Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2018

Degree Name

MFA (Master of Fine Arts)

Degree In

Theatre Arts

First Advisor

Stone, R Eric

First Committee Member

Winn, Bryon

Second Committee Member

Arthur, Loyce


The role of a costume designer in a theatrical production is influential in creating

character, time, and space. Costumes are the way in which a costume designer expresses a

character’s personality, emotions, social status, and other personal idiosyncrasies. The job of a costume designer is to know how a character’s identity influences how they dress themselves. As a character develops throughout the performance, so must their clothing. Costumes show how a character ages, transforms, or regresses over the arc of a production. Not only do costumes show character details, they help clue the audience into time of day, season of the year, and whether the scene takes place indoors or out of doors. Costume designers draw inspiration from period images, paintings, writings, artwork, and fashion. A costume designer understands how small details within clothing can assist an audience’s understanding of character, time, and space.

This thesis portfolio includes images and descriptions of my costume designs at the University of Iowa. This portfolio contains both realized productions and renderings from class work to show the evolution of my design work over the course of my Master of Fine Arts education. The entire breadth of my thesis portfolio can be found at the link:


Character, Costume, Design, Theatre


viii, 41 pages


This thesis has been optimized for improved web viewing. If you require the original version, contact the University Archives at the University of Iowa:


Copyright © 2018 Hayley Melissa Ryan