes etc for shows. Take your time in checking out the various sites it lists.

THEATRECRAFTS is a website containing lots of links to costume material websites and so on.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art website contains details of their massive collection of costumes and costume-related material.
Get yourself along to the theatre for ideas. Amateur and professional productions can give amazing ideas.

For supplies, a "must own" is a ScrewFix catalogue.

Your local builders, lumber yards and such are a good place to find leftover wood for free or next to nothing. Put the estimated cost of your donations into the budget though. You might even get a local joiner interested enough in your cause to actually help with the building. This is a valuable sort of 'in kind' donation.

Information make up, costumes and sets were kindly provided by Lorna at Peterhead Academy
Creative Lighting Design (UK) by John Watson, who gives creative lighting workshops for teachers and gets rave reviews from those who have experienced one of his sessions.

He brings along a "room-sized" completely working model theatre which is first assembled by your students before the lighting-design part of the day starts and gets everyone involved in a hands-on way. I've seen it in action once (at the Education Show at the NEC some years ago) and gather that it's now even better.

Stage Lightingis a fun online Macromedia Shockwave 3-D representation of a stage with three shapes and two people on stage (or not) lit with three lights up above and one from each side. You can experiment with changing the attributes of pretty much everything there, and it's interesting.

Selecon Lighting has a good introduction to Stage Lighting on their website.

The Strand Archive is the website for information about many of those aged dust-covered lighting units you may well have either still hanging up on the bars above the school stage, or kicking around on the floor somewhere behind all the Music Dept's abandoned gear. Whether they're badged "Strand" or "Furse", you'll find lots of information here and maybe you'll be able to get someone to bring them back into useful service too.

Over-and-Under Cable Coiling If you're into lighting, you'll be into cable-coiling as well. Here's a video from American Chris Babbie that shows you one way of doing it, the object being not only to have neat coils of cable at the end but also coils that will UNcoil without knotting,

Show Pictures Jon Ares is a designer working out of Portland, Oregon USA. He has included a selection of pictures of past shows in his portfolio.

Musicals & Dance Pics Michael Abrams (USA) has some nice, clear, fast pictures from his design work covering plays, musicals and dance productions.

Soundsnap host a collection of freely-available sound effects.

Sound Effects have a really useful set of effects on their website.

Sound Dogsalso have a really useful set of sound effects on their website.

Live Sound Mixing by Aussie sound engineer DUNCAN FRY. This is ideal for those working in school rock band. Duncan has a well-written guide to setting up and getting going when you've been "dropped into it", plus a whole lot more.

Joshua Stainsby has experience of mixing Rock Challenge soundtracks and offers a fast turnaround time, with finished mixes available both by download and on USB sticks: you can find many more details on his website at
ANIMATED "HOW TO TIE KNOTS" Designed by Alan W Grogono, the website is a joy to view. At some stage you WILL find a need to learn how to tie a particular knot whether you're involved in theatre activities or scouting/guiding, search-and-rescue, boating.

THE UNIVERSITY OF BATH (UK) STUDENT UNION'S BACKSTAGE TEAM maintain a very useful page of information that's relevant to school / college crews everywhere. See their safety and risk-assessment documents.

Jon Primrose (UK), from his base at the University of Exeter's Drama department, maintains an extremely comprehensive list of all those technical terms that theatre-types seem to use. It's an ideal reference for the shy among us. It also opens your eyes to possibilities.

If you're taking theatre over to venues across mainland Europe, then "THEATRE WORDS" edited in Sweden (ISBN number is 91-630-5666-6 and it's published by Sttf) could well be invaluable! Check which version you need here, and where to buy it from.

Arador Armour: Should you ever be tempted into having a go at making "real" body armour, this is the place to read up on how to do it.

School Shows: Peter Lathan (UK) is the creator of the "School Shows" website. You'll find lots of things here to interest anyone embarking on teaching drama, putting on a show, creating a production etc even though he said he'd run out of time to keep it up-to-date.

The National Council for Drama Training: has lots of pages relating to training in acting, stage management across the UK.
Staging and Technical

LIVEWIRE THEATRE CONSULTANTS can supply any extra lighting equipment needed for those magical moments of your piece. LiveWire know the rules of Rock Challenge and can advise on the most suitable equipment to use. All equipment comes fully PAT tested and with a certificate. We can also supply Flame proofing fluid or PAT test your own equipment. We operate mainly in the Southampton and Portsmouth areas but we have dealt with schools further afield.

Tega is rapidly becoming one of the top performing stage hire, sound and lighting companies around the UK. With massive stocks of new equipment and a highly skilled workforce we are able to provide stage hire, sound and lighting anywhere in the UK.

Video Footage
Visions Unlimited are specialists in multi-camera coverage of events in the UK and overseas, and offer a full range of supporting media services.

Nick Scott is a qualified photographer having gained the following distinctions; Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, Associate of the Master Photographers Association, and Associate of the British Institute of Professional Photographers.