Carnegie Mellon University

The Costume Survey

Description provided by the program

The Costume Program in the CMU School of Drama offers rigorous conservatory training with strong mentorship by working professionals dedicated to the preparation of students for careers in the costume industry in both design and production. Graduates of the program work in commercial and regional theatre, television and film in New York, LA, Chicago, Boston and internationally. It is the philosophy of the Costume faculty that designers and production students be given foundational training in both disciplines. Ten faculty and staff provide active guidance in the classroom and in production. With 20-24 productions a season, ample design and production opportunities exist in theatre, musical theatre, dance, opera, television, devised work and new plays. Links with area theatres provide professional opportunities for advanced students as designers, design assistants and studio assistants. Built in 1999, the Purnell Center for the Arts boasts state of the art costume facilities with natural light in all rooms, including the spacious Costume Studio, which contains a craft shop, dye shop, and fitting room. There is an ancillary costume studio and classroom, as well as on and off-site costume stock and Historic Collection. Renowned alumni in film, television, and theatre work with students on projects and form a devoted hiring network for recent graduates. National and international guests conduct annual workshops in both the design and production areas.

Areas of Focus

  • Costume Design
  • Costume Production

Degrees Offered

  • BFA: Design
  • MFA: Design, Costume Design and Costume Production


  • Barbara Anderson: Emeritus.
  • Mindy Eshelman: History of Clothing, Costume Design for Film and Television, Costume Design for Dance, Transforming Inspiration: The Museum Class, Thesis.
  • Susan Tsu: Intro to Costume Design, Fundamentals of Costume Design, Costume Design for the Classics, Costume Design with Music, Drawing for the Theatrical Designer, Painting for the Theatrical Designer, Costume Rendering, Thesis.
  • Hugh Hanson: Patterning Fundamentals, Draping, Tailoring, Dancewear, Stretchwear, Understanding Textiles, Thesis.
  • Brian Russman: Millinery, Dyeing and Painting, Couture Techniques, Fabric Modification, Make Up for Designers, Make Up for Actors, Jewelry, Mask Making, Casting, Armor Creation, Footwear, Thesis.
  • Narelle Sissons: Sceneography, Future Stages, Figure Drawing, Thesis.
  • Beth Zamborsky: Figure Drawing .
  • National & International Guest Designers/Makers invited each years: Workshops in Sceneography, Costume Design, Costume Craft Workshops such as beading, wigmaking, embroidery, intersection with technology, puppetry.


  • Tiia Torchia Lager: Costume Studio Manager, Stagecraft
  • Leslie Kennedy Maxson: Costume Studio Draper, Costumer
  • Jen Marks: Wardrobe Head, Costume Stock Manager
  • Marlene Speranza: Costume Studio Tailor, Draper, Costumer
  • Sophie Hood: Adjunct Staff Instructor- Stagecraft
  • Also: Overhire staff as needed

General Contact Information

For Costume Design:
Susan Tsu,
School of Drama
Carnegie Mellon University
349 Purnell Center for the Arts
Pittsburgh. PA 15213
FAX: 412-621-0281
For Costume Production:
Brian Russman

E-mail contacts