Abigail Hart

Abigail Hart

COURSE: Fashion 2021


Design for Performance 2021


Carnival of the Animals

Ballet production

FAS6134 Independent Practice

This is a collaborative project between 3 costume students: Suzanne Dear, Jessica Bayliss, and myself. We have developed a unique and interesting collaboration by researching, designing, and constructing one half scale garment each, inspired by the ballet production of The Carnival of the animals. In addition to this we have also produced a business plan for our own company, taking into consideration marketing, logo generation, and budget. Candice Newton, costume assistant from the Hamburg Ballet, a world-renowned ballet company and school, has guided us through this project by taking the role of mentor. Emily Jacob, 3rd year BA (hons) Photography student, was our 4th collaboration, taking the role of photographer, working with us to produce concept boards and professional final photographs.

Inspired by the original 2003 John Lithgow production, following the story of Oliver, a little boy, who falls asleep during a school trip to visit the American museum of natural history. During his dreams all the people he knows are transformed into animals. As a group, we decided to take our own spin on this by developing the story to fit a different time period. Our concept being:

Oliver, a teenage boy (16/17) who developed PTSD / Shell shock whilst fighting in the First World War, returns home. He, like many, lost friends and family and misses others who he is unlikely to see again. He takes a visit to the Natural History Museum to take his mind of this matter. Whilst there he falls asleep in one of the exhibits, and starts dreaming of his friends and family, remembering memories of their time together. But instead of Picturing them as humans… he sees them as animals, possibly to make them less humane to cope with his illness. Although, he imagines the time before the war and how happy everyone was, his thoughts of war and its devastation keep invading these dreams.

Due to the 100th anniversary of The Royal British Legion and my brother recently becoming a member of the British Army, we decided to utilise this in our story to make it personal, unique, and thought-provoking. We wanted Oliver to be the only character to be in colour to make him stand out as the narrator. We thought it would be interesting to have the other characters in greyscale to portray that they are ghosts of Oliver’s past, invading his dreams.

This project has helped to develop my skill set especially my business, organisation, and construction skills. Although, I didn’t know much about business when starting the project, I now feel confident enough to create my own business plan for any future business ideas. As I have organisational and communication skills, I was allocated head of department of the company, therefore, implementing these skills within industry standard practice. Running the company Instagram enabled me to create professional templates and backgrounds to organise our material. Using my already existing skills within embroidery and beading, I developed them further by using new techniques. I have also explored ways to Japanese pattern cut, which will inevitably help to create more exciting costumes in my future.

I have really enjoyed collaborating with so many individuals, whether that be within the course or outside. It has created confidence and even more enthusiasm for my specialism for me to take forward to my future career. I look forward to collaborating in the future with like minded individuals again.