Behind the Curtain: Phelps designs a promising career

Hannah Puetz

A lot of details go into every movie and theatre production. Directors, actors, and actresses are not the only ones to show up on the first day of production; behind the scenes, producers, makeup artists, costume designers, and many more. Recently, the Rolla High School drama department has hosted “Dorothy in Wonderland”, “The Little Mermaid”, and “Shuddersome: Tales of Poe”. Behind all those productions, junior Zach Phelps has helped bring the production to life by creating many costume designs for RHS, along with Ozark Actors Theatre.
Phelps’ costume design career grew from bringing his imagination to reality. Phelps has grown as a costume designer by working on numerous shows for a few years.
“I’ve always done some costumes for some smaller shows at the junior high. Then I was asked to do the costumes for the ‘Wizard of Oz’ for the district show at the high school. That was, I think, 2018, so I’ve been doing it for a few years now,” said Phelps. “Honestly, I just really liked making everything the way I thought it should [look].”
Phelps has a talent when it comes to sewing, his first work that he made was a ball gown for one of his shows.
“Basically I was like, I should probably learn to sew now. Then, I made a ball gown, ” said Phelps.
He also tells where he designs his costumes and makes all his creations for the various productions.
“I do have a sewing room at my house, but it usually spreads out to the living room and my bedroom,” said Phelps.
Phelps has now worked on making costumes for a variety of different productions at both RHS and OAT. He says that his favorite costumes he has made by far were the costumes for the production of Dorothy in Wonderland.
“This summer, I did Dorothy in Wonderland, which was an education show at OAT. I liked all of the costumes, that was definitely my favorite one,” said Phelps.
Phelps has had numerous opportunities with his costume design. He has had the opportunity to display all of his different fashion and costume works for OAT and RHS, being able to volunteer and stitch costumes.
“Well, definitely the biggest opportunity I’ve had is being able to work and volunteer, and being able to be a stitcher, and grow from that because a lot of the basics I learned were from there,” said Phelps.
Phelps also has future plans with his creative designs, with wanting to go to Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri for costume design and construction.
Phelps gives advice to kids and students, who just like him, want to become costume designers in the future and help design for theatre productions in the school shows and beyond that.”
“I would definitely say take some sewing classes. There were a lot of errors in my first work, but as long as you make it look pretty on the outside, it doesn’t really matter,” said Phelps.
Phelps has definitely made a mark in many Rolla High School theatre productions. He has had many amazing opportunities in fashion, and has made numerous costumes that are wonderful. Phelps says that he enjoys his work very much, and will continue doing so through the rest of high school, and in college.