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TL costume department supports NHS

Thu 6 August 2020

Members of the dance team are using their time and skills to make medical workwear for key workers

Our Faculty of Dance has a dedicated professional costume department who work closely with students and visiting choreographers in support of the conservatoire’s performance-rich curriculum.

With the enforcement of the UK-wide lockdown, the team pivoted to new ways of collaborating with and supporting our students.

In addition, TL’s Costume Supervisor Lizzie Barker and Senior Costume Technician Florence Meredith are using their time and skills to make NHS-approved medical workwear for hospital and care home workers across the UK in response to Covid-19 demands.

Due to heightened safety protocols, workers must wear personal protective equipment (PPE) more frequent and wide-ranging settings.

Lizzie comments –

“There was quite a lot of media coverage about the dire lack of PPE and general protection for frontline workers, particularly in hospitals. I was really keen to use my sewing construction skills to help out during a difficult time. It felt like something worthwhile I could contribute.”

Since April, Lizzie has been volunteering with her local ScrubHub in South East London to help during the shortage, creating scrubs for hospitals, midwives, care workers and dentists. The local team, made up of professional garment makers and home sewers, have relied on crowdfunding and donations from local companies for materials.

“Whilst many items of PPE need specialist materials, skills and equipment, scrubs are a fairly ubiquitous item that could be made in people’s homes,” Lizzie explains.

“We have been working in a production line system – different people cutting, sorting, preparing, sewing and distributing. As I have access to an overlocker, I have been overlocking and marking up the pieces for sewers to put together. It’s been a really nice way to get to know people I wouldn’t normally have met.”

Fellow costumier Flo has been volunteering with ‘Helping Dress Medics’ (HDM), a charity set up by Dulcie Scott, the Costume Supervisor for television series ‘His Dark Materials’. They connected hospitals with local costume makers to meet the sudden need for additional scrubs.

Like ScrubHub, HDM bought all the materials needed with money they raised through crowdfunding and everyone involved has given their time and skills voluntarily.

Flo comments –

“Making scrubs in my small flat in Hackney was quite a challenge, but it gave me a sense of connection to the people working hard in hospitals, as well as the other volunteers.

“I also made some masks for charities in my local neighbourhood, including the Salvation Army and the Lighthouse Project, who gave them to their volunteers to wear while delivering food parcels.”

We’re hugely proud of our talented colleagues and the efforts they are making to help fight the pandemic.

Image credit: Lizzie Barker