Whilst studying towards my HND Make-Up Artistry, I had to find a theatrical production which required hair and make-up, and volunteer my time to gain experience in working in that environment. I reached out to Paisley Opera in November 2017, who where in the midst of preparing for their debut performance in December 2017, this was “The Witches Of Paisley”, performed in Paisley Abbey.

I spoke with Paisley Operas Artistic Director, Simon Hannigan, and The Witches Of Paisley’s Set Designer, Ruben San Roman Gamez, and Costume Designer, Marta Aspe, to discuss the theme of the show and what they required me to do. After reading the script and having a discussion with the aforementioned, we agreed that it would be beneficial to bring in another few make-up artists to help with the 40 strong cast who all required makeup with some requiring hairstyling. I teamed up with some of my class mates and we all attended the dress rehearsal on the 4th December 2017, where we tried out several types of makeup ranging from subtle and natural, to bold and colourful, to dark and striking. Once we all agreed on the final look, and all of the other creatives and director involved in the show where happy, we created sketches of the make-up and prepared for the two show nights on the 8th & 9th of December.

The main female characters had striking red and black eye makeup, which was smoked out towards the hairline at either side of the eye, and down to a point down the sides of the nose, creating a dramatic effect. The main male characters had black shading on their foreheads and under the cheekbones, to give their faces a stern, almost evil look. The rest of the cast where all to be poor, dirty, aged and unwell looking, this was done with the use of powders and pencils to create wrinkles, under-eye bags, dirty patches of skin, and discolouration.

On both show nights there was a very short turnaround time from when the cast arrived, to when the show started, therefore we knew we had to be organised and work strategically through all the makeups to ensure the whole cast was ready with plenty of time. On both nights we had a team of 3 makeup artists, with myself being the lead artist, co-coordinating with the cast and crew to make sure everything ran smoothly. We completed the make-ups before the time slot, allowing all of the cast & crew to briefly relax backstage before curtain up.

This was an amazing experience to be part of, as it showed me what to expect in this busy fast paced environment and the reward of seeing your finished work on stage was incredible. Below are some of the images from behind the scenes and the show itself, if you’re intruigued by the creation of theatrical makeup for a production then have a look through the images. If you have any questions or queries, complete a contact form or leave a comment and I will get back to you.

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