Dedicated Designers: Heidi Carls

Dedicated Designers

Heidi Carls – Costume Designer 


Heidi Carls, creator of CB Productions’ colorful costumes, is once again researching, sewing, locating, gathering, and assembling the wardrobe for the next play, Robin Hood. Working with the actors, director, and parent volunteers, Heidi’s eye for detail and creative touch will bring each character of this medieval show to life in an array of colors and styles.

Since Robin Hood is Heidi’s twelfth show with CB Productions, she has mastered her technique of outfitting the actors. Heidi assimilates her costume design from a wide variety of sources: rentals, full costumes from previous shows, costume pieces mixed and matched to create complete outfits, and new apparel that she has sewn especially for Robin Hood.


In a recent interview, Heidi discusses the work, attention to detail, and creative passion that goes into her job as costume designer.


Why do you love designing for theater productions?

One thing I love about costuming for theater is the story aspect. I have a bachelor’s degree in English, so I enjoy reading the books for CB Productions’ literature-based plays as much as I enjoy costuming the cast! My favorite part of costuming is the imagining and designing. I love matching characters to costumes. Another delightful part of my job is choosing certain characters to highlight with a very creative costume. I put a lot of thought, playfulness, and energy into these characters’ outfits. For me this is how I bring the characters to life.


What is your creative process as costume designer?

First, I read the book, taking notes and imagining what each person will look like. I collect ideas by making a Pinterest board for each show. Next, I meet with my contact at the costume shop and go through their inventory, taking pictures of the pieces I like. After that, I make Excel spreadsheets showing what each character will wear, noting details like the hats, vests, and other costume pieces. I lead the cast through two costume parades where each person tries on what I have found for them. During costume parades, Carla and I exchange ideas and make sure everything fits the actor and the character they’re playing. The last month before tech week, I am busy sewing, shopping and fitting. By the dress rehearsal, everything is coming together and I can sit back and enjoy the show!


What do you want the audience to notice about your design for Robin Hood?

One interesting aspect of my work in Robin Hood is the royalty. The play features Queen Eleanor, King John, and members of their court and kingdom. I would like the audience to notice the way the royal characters are outfitted. I’m hoping to use the color gold in the queen’s costume to symbolically show that she is truly noble, while everything about King John’s costume will reveal his quirky character to audiences.


Collecting, fitting, and distributing costumes, Heidi is hard at work to bring these characters to life with their delightful medieval array. Each carefully designed costume will highlight the character’s personality and social status. Some of the characters have symbolism sewn in to their costumes as well! This March 31 – April 9, come and appreciate Heidi’s work as each colorful character hits the stage, bringing the story of these medieval men and women to life.