The costumes behind Carnival of the Animals

“I adore costuming for Circa’s creations and designing for Circa’s Carnival to the Animals was no exception. It was a brilliant and welcome challenge to create designs for young audiences that were playful and captivating yet sophisticated and still able to be worn when performing a variety of highly skilled acrobatics.

When creating the costume design for Carnival of the Animals we decided that the costumes would be based on tuxedos worn by an imagined orchestra. We transformed our orchestra into a gypsy orchestra circus troupe and the costumes as they now exist were born!

We chose to create human-like, sophisticated yet still abstract and playful costumes. This allowed the ‘animals’ to emerge from the acrobats, their bodies and our audience’s imagination. We used lots of textures and pattern (lots of pattern) in the fabrics – to engage our very young audience members and stuck to the tuxedo suit palette of black and white. It is madly and magically smashed together.

The red noses are another visual element that are a playful and an important costume element. In Carnival of the Animals, the noses signal to the audience that absolutely anything can happen and anything you imagine is real, they are a portal into the imagination. Every performer has a different nose – there a glittery red ones, tiny blue ones – so they also compliment the real personalities of the performers.

The detail in the costumes and their purpose is just one element in Carnival of the Animals that aims to engage and delight all our audience members. When you combine all this with the acrobatics, Music, Animation, Set design and Lighting they all weave together to make a highly visual, engaging and sophisticated Circus show (I think).” – Libby McDonnell, Circa’s costume designer


Watch Libby talk further about the costumes of Carnival of the Animals with QPAC