Costume Party with Moe Kasim!

From aspiring performer to award-winning costume designer, Moe Kasim has come a long way in the local theatre industry. Entirely self-taught in his craft, Moe has designed costumes for musicals, movies, and is the resident costume designer of W!LD RICE’s pantomimes. He has won four LIFE! Theatre Awards, two of which were for his work on our pantomimes Aladdin (2004) and Oi! Sleeping Beauty! (2005). He talks to us about his design concept for Jack & The Bean-Sprout! and his sources of inspiration.

What appeals to you most about designing costumes for a W!LD RICE pantomime?

It’s exciting to see the kids playing multiple characters/roles – they can play animals, foods, objects etc. in one show. They look so cute. I also love seeing the transformation of the pantomime “Dame” – every time he puts on loud and colourful costumes, it’s a joy. Of course, it’s quite a challenge to design such a broad range of costumes.

You also designed the costumes for the 2006 production of Jack & The Bean-Sprout!. What’s changed from 2006 to 2013?

We’re keeping a lot of the bold, bright colourful designs the same. But, for this year’s panto, we’re definitely incorporating ideas that are relevant to us today. For example, the kids will be dressed as the brand-new coins that were just released recently. I’ve also changed the design of the Goose and the Harp characters.

How do you go about designing costumes for a theatrical production?

I always start by reading the script. Then, I discuss with the director as to what concept we’ll be going for. For instance, there’s a mysterious girl character in Jack – in the 2006 incarnation, we drew inspiration for her look from manga and cartoons. This year, her look will be different too. I do very much enjoy a lot of freedom in creating the look I want.

Have you always known this was the career for you?

No… I had always thought that I would be a performing artiste, as I had liked to perform since the age of nine. I got started as a costume designer when I was in the SAF Music & Drama Company. With no formal training in design, I started by designing costumes for roadshows… Since then, I have never looked back.

Tell us about your process.

I will do my research on the characters in as detailed a way as possible. Once I have that in my head, I will hunt for fabrics, accessories and so on… even if I have to fly overseas to get what I want for that character!

How do you get inspired?

Old movies… travelling… and flipping through books by my favourite designers, like Alexander McQueen, Bob Mackie and Eiko Ishioka.

Any advice for budding costume designers?

Dare to explore and never be afraid to dream. I’m a true believer that DREAMS DO COME TRUE… with hard work, passion and dedication, of course!

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