Continuing with our blog posts on our 2019-20 class of interns (or “Trinterns,” as they’re affectionately called) we’re sitting down with our costume intern, Grace Mitchell.
Grace is from Washington, DC, where she also attended The George Washington University. She graduated last year with a major in Theater and minors in Music and English.
Audrey Rowland: You’re out of school and interning here at Trinity Rep. As you enter the professional world, it’s fun to look back at your previous goals. When you were growing up, what did you want to be?
Grace Mitchell: I wanted to be the first female president. Then, the more I thought about it, I realized that I didn’t want to be the first female president, because that would mean there hadn’t been any progress over 20 years. Then as I got older, I realized I didn’t want to be in politics; it’s too stressful. I still think it’d be really cool to live in the White House, though! Next, I wanted to be an Olympic figure skater, but it was more of a hobby than an “I’m-going-to-pursue-this-intensely-and-athletically” thing. (I’m not athletic).
AR: Why was this internship exciting for you?
GM: My mom taught me to sew when I was younger. That was something I really always enjoyed, and I always enjoyed being creative and making things with my hands. Eventually, when I was in school, I discovered I really liked making theater and that was something I wanted to do in my life. I found out that I could make costumes and help people play dress-up as a profession. The costume internship at Trinity Rep was perfect for that!
AR: What’s your favorite holiday?
GM: I’m torn between Halloween and Thanksgiving as my favorite holidays. I love Halloween because you have the chance to really be creative and spend time with friends! Thanksgiving holds a very special place in my heart because I get to cook, bake, and spend quality time with my family.
AR: Costuming is one of the aspects that everyone sees in a production, but not everyone understands all the work that goes into it. What does your day typically look like?
GM: No day is the same. It depends on if there’s a show going on or if we’re prepping for a show. When we were in the final stages of getting ready for The Prince of Providence, it was a lot of making sure that we had the pieces we need, that all the pieces we had fit the actors well, and making sure that everything that needed to be quick rigged (tricks to make clothing quicker to change in and out of, like putting velcro or magnets where buttons usually would be) was ready to go.
AR: If you could live anywhere in the world for a year, where would you go?
GM: That’s a hard one because there are so many places I want to explore. I think right now I would most want to live in Sydney, Australia or London, England.
AR: What’s the most challenging thing you’ve ever sewn?
GM: It was my senior project in college. I did a poor college student’s version of Dior’s bar suit. It’s incredibly iconic and it is a very tangible visual representation of the economic boom that came with coming out of World War II and the changing social roles of the times. There’s so much hidden complexity! It’s outwardly so simple and streamlined and beautiful. If something is done really, really well, you almost don’t notice the quality. It’s like lighting for a show: if it’s simple and done well, you won’t necessarily notice it because it will seem like it should always be this. The project combined my love of history and my love of simple classic elegance.
AR: What do you like to do in your free time?
GMI really love to bake! You put in some work and not only do you have a finished product you can hopefully enjoy, but it’s something you can easily share with people. I love being able to connect with people and show them that I care. Wherever you go, food really brings people together. Also, the fastest way to someone’s heart is definitely through their stomach, so it’s a bribe too.
AR: What’s your favorite book?
AR: I’m going to be that person and say, Harry Potter. It’s what comes to mind when I think of a book or series of books that have had a significant impact on my life. It had such a cultural impact in so many places and it’s something that almost everyone knows. It’s a very good getting-to-know-you question. Also, it’s such a fun story! Reading it is incredibly engaging, and participating in the fan culture is great too.
AR: And last, but not least, what’s a fun fact about you?
GM: I have sung on the stage of the Sydney Opera House! My grandma loves opera, and she plays it for us all the time, so I grew up listening to it and loving the drama and emotion of it all. When my family went to Australia, I was determined to see it. There was a backstage tour, and they took us through all of the backstage areas. Then we went on to the actual stage, and the tour guide asked if anyone wanted to perform in the Sydney Opera House. I was not about to pass that up, so I sang a bit of “On My Own” from Les Miserables.