Music theatre student becomes We Will Rock You costume master

Daring designer and skilled seamstress Emily Fairbairn is taking charge of the costumes for Blue Mountains Musical Society’s upcoming production, We Will Rock You.

Emily Fairbairn. Photo: Aubtin Namdar

Emily Fairbairn. Photo: Aubtin Namdar

The Blue Mountains resident first joined the society for its Christmas Concert in 1995. Following a hiatus from 1997, Fairbairn returned to perform in 2016 as Simeon’s wife in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Aside from being a cast member, she also previously created costumes for Ursula and Sebastian in the 2017 production of The Little Mermaid. We Will Rock You marks her sixth show with the society.

The costumes of the epic, rock musical have three distinct styles. The corporate Globalsoft wear symmetrical, greyscale costumes with clean lines, and geometric patterns. The rebellious Bohemians don asymmetrical, colourful costumes influenced by music and fashion from a variety of eras.

Fairbairn divulged there are “nods to some well-known rock and pop icons”. Recycled objects, such as hardware, cutlery and toys, and an unrefined finish ensure the eclectic costumes appear as though they have been constructed by the Bohemians themselves.

The Gaga Teens sport faded colours to symbolise the gradual leeching of their freedom. The costumes of the brainwashed youth are inspired by Japanese Sweet Lolita fashion with a doll-like, sickly sweet, innocence.

The sheer magnitude of the We Will Rock You cast provided Fairbairn with her biggest costuming challenge to date. Her previous costuming experience, and her study of music theatre at the Australian Institute of Music, provided her with the complex skills to rise above the challenge. As part of her degree, which she is set to graduate from on October 26, Fairbairn assisted Australian designer, Brendan de la Hay, with some of his costumes.

Fairbairn is grateful for the support she received from the society in the demanding task of developing such a wide array of costumes. Throughout the process she reviewed her designs with director Linda Aubrecht, and choreographer Bec Blackwell to ensure they were in line with their vision for a show set in a dystopian future. A volunteer costume commitee, made up of Bec Sheedy, Kim Hoven, Tash Wouters and Elena Etheridge were instrumental in reducing the pressure of time constraints. Costume workshops were also held with cast members, which allowed designs to swiftly transform from imagination to remarkable reality.

When asked which costumes she was most keen to see onstage, Fairbairn quickly responded: “I am very excited about Killer Queen and Khashoggi’s costumes!”

The decadent designs are an adventurous contrast to anything previously put forward by Blue Mountains Musical Society.

Miss Fairbairn also gets a kick out of determining what her brother, Ben Fairbairn, wears onstage. Mr Fairbairn who has played a number of lead roles, including Sebastian in The Little Mermaid, will portray Globalsoft police chief, Khashoggi. Killer Queen, who is part human, part artificial intelligence, will be played by former The Voice contestant, Matthew Herne. He previously graced the stage as Phantom in Phantom of the Opera, and Pilate in Jesus Christ Superstar.

Catch the ingenious costumes conceived by Emily Fairbairn for We Will Rock You from October 20 to November 4. For more information and to purchase tickets visit www.bmms.org.au or call 4723 5050.