Celebrating Costume Designer Lynn Addleman

We’re taking Canada Day off (happy Canada Day, everyone!) before beginning our final week of performances for this season. Only four performances of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Odell Park and three of Measure for Measure in Barracks Square remain. Both have been getting rave reviews from audience members, and with more uncertain weather in the forecast, you’ll want to plan carefully to make sure you don’t miss them!

If you’ve seen the shows, or photos from them, you know how fabulous the costumes in both productions are. That’s all the work of our amazing costume designer of many years running, Lynn Addleman, a woman who has lent her talents to countless Fredericton productions over the years, and who was awarded the Playhouse Honours Award for her contributions to theatre in the community. Below, an interview with Lynn by Bard in the Barracks publicist Matt Carter.lynn

Lynn Addleman has been designing costumes for Bard in the Barracks since our 2010 production of Macbeth. That was our second season to include performances in Odell Park and our first introduction to Lynn’s incredible skill and patience.

“I love Bard in the Barracks,” says Lynn. “I love the adventure of moving scene to scene in Odell Park and so I like to help to make it happen each year.”

Since our first production of Macbeth, there have been seasons with one production and others with two running in tandem between Odell Park and Barracks Square. That’s a lot of actors to outfit, and lot of measurements to take and a lot of final fittings and adjustments before opening night. With more than ten BITB productions now under her belt and over a hundred costumes created, Lynn has certainly become an intergral part of the Bard family. And to think, this all started with a few simple Halloween costumes.

“I started making costumes when my kids were little,” she said. “I would make their Halloween costumes. Eventually my sons would all get involved in musical productions at Fredericton High School and so I started helping with costumes for those shows. My youngest son is 37 years old now so I have been doing this work for quite a while.”

After taking a position in the Resource Department at Fredericton High School, Lynn’s interest in costumes became a bit more involved.

“That was a huge endeavor because it involved costuming over 100 kids for musicals every fall,” she said. “So that’s why I have grey hair. I’m completely untrained so I’m always flying by the seat of my pants and doing everything by trial and error. It can be very frightening and time consuming but somehow it usually works out.”

Soon after, other theatre companies from around the city began borrowing from FHS’s vast costume supply and asking Lynn to lend a hand.

Her work with each season of Bard in the Barracks follows a similar pattern. She first meets with Artistic Director Len Falkenstein to learn which plays will be performed and then begins her research into the stories and the period for each play.

“Len tells me what shows he’s decided on and then I reread the plays and make a few notes about costumes,” she said. “I have an English degree and I did quite a bit of Shakespeare study when I was doing my honours.

“He usually tells me what his concept is. For instance, this year’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream is centered around Hollywood glamor of the 40s and 50s. And I must admit, I really had a hard time getting my head around how we were going to do that in the woods. I’m still not quite sure but I’m looking forward to seeing it happen.”

Having become an in-demand costume designer with a number of annual commitments throughout the city, Lynn admits one of the biggest challenges each year is simply finding a balance between getting things prepared and enjoying what she has helped create.

“My husband is a saint,” she said. “He puts up with costumes and costume bits all over the house. And he’ll also do the cooking and the shopping. He loves Bard in the Barracks too, but probably not as obsessive as I do. I go to every single show that I can because I just love it that much.


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