Jennifer Jacobs is a costume designer, stylist, editor, and professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance. When COVID-19 forced Tulane into remote classes, she found opportunity in adversity for her Costume Design I class.
Theatre makers are inherently problem solvers. We are quick to adapt, nimble on the fly, and creative thinkers. So, when we had to change tack in the middle of the semester, I decided to reach out to my network and pull in the biggest heavy hitters I could. My aim was to give my students as much quality content as I could in the next few weeks. Turns out it is a good time to call in my most successful and prominent friends. I work with a lot of celebrities and the celebrated, and everyone's schedules opened up indefinitely.
Guest speakers that honestly would never have the time to share their experience and expertise began filling up my schedule. We started with a deep dive into scholarly research with Professor Leslie Yarmo, Salisbury University, on “Judas’ Robes: How Yellow Became the Color of Jewish Identity in Life and Art.” Next up, my students were incredibly excited about their time spent with Clint Ramos, Tony Award winning costume designer, who is also the first person of color to win a Tony in this category. “Our Zoom meeting with Clint Ramos was so warm, encouraging, inspirational, and informative,” said MFA candidate Stephanie Dixon after the class. “It was well needed, especially during this world crisis.” Naomi Detre, (BFA ’20) also remarked, "It’s been great having focused discussions with people we otherwise would not have been able to meet. In such a community-based industry, it is so great to meet other members of that community and hear about how they are navigating these changes.”
"It’s been great having focused discussions with people we otherwise would not have been able to meet. In such a community-based industry, it is so great to meet other members of that community and hear about how they are navigating these changes.”- Naomi Detre, (BFA ’20)
Being in the same Zoom with these brilliant artists has been like co-teaching with some of the best in our business and has energized me as an educator and mentor. I am beyond thrilled to bring this opportunity to speak with and learn from such remarkable artists to my students, and I will endeavor to continue this series even after we return to the physical classroom.
- William Ivey Long: Six-time Tony Award winning costume designer (The Producers, Young Frankenstein, Nine), currently in production with the Broadway musical Diana. Lecturing on designing large scale musicals.
- Susan Hilferty: Tony Award winning costume designer (Wicked) and chair of design department at NYU. Lecturing on preparing a show for national tour.
- Jane Page: Jane is a professional director whose work is well known across the United States and abroad. Lecturing on the director-designer process and creativity.
- Campbell Baird: Award winning costume and scenic designer, Professor at NYU, teaching a portion of his Connections class.
- Sabrina Rosen: Costume Designer (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Community), speaking on working in Film and Television.