The fashions of the Opera

Karen Page buried in the wardrobe department of the Maltings organising period costume for the upcoming Phantom of the Opera
Karen Page buried in the wardrobe department of the Maltings organising period costume for the upcoming Phantom of the Opera

The curtain went up Maltings Youth Theatre’s ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ last night and audiences’ eyes can’t fail to have been drawn to the costumes donned by the cast.

The lady responsible for the grand garments is Karen Page, who has managed to source a wealth of clothes to fit the era the famous Andrew Lloyd Webber musical is set in.

And it’s just as well she knows her stuff as she had 40 bodies to clothe, and as with any theatrical production on the scale of ‘Phantom’ one outfit per person just didn’t cut the mustard.

But for Karen, who used to work at Paxton House, being tasked with the job of making sure the costumes have just as much impact as the musical’s famous score has been a challenge she’s revelled in.

“My background is theatre so as much as it’s been a lot of hard work it’s been a lot of fun.

“I’ve made a lot of connections over the years from working in different places and I’ve been able to call on them as well as using some of the great costumes The Maltings already had.

“It’s not the first show I’ve done this year- I did ‘The Words in the Wires’ in the summer but ‘Phantom’ is on a much larger scale.

“One of the best but also hardest scenes to choreograph was ‘Masquerade’. It’s one of the show’s big numbers where everyone is on stage. Thankfully I’ve had the wonderful Alyson Farmer from Duns making some absolutely brilliant masks.”

Karen is juggling her costume commitments with running her own business- Northumberland’s first ever vegan B&B- and whilst she’s overjoyed that it’s been a huge success so far, the combination of both has left with very little free time.

“I’ll be busy in the B&B and then my head will be full of ‘Phantom’ songs and ideas!”

Karen would like to thank Ann and Veronica at The Maltings, Val & Alan Knowles, Alyson Farmer, Bill Hindmarsh, Brenda Crowcroft, Judith Savage and Michael and Len Shepherd for their help.