backstage wigs

Paradise Moscow is tonight and the acrylic wigs are being prepared, set in rollers and put under the dryer, they will be done in 4 to 5 hours. The long natural blond wig worn by Summer Strallen, costing the most (you pay more for natural) is safely tucked away in her dressing room.

We are in Newcastle for two more performances, Don Carlos and The Abduction from the Seraglio; we have transported 55 wigs here with us, including 12 beards, 12 moustaches, 1 pair of eyebrows and 1 pair of sideburns (mostly used for Don Carlos) We have lots of different styles of wigs for this season, from hybrid modern 16th century styles for Don Carlos to 50’s style, flicks and classic buns in Paradise Moscow.

In a typical day I come in, make a cup of tea, try to keep in contact with the outside world by checking my emails and then off to check and change the dressing rooms. As there is a different performance each night we must set up the dressing rooms for each particular performer and their character. A change of wig, make-up, towels and anything else we might need. Costume also joins in at this point to set out the right costumes. Then it’s off to check with Stage Management and the Touring Head of Wardrobe, where the best spaces are for the quick changes, at different venues, this can vary because the scenery can be set up in different places. There is always time for a tea break (or three) and some banter with the rest of the wig girls, we are constantly laughing and sneakily trying on the wigs while posing for photos!

Everyday brings a new experience, from touring to Monte Carlo, Barcelona and soon to Bregenz, for the opera festival, to doing make up and beard trimming for Rufus Wainwright. A day in the life of a Wig Technician is filled with hard-work, creativity, squeezing in some banter and making sure the show runs smoothly.