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Q&A with backstage hero, Michael Farris

What is a Costume Shop Assistant?  

A Costume Shop Assistant is a helper and closer.  I assist the draper, tailor, sewing floor, firsthands, design assistants, crafts, and wardrobe.  I help the process of getting a show on stage when necessary.  I can also assist in anything from getting lunch for designers, shopping for last minute supplies, ordering supplies, stitching, or crafting.                                                                

What do you love most about your job as a Costume Shop Assistant? 

What I love about my job is being able to support my coworkers in creating magic on the stage.  Things can change quickly so my job is a little different every day, and that is a large part of what I love about it. Many of my skill sets can be utilized, and it keeps me on my toes.

How long have you worked at the Alley?

I started on a six-week contract and said I could leave after that if it did not work out... That six weeks turned into 26 years! And I am still here!  In that time I have worked as a stitcher, first hand, draper and designer for a few children’s touring shows. Every day I get to make the magic that the audience sees on stage.

Where are you originally from?

HOUSTON! I was born in St. Joseph Hospital and lived in Baytown through high school – Robert E. Lee Ganders!

What is your favorite show you’ve ever worked on at the Alley?

Hard to name a favorite… ‘The Scottish Play’ is high on the list, as is American Vaudeville.

What are your interests or hobbies outside of theatre?

One of my hobbies is hand beading, and I have been lucky enough to embellish some amazing costumes designed by world renowned costume designers. I learned hand beading by working on the Phantom of the Opera tour as a stitcher/beader. It has become something of an obsession. I also make handmade greeting cards, and I love visiting the Menil Collection (almost every weekend).

Tell us a fun fact about yourself!

I was voted Miss Carmen Miranda on a cruise to Mexico!