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    Photo Lindsey Voorhees

    August 18, 2023

    Thriving in Theatre

    As a young girl with a great love of drawing, theater, history and fashion, Professor Lindsey Voorhees hadn’t yet considered a career in costume design. It wasn’t until high school that a conversation with her brother prompted her to begin learning about the field, leading her to pursue both an undergraduate and a graduate degree in costume design. From early in her higher educational journey, she knew she wanted to teach costume design at the college level.


    Joining Le Moyne as a professor of practice ten years ago and becoming assistant professor of visual and performing arts in 2022, Voorhees teaches a range of classes such as theatrical costume design, costume construction, visual arts and core classes for freshmen. She is also the resident costume designer for Le Moyne’s Department of Visual and Performing Arts.


    Designing costumes for a theatrical production is no small feat. With historical and artistic research providing a foundation, and taking into consideration a character’s psychology and societal roles, costume design is a highly collaborative, interdisciplinary process that requires much research and analysis in addition to artistic prowess. Once that research is completed and a design is chosen, clothing might be purchased, sewed, dyed or borrowed from existing stock. 


    Last fall, for example, Le Moyne’s Department of Visual and Performing Arts and the Boot and Buskin Theatre Club put on a production of “The Madwoman of Chaillot,” a classic European satirical comedy. Voorhees designed and built a bright orange, 1920s-style cocoon coat with elaborate embroidery, along with a big hat. The costume helped emphasize the character’s eccentric, yet regal, personality.

    Costume design, like all creative endeavors, requires strong mentorship, something that Voorhees strives to provide for her students.


    “The mentorship side is really the most important part of learning an art form,” she says. “If you don’t have that, you typically won’t follow it or pursue it on your own. Mentors help you open doors. Creatively, they challenge you in new ways. It makes you more excited about what you’re doing.”


    Voorhees’ work in the classroom and theater is motivated by a genuine desire to see her students succeed in whatever endeavors they choose.


    “There have been plenty of students that go on to do other things besides theater, and I want them to accomplish their dreams, too,” she says. “And what I always try to cultivate, no matter who the student is, no matter what [he or she wants] to pursue, is that mentorship relationship. My door’s always open. What do you want to do? Who do you want to be one day? What do you want your career at Le Moyne to look like? And how do we get you there?”