Peyton Butler: student costume designer dresses actors

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Peyton Butler: student costume designer dresses actors

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Senior Peyton Butler is a prominent and talented member of both the Visual Art and Theater departments, and while the two are very different from each other, Butler bridges her two interests with a talents that she rarely gets the chance to showcase at school: sewing.

This year, she will be designing and creating the costumes for the winter play, Much Ado About Nothing, with the help of a professional costume designer. The Shakespearean play debuts February 21st and will be directed by Mr. Fitzgerald.

“Last year I was the first student from Wilsonville to enter a technical entry for State Thespians Competition!” exclaims Butler. Her entry is what inspired her to use her art skills for theater design and it also caught the eye of Mr. Fitzgerald, who asked Butler to do the costumes for Much Ado About Nothing at the end of her Junior year.

“This year, I will be doing the same thing, but using the current production designs I am making for Much Ado About Nothing. I get to go and compete in Salem, and present my designs to judges, and compete with other students who are designing other costumes,” says Butler about the 2019 State Thespians Competition.

Butler says her art wasn’t inspired by a singular production but “just my love of theatre in general. I really like acting, and I also really love art, so costume design was a good combination of two things I am passionate about.”

For Butler, costuming runs in her family “My mom taught me how to sew at a really young age because she used to sew things for a living. Knowing how to sew has really helped me in knowing how to take something from a drawn picture, to a full piece of clothing.”

Thankfully, Butler will not have to costume the entire cast alone. Helping her is professional costumer Heather Nunn, a graduate of George Fox University. “She is going to help me get measurements for student actors, helping me to sew pieces, as well as going to different schools to get costumes I need,” says Butler

While the play is by Shakespeare, the time period of Wilsonvilles production will be centuries ahead of the original production. Butler says “Since Much Ado About Nothing will be set during post World War 1 England, many male characters will be dressed in military uniforms. For ladies, a large majority of them will be in varying dresses.”

Instead of focusing on singular pieces of clothing Butler says “I start by thinking about who the character its being made for is, and then moving on to the outfit as a whole.”

She says that she makes the characters’ costumes work harmoniously “by making sure my art style is continuous throughout all the pieces, as well as picking colors that will look well together on stage.”

Even though the play is showing in April, Butler has gotten a head start. “I have been pulling multiple costumes from our prop loft, all of which are possible contenders for the final costumes that will be used if the director approves. I also have about about half my designs done.”