Ceri Leigh – Velveteena Leigh
I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t making things – even as a kid. I would cut apart my own clothes to make outfits for my Barbie dolls, styling their hair and creating a catwalk of my creations. While my twin sister has always been logical and academic, I have always been away with the fairies thinking of my next project, never able to sit still for more than a moment.
I was also raised on a healthy diet of art galleries and West End shows – my parents were determined that my sisters and I, would grow up to be cultured, and little did they know that this would shape the very person I would become. As I moved into the later years of school, when everyone was choosing which path they would take and who they would become, I thought about my favourite subjects at school – textiles and drama. Surely there was a way to combine my two passions; the joy of creating something and the buzz of backstage?
That was when I realised that a costume designer for film and theatre was an option for me, and it clicked.
At university I studied Historical and Performance Costume for Film and Theatre and found myself surrounded with fellow creatives who shared my passion and was able to develop these skills and experience the backstage life in a more professional capacity.
When I moved back to Enfield I filled my parents’ house with frock coats, corsets and wigs and even after moving out, there is still a family of mannequins filling their living room dressed as Captain Hook, Snow White and a Tudor nobleman
Five years after graduating, and more than a decade after deciding on this path, I finally feel that I am where I want to be. I get to create beautiful pieces for people, this living, breathing artwork that gets to be worn and touched and enjoyed by countless people.
I have moved to working in small films, and over Christmas had the opportunity to work with Platinum Performing Arts on their pantomime at the Millfield Theatre.
The feeling of seeing your creations on stage at a theatre you have grown up going to is an indescribable feeling, and one that I won’t forget. Being able to step behind the curtain and see how these great performances are formed, overcoming problems, being a single cog in the theatrical machine and feeling the buzz of backstage is worth all the sore feet and sleepless nights in the world! It’s something that I don’t plan to give up any time soon.
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