Alexa Moore

Alexa Moore

COURSE: Fashion 2020


Design for Performance 2020

Dido, Aeneas and the Plague of Us

Humans avarice will repeatedly end in death, suffering and destruction if we don't change our ways.

A Project in 3 Acts

Based on the poem "Dido, Aeneas and the Plague of us"(Alexa Moore, 2020), this project tells the story of the jealous, greedy sorceress from the opera Dido and Aeneas (Henry Purcell, 1680) and how she plans to destroy the royal love between Queen Dido of Carthage and the Trojan Prince. Her plan turns sour when one of her witch accomplices is deceitful and tells the royals of the evil ploy. The sorceress is banished to an immortal solitary life in nothingness for all eternity, that is until tragedy strikes the earth. When human beings act out avarice that causes repercussions for their actions, a virus will sweep across the land, causing death, suffering, and destruction. Only then, will she be able to enter the human world, dressed in a bird-like form.

Fast forward to the year 2019, and the sorceress has started waking, as human consumption, greed, and behavior has led to a pandemic. The world has moved on since ancient times, and medicine is more advanced. The bird masked form in which she takes is more of a fascination, novelty, and romance. The plague Doctor appearance is no longer feared, although still a symbol of people dying, she still appears through art, song, and dance, though her presence isn’t jarring.


This whole project started with wanting to design the costumes for the entire cast for Dido and Aeneas Opera. I designed the principle characters, chorus, and dancers' costumes. The aim was to make the principal costumes, work with a photographer and models to have them photographed and then curate an exhibition in London to exhibit the costumes, photographs and also have live opera singers perform songs from the Opera.


Due to the global covid-19 pandemic, my project ground and I had to work quickly to adapt the project into something relevant, achievable, and interesting. I had already started making the witch and the sorceress's costumes so I used these and altered the designs to be plague doctor costumes.

From that point the project grew and more collaboration partners were drawn to the project and the new Plague doctor costume was used in a music video for the Wuhan Bats cover of a Poison Idea song titled Plastic Bomb. The witch costume was also completed, and then posted to modeled remotely by Daisy Blair.


To tie in the entire project together I wrote a poem called "Dido, Aeneas and the Plague of Us" and animated it. The poem has lyrics sung by the sorceress in the Dido and Aeneas opera as well as lyrics from "Poison Idea - Plastic Bomb". The original costume designs for Dido and Aeneas were used in the animation as well as some of the Wuhan Bats songs. I worked with Daisy Blair from Inky Minx Illustration and Mao Holiday from Life of Strife Productions to bring the animation together and well as Carlos Luis Saio to narrate the poem.

In essence, this tells the story of how human avarice will continue to cause chaos, death, and destruction if we can't learn from our mistakes.

Link to the entire project at ->BA Degree final project

Link to the animation-