2013: Theatre and Opera

Now 2013 has came and gone and 2014 is now amongst us, we have the time to reflect on what has been yet another great year. In this post we will purely be focusing on our stage work, that saw its premier this year and a sneak peek into whats to come next year. From finding love in  Nazi occupied Rome or deep in the jungle of the unknown, occupied by dinosaurs and other inscrutable beasts along with many more memorable stage moments of 2013.

1.King Kong-Live on stage

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Based on the 1930’s instant classic,King Kong live on stage tells the tale of how beauty killed the beast in an engaging musical form, It received a great reception, praised for being visually stunning with an all round very talented cast, winning many awards including “Outstanding Theatrical Achievement”, “Best Sound Design”and “Best Costume Design” which was awarded to Roger Kirk. Originally being booked from june to July however due to its well deserved success, it has  been rebooked for a third time taking the show all the way to february 2014.  The producer Carmen Pavlovic of Global Creatures told The Times that she anticipates launching a second production of King Kong in 2014, with a third to follow in 2015. Plans have been announced to bring the show to the United StatesEnglandSouth KoreaGermanyJapan and the Netherlands. So for any one who didn’t get the chance to witness King Kong on stage do not worry, the 8th wonder of the world may set sail for overseas.

2.The Force of Destiny: La Forza Del Destino-Opera Australia

The Force of Destiny, Opera Australia

La Forza Del Destino:The force of Destiny is an Italian opera by Giuseppe Verdi. The libretto was written by Francesco Maria Piave based on a Spanish drama, Don Álvaro o la fuerza del sino (1835), by Ángel de Saavedra, 3rd Duke of Rivas. Presenting Verdi’s most notorious prelude, as Leonora and Alvaro are destined to be with one and another despite her family’s disapproval. They are set to become a one even if it means running away, although they end up far from their desires as they are caught amongst the tide of war. You are invited into a journey of honour and passion merging with vendetta and death, in this historical classic. The Force of Destiny received reviews such as; “This thrilling new production uses the powerful iconography of Spain in richly detailed sets and costumes. An all-star international cast is led by Svetla Vassileva”.

3.The Wizard Of Oz -North American Tour

Wizard of Oz, Mirvish Productions Toronto

The Wizard of Oz is a musical based on the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, with a book adapted by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Jeremy Sams. The musical uses the Harold Arlen and E. Y. Harburg songs from the film and includes a variety of new likeable songs and additional music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and additional lyrics by Tim Rice. Starring Danielle Wade as Dorothy, who was chosen by the Canadian public through the very popular CBC TV‘s reality show “Over The Rainbow”, the national tour features the same award-winning creative team from London and Toronto so we can expect another implausible instalment.

4. Tosca-Opera Australia

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Opera Australia’s Tosca, Puccini’s riveting drama of a stimulating  combination of love, jealousy and sacrifice.Director John Bell, joins forces with award-winning set designer Michael Scott-Mitchell and costume designer Teresa Negroponte in this pure, unforgettable show. The setting of Tosca as we originally knew was the French invasion of Rome in 1800, director John Bell smoothly adapted it to a Nazi controlled Rome, a very bold move that proved to be an admirable call; “His deeply felt updating of the action to 1943 Nazi occupied Rome is both appropriate and striking, bringing what can seem a schlock costume drama into sharp focus and reminding us of how Puccini’s issues of freedom, love, jealousy and tyranny still resonate today.”

5. Carmen-Opera Australia 

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Carmen is an opera in four acts by the French composer Georges Bizet. The libretto was written by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy, based on a novella of the same title by Prosper Mérimée. You take the director Gale Edwards alongside costume designer Julie Lynch then you have the perfect combination to revisit the exciting world of Carmen. In this breathtaking production from Opera Australia, following the downfall of Don José, just another soldier who was seduced by the seductive, attractive, fierce Gypsy, Carmen. Jose without a second thought abandons his childhood love and his regiment, blinded by what he believes to be love, although Carmens fallen for a captivating toreador Escamillo, Jose is pumping with rage and is looking to take revenge for his broken heart.

Upcoming Next year

Wether metropolitan Opera premiers (February 2014)

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Werther is an opera (‘Drame lyrique’) in four acts by Jules Massenet to a French libretto by Édouard BlauPaul Milliet and Georges Hartmann, based on the Germanepistolary novel The Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, based partly on fact and Goethe’s own early life. Jonas Kaufmann stars in the title role of Massenet’s sublime adaptation of Goethe’s revolutionary and tragic romance, opposite Sophie Koch as Charlotte. The new production is directed and designed by Richard Eyre and Rob Howell, the same team that created the Met’s recent hit staging of Carmen. Rising young maestro Alain Altinoglu conducts. Set to make its debut on February next year.

 

King and I (September 2014)

The_King_&_I_Photo_courtesy_of_Opera_AustraliaThe King and I is a musical, the fifth by the team of composer Richard Rodgers and dramatist Oscar Hammerstein II. It is based on the 1944 novel Anna and the King of Siam by Margaret Landon, which derives from the memoirs of Anna Leonowensgoverness to the children of King Mongkut of Siam in the early 1860s. The musical’s plot relates the experiences of Anna, a British schoolteacher hired as part of the King’s drive to modernize his country.This now legendary production of The King and I won the triple crown of awards: The Tony, the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle for Best Musical Revival. Further Tony and Drama Desk awards included Best Scenic Design and Best Costume Design, and a Laurence Olivier Award nomination. Much-loved Australian actress and four-time Gold Logie winner Lisa McCune plays English governess Anna Leonowens, while internationally acclaimed opera singer Teddy Tahu Rhodes takes on his second musical theatre role as the King of Siam. Set to open at a Gala performance on 10th of September.

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Company Cribs: Siam Costumes Part 3

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Last and not least, we will be having a look at the third and final building of Siam Costumes. By now you should have a gist of what to expect,and  as promised we will have a look into our stock room unfortunately due to privacy policies we hold with our clients, we won’t be showing you anything that we are working on currently. Shall we begin?

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We shall skip the ground floor, as it’s the other side of the workshop which I mostly covered on the last post. As we make our way to the second floor here is a brief sample of our zip stock, the reason why they are placed here is because these are the most commonly used zips, also if you notice we have Saddam Hussein looking over them for safe keeping.

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Here is some of our tens of thousand buttons, bought from all over Asia mainly being Hong Kong. Almost every production we have worked on consist of at least one of these buttons.

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Here is half of our military insignias, mainly consisting of Nazi WW2 insignias from Inglorious Basterds. As well as a load of braiding, and trimmings which comes in handy more often than not, especially for light entertainment productions.

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The firs room holds thousands of fabric samples , from stores all around Asia but once again mainly Hong Kong and China. Sorry about the mess I swear there was a time when it was all neatly organised, and those boxes ,yes you guessed correctly those are filled with hundreds more fabric samples.

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The reason why we have a room dedicated to these store samples, is because before they were placed in boxes and Darryl tends to remind us ” I hate having things in boxes, you just can never find what you are looking for” which is a fair point. Having the samples placed on the wall, in fabric categories I.e wools and Velvets…allows us and the clients to easily navigate our way through and find the suitable fabric.

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Don’t worry Its not what It looks like, Siam Costumes aren’t secretly part of a racist cult. These are arm bands from which movie? Seabiscuit? Seriously thats your answer, I’ve already mentioned the film one or two times, “Inglorious Basterds”.

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Oops sorry to interrupt, didn’t know this kind of party was going on up here. Ill leave you guys to it.

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This room is packed with more fabric, mainly the heavy rolled ones. Also a lot of our light entertainment such as fabric used for Theme Parks, is later stored within this room.

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Here is a collection of our unique ties, thats right i said unique, we have hundreds of plain black and white ties stored away in the cupboard. However these beautiful ties are very unique in each design.They have also previously been used in several 1930-50s productions.

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Onto the last room of the tour, and what  room is more worthy of an encore than the stock room. This room is where we store a lot of our samples and prototypes of previous and upcoming productions.

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You may remember this from a previous post. Its The Hollywood Letter characters from Universal Studios Singapore, Hollywood dreams parade.

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One of our several prototypes from Tarantino’s classic remake Inglorious Basterds.

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A prototype from an upcoming WW2 production, so remember where you saw it first.

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A sample from Opera Australia Carmen.

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Any super hero fans? You may recognise this costume although the scenes they were worn in were very dark for obvious dramatic reasons, they are the vest’s that the ninjas wore in this years The Wolverine.

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The curtains are closing, and I’m afraid this is the official end of the tour. It was pleasure showing you around and giving you an insight into our workshop but I’m afraid we have a lot of work to get on with. Thank you and Good Bye.

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At least some one is pleased to be leaving the workshop.

The Long way round

Yesterday morning I caught up with the founder and owner of Siam Costumes: Darryl Kent-Morris, I wanted to find out where it all began, Why he chose this sector of the industry and how he got to where he is now.

1. Who would you say are your main customers?

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“Well you see our client base, it falls into two main areas that being corporate, and entertainment. However more often than not, they crossover to one another, but we try to differentiate between the two. On the corporate side it is The Cameron Macintosh Theatre Group and  Merlin Entertainment. Most people wouldnt know who they both are but Cameron Macintosh is most probably one of the world’s biggest musical producers , owning the rights for hit musicals such as Cats, Les Miserables, and Phantom of the Opera, which just happens to be 3 of the longest running musical stage productions ever. Merlin owns Seaworld, Legoland and Madam Tussaud’s plus a whole  host of other theme park type venues, and it is recognised as the second largest entertainment company after Disney . On the entertainment side Andrew Llyod Webber’s Really Useful Group has to be up there along with HBO and BBC“.

2. When did you first realise that you had a passion for clothes?

“Ever since I was young child I’ve always had a love for history, most people don’t realise that one of the key element of our pasts was what people wore, and unlike now it was usually for practical reasons such as riding a horse and what fabric and dyes were available. Therefore getting involved in costumes was a natural progression”.

3. What inspired you to start your own business in the manufacturing sector rather than work your way up in an established company?

“I never really wanted to work for someone and I have done everything possible to avoid it. One of my first businesses I ever had was a landscape gardening company, which I still love above all else. I do enjoy the freedom and flexibility I have working for myself, and resting something from nothing but like everything it also has its disadvantages”.

4. Have you always shown an interest to costumes within the entertainment industry?

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“Yes one of the first films I saw and took as much interest in the costumes as the plot, was Sergio Leone‘s “Once upon a time in America”  and the costume designer was Gabriella Pescucci and who is still one of my favourite costume designers”.

5. What was the greatest moment so far for Siam Costumes?

“When I took the big step of manufacturing internally rather than externally. So being able to produce all of our work in-house, and for the first time we were able to oversee our work entirely from start to finish, plus gives the added bonus  of continuously improving our employees skills”.

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6. What made you take the leap from tailoring for members of the public to manufacturing for the entertainment industry?

“The Commercial reason is that the rewards are greater, primarily as I said being based in Bangkok I am unable to visit clients personally. The general public also don’t know what they require, so therefore need our involvement a lot of the time. Unlike designers, but being based where we are it is impossible for us to visit every client each and every time they want a new garment. Not to mention that the public obviously don’t require historical garment’s to be made, which for me is one of the most important factors of why I’ve chosen to do what I am doing”.

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7. Where would you like to see Siam Costumes within the next 10 years?

“I would like to see my two sons taking over the day to day running of the business, plus at least one more workshop opening in South-East Asia, which could happen soon so watch this space”.

8. Having worked within the Industry for as long as you have, Is there anything that still surprises you?

“Thats a good question, I could say the time someone who I won’t name threatened to have me “whacked” by a combination of the Russian Mafia, half a dozen of his East-European henchmen and an ex C.I.A agent for good measure,but we don’t need to go into that. I would say the ability of individuals that have worked for us to exceed my expectations. When ever I look back of what we have produced in the past 30 years I am always surprised and elated on how far we have progressed and achieved”.

9. What are the advantages of working in Thailand?

“Because of the history of the tourist trade there is a ready pool of skilled labour, who if given time and careful instruction can learn  to meet the perfection that Broadway and Hollywood demand. Lest we forget the climate, that beats hands down the English weather, the fantastic cuisine, the general ambiance of the place Thailand for all intents and purposes is safe. Last but not least South-East Asia is part of the world’s eppi centre for fabric and ancillary items which enables us make our clientele’s  work far more interesting”.

10.  Which production that you have worked on, have you found the most interesting from a costume perspective and why?

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“Most probably Winters Tale last year, because it took the required competence of our staff to a whole new level and from a personal interest the beginning of the 20th century is still my favourite period of men’s clothing”.

11. If you had to do it all over again is there anything that you would do differently from a business persecutive?

“Yes I would like to have completed a men’s tailoring course. I truly believe my weakest point is that I am not a tailor and like anything in life its important to lead by example, although there again the last 30 years have been extremely interesting, and lets be honest does the Chairman of General Motors know how to ensemble an engine? most probably not but does he really need to”

An Introduction to Siam Costumes

I suppose an Introduction to ourselves would be an appropriate way to start of our blog. Siam Costumes has been around for over 30 years now, the owner of the company is an Englishmen called Darryl Kent-Morris, he always had a passion for clothes i can imagine when he was living in London during the peak of the punk age whilst he was customising his shirts and jeans he never imagined he would end up manufacturing costumes for Hollywood films.



Siam Costumes is based in the heart of south-east asia that being Thailand, Its here where Darryl truly fell in love with Asia: the culture, the people, the food, the heat and the endless amount of opportunities and whether he knew it or not Thailand would one day become his home and workplace. 

 

 

Thailand is renowned for its authentic fabrics from its notorious Silk to its finest pure cotton and if you still can’t find what you’re looking for then its just over a two-hour flight to China.


So it’s now wonder why

Siam costumes have an endless amount of fabric in stock sourced from all around the world and not to mention the thousands of haberdasheries.




At first Designers and Companies were weary about trusting Siam Costumes as it was a new company that just started and was located on the other side of the world. As time passed and Siam Costumes worked they’re way from the bottom, the work began to gain some well deserved attention and it took Darryl around ten years to become a reliable trusted company that could handle the large productions on a tight time scale and at the highest quality for the entertainment industry. 

 

 

Having worked on Hollywood blockbusters such as Oliver stones Alexander, Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds and Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy as well as  Andrew Llyods webber hit musical Love never dies and Ben Hurs world tour.  Now with one of the most versatile resumes within the industry Siam Costumes look forward to progressing even more within the next few years.