Twin City Stage, used as a fallout shelter during the Cold War, according to Marketing Director Kristina Ebbink, is also the home of a very large costume closet, complete with an extensive costume shop that rents and sales attire to the public.
From a litany of gear to hats and belts that appeared to have no supporting structure in sight to racks of apparel that would make Joan Crawford scream regardless of whether wire hangers were in use or not crowd the entrance to the costume closet. And that’s what brought the group of employees and volunteers to the stage early on a recent Saturday morning: a surplus of costumes with no more room left at the inn. Twin City Stage was having a sale, and everything on the sale racks was priced to go.
“We get a lot of donations from estates and things like that, and that is why we do the sales,” Ebbink said. “Plus, for us, we have to consider what can actually be used on stage. We have to consider what we can use in shows and what we can rent.”
Twin City Stage also rents Halloween costumes from the rack of 50 military jackets and 1940s era vintage dresses in their costume closest. Unfortunately, not everything is for rent or sale, like the Cinderella dress from Into the Woods, to which exiting Costume Designer & Costume Shop Manager Justin Hall hand-attached more than 6,000 sequins.
Despite the certain treasures that were hidden away from those upstairs rummaging through the racks, patrons found some valuable takeaways of their own.
Katie Klein, a fashion-forward diva with a vintage flair, held tight to her cart billowing with great finds, including a 1920s swimsuit.
“I’m a local photographer and like anything vintage,” Klein said. “I love styling clothing for myself and others for photoshoots. This is my heaven!”
Ron Stacker Thompson, artistic director for the Willingham Theater in Yadkinville, showed up with his crew in tow, telling one of his colleagues to grab everything that sparkled. For Thompson, this was his first time attending one of the stage’s sales, but not the theater itself. He’s even done a show there.
“You can always use a sparkling outfit,” Thompson said. “They are hard to find and expensive when you are trying to do a show. For example, I did a show Stomping at the Savoy a year and a half ago, and if only this had happened then.”
He turned to look at one of the glimmering dresses, and added, “I needed all sparkle, and people needed to look grand and wonderful.”
The sale seemed to call out to several photographers looking for vintage clothing. Even though Brent LaFever wanted to find Victorian garb, he was content with the items that he discovered for both his business and his wife.
“This is my first time here,” LaFever said. “I found a vintage ’50s hat, an old-style swimming dressing worn in the ’20s and this jacket. My wife is actually interested in that.”
Hall could be seen mingling with the shopping crowd, assisting with their purchasing decisions. Even as their precious items were going out the door, they ensured that the new characters wearing them were prepared for the world’s stage.
The sale at Twin City Stage wasn’t limited to clothing; the props that help to create the scenes that appear on the stage were up for grabs, too. Technical Director TJ Scott ran the scene sale.
His space did not appear to be as bombarded with items as much as the costume closet in the building across from him.
“The people that these types of events attract I know will give them a good home,” Scott said. “They are usually using the pieces for decorating or refurbishing them. The people that come through are usually theater or creative people and aren’t looking to toss the items. That makes me happy.”