The Bard's Garb


The audience can never truly appreciate all the work that goes into a costume at the Texas Shakespeare Festival.

A chorus of oohs and aahs greeted each of the hand-crafted, superb examples of the hard work of TSF’s costume shop Thursday as the Kilgore Woman’s Club took in a private fashion show during their annual luncheon at First Christian Church.

Appreciative as the audience was, there was a level of detail invisible to the naked eye, said TSF Artistic Associates Meaghan and Matthew Simpson: under layer upon layer of thread, fabric and wire, there are intricate touches – some historic, some artistic – as the festival’s artisans bring the fashion of the worlds of Shakespeare, Moliere and other playwrights to life.

"It's not unusual for us to have 1,000 costume pieces in a season," Matthew Simpson said. "And they have about a week for each show."

The hours spent in the Texas Shakespeare Festival Center yield dozens of custom-tailored costumes each season, part of a growing collection the company has amassed in 32 seasons at Kilgore College. The members of the woman’s club enjoyed a brief sample during Thursday’s fashion show in addition to a rare glimpse of the myriad pieces of a costume, seen and unseen, as TSF Founder & Artistic Director Raymond Caldwell and his associates pulled back the curtain.

The 33rd season of the Texas Shakespeare Festival opens June 28. Learn more at


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