Theatre Studies

Amelia Edmonds

The Geelong College, Newtown
Wadawurrung Country

A collection of costume items: a copper corset with metal chain; a black leather boot with red laces; a brown top hat with a red flower; a pair of red and white gloves; red-tinted glasses.
Costume and prop design for The Threepenny Opera, Amelia Edmonds, Top Designs 2022. Photo by Nicole Cleary, courtesy of the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority.

Ballad Singer (The Threepenny Opera, Bertolt Brecht, translated by Ralph Manheim and John Wilett)

Costume and prop design: Copper, metal chain, eyelets, wood, cotton, Velcro, mesh, silk, thread, cord, hat, silk gloves, leather boot, glasses, paint

My costume and prop design are inspired by the Ballad Singer, who narrates the prologue of the play and draws the audience into a world of ruthless competition. As the Ballad Singer appears only at the beginning of The Threepenny Opera, I wanted her to represent the play’s overarching themes of deceit, propaganda and hypocrisy. I have used the compositional elements of emphasis and contrast in my design to communicate these themes.

Within the play, Brecht explores how information plays an essential component in the control that certain characters hold. I was drawn to how relevant the play’s themes of power, corruption, and societal disarray are in the modern world. My artistic vision responds to how these themes appear both in the play and modern media.

My designs highlight the character’s moral conflict and emphasise the desperation of the play’s characters, who are prepared to do whatever they need to survive.

Ellen McNeil

Sandringham College, Sandringham
Bunurong Country

A painted wall features a window and wallpaper of goldfish. Through the window is a landscape of hills, water and a temple. The designer models the costume, a green Yi with wide sleeves and embroidered goldfish, and demonstrates the transformation of the set to represent a ghost.
Set and costume design for A Ghost in my Suitcase, Ellen McNeil, Top Designs 2022. Photo by Nicole Cleary, courtesy of the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority.

Por Por (A Ghost in my Suitcase, Vanessa Bates, adapted from the novel by Gabrielle Wang)

Costume and set design: Bamboo, wood, linen bedsheets, recycled wardrobe doors, recycled room divider, fishing wire, fishing tackle, cardboard, acrylic paint, nylon fabric, masking tape 

My costume and set design respond to the character Por Por, who drives the narrative of the play through changing contexts. I have created a set design that transforms through different iterations when activated by the actor on stage. I have used the children's theatre convention of puppetry to surprise the audience and bring fantastical elements of the script to life. My design conceals a wire within the set that, when pulled by the actor, brings to life a fabric ghost.

I have further drawn on the children's theatre convention of power of the imagination and painted stylised landscapes, inspired by Chinese art, onto the set design screens. I have used relaxed brushstrokes to build texture on the screens and create whimsical contextual cues. My dramaturgical research uncovered that goldfish are a common colourful image in Chinese art. I have painted nine painted goldfish onto one screen using Feng Shui auspicious numbers; the one grey fish signifies a new beginning, two orange fish represent cooperation and balance, six red fish good fortune and nine fish in total represents the culmination of a cycle. My number choices are inspired by the main themes of the play of discovery, acceptance, and reconnection.

Hand embroidered goldfish have also been incorporated in the sleeves of Por Por’s costume.

The colour choices of my costume are inspired by Feng Shui colour theory. The main body of Por Por’s Yi is pale sage, a colour commonly associated with family. The burnished orange on the lining of the costume reflects connection and conversation. The green and orange of the Yi is cohesive with the overall colour palette onstage.

Saber Tang

Sandringham College, Sandringham
Bunurong Country

The designer is caught mid-jump modelling costume and makeup. A deep blue leotard is embellished with blue ruffles and LED lights. They have a blue waive painted across the face, pointed ears, and blue eye makeup.
Costume and makeup design for Salman Rushdie’s Haroun and the Sea of Stories, Saber Tang, Top Designs 2022. Photo by Nicole Cleary, courtesy of the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority.

Iff (Haroun and the Sea of Stories, Salman Rushdie, adapted by Tim Supple and David Tushingham)

Costume and Makeup design: Velvet, glittered velvet, organza, arduino, cable, LED strips, contact lenses, latex elf ears, glue stick, foundation, blending powder, paint, shimmer, eyeshadow, glitter, eyeliner, setting spray, hair gel, hair wax, shimmer spray, glitter spray

My costume and makeup designs are inspired by Salman Rushdie's book Haroun and the Sea of Stories which was later adapted as a play by Tim Supple and David Tushingham. In the play, the character Iff guides Haroun and the audience into a fantastical world. I wanted my theatre designs to present Iff as a striking, colourful and intriguing character. My designs use abstract shapes and proportions to mark Haroun’s imaginative, strange and unusual journey into the unknown.

When approaching the design, I responded to the play’s opening line which mentions water, oceans and streams to create an elemental feel to Iff’s character, as a non-naturalistic being with extraordinary powers. In my interpretation, Iff is not a creature belonging to the water, but he is the liquid itself; a manifestation of water. Drawing upon Iris Van Herpen's avant-garde Sensory Seas Collection where movement and flow are the primary focus, I used fabrics of organza, glass organza, and tulle to create fluidity in the costume.

To surprise the audience with Iff’s magic, I have concealed individually addressable LED lights across the legs and arms of the costume. This unexpected feature is designed to delight and mesmerise audiences through the magical nature of this creature. The lights are activated by a button that is easily controlled by the actor on stage and operate a colour palette of cerulean, teal, azure and navy.


I have included gold shimmers and glitters throughout my designs to further accentuate the imaginative and mystical energy of the play. I have used blue velvet and organza to represent the companionship and guidance that Iff offers to Haroun throughout the play. To continue the magical element of this character, I have painted a long, textured wave down the body and teased out voluminous hair.

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