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Wolverhampton designer takes on epic costume challenge for musical Cats

By Megan Archer | Wolverhampton | Entertainment | Published:

It was a mammoth task – hand-crafting more than 50 individual, intricate costumes for a performance of Cats the musical.

The Leo's Theatrical Costumiers Team L-R: Lou Marsh, Laura Leo, and Holly Harrison

But one brave costume designer from Wolverhampton boldly stepped up to the challenge.

Laura Leo, owner of Leo's Theatrical Costumiers in Bentley Bridge, created all 56 of the costumes for West Bromwich Operatic Society's musical Cats – each one complete with a wig, a pair of legwarmers and accessories.

The show is running at Wolverhampton Grand from tonight until this Saturday – and despite all the hard work, Laura is loving seeing her creations take to the stage.

The designer said: "Cats is one of my favourite musicals, I remember seeing it for the first time at the Grand Theatre with my sister when we were young and now to think I’ve made a set of costumes with my team, for a local production that’s also being staged at the Grand is a real honour… it’ll be quite emotional to watch!

"Usually with the costumes we make here, we’ll buy a shirt, or a hat to complete the look but for Cats we’ve created absolutely everything.

"From a plain dance leotard we’ve been able to paint each one individually and add their own personalities into the costume. They’re all unique, rather than a set of the same 20 costumes for an ensemble dance number and that’s been a nice challenge."

Laura's team is a small one – and they have all put hours of work into the intricate costumes.

She added: "People often think I must have a team of ten, but there’s just three of us that make all the costumes.

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"To my knowledge we must be the only costumiers with a full set of adult Cats costumes. It’s challenged us a lot and many costumiers won’t make a set for this show as it’s such a unique set of costumes, especially as they all have to have wigs. We would have said that wigs aren’t our speciality so it’s been daunting but we’re really pleased with the complete look."

Cats, by Andrew Lloyd Webber, is adapted from TS Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats.

The performance tells the story of a tribe of cats called the Jellicles and the night they make what is known as the 'Jellicle choice' – their leader announces which of them will go up to The Heaviside Layer and be reborn into a whole new life.

The musical will be directed by Ben Cole, with musical direction with Adam Joy and choreography by Claire Flavell. Costumes for the production have been created by Leo’s Theatrical Costumiers, based in Bentley Bridge.

Tickets are now on sale – visit the Grand Theatre in person, call 01902 42 92 12 or visit grandtheatre.co.uk for bookings and more information.

Megan Archer

By Megan Archer
Deputy Chief Reporter - @MeganA_Star

Deputy Chief Reporter with the Express & Star. Give me a call on 01902 319363 or email megan.archer@expressandstar.co.uk.

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