Wil Crowther is celebrating twenty-five years as the resident costume designer for Stevenson University. Wil has designed for such theatres as Rep Stage, Iron Crow Theatre, Axis Theatre, Theatre Hopkins and Center Stage. Selected costume design credits include The Tempest, The Yellow Wallpaper, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Angels in America and Sunset Boulevard. Currently Wil is working on The Odd Couple and Oedipus Rex—SU’s fall productions. I had a moment to chat with Wil about some thoughts on his Stevenson/Villa Julie College Theatre experiences.
Do you have a favorite VJC/SU memory?
One of my best memories at VJC/SU would be my initial meeting with Sally Harris [founder of the Villa Julie Theatre Department.) A meeting was arranged to discuss me designing a production of Largo Desolato. The year was 1990, having just graduated from the Towson State University theatre program, I was thrilled to get freelance work so soon. The meeting was easy and before it was over I not only had the design job, but also a part time faculty position, teaching the costume practicum class. This was the beginning of a wonderful working friendship with Sally and soon with Chris Roberts [past theatre department chair] as well.
Is there a production you have designed that you are MOST proud of and what made that production so special for you?
My first year of graduate school I was given the design task of a multi-cultural production of the Othello story. Working with the famous Japanese director, Shozo Sato we blended movement and performance styles to create a truly new theatrical experience. The costumes were elaborate, many made from Japanese brocades bought by the director for our production. This production was taken to the Experimental Theatre Festival in Cairo, with me invited along to maintain the costumes. In Cairo the production was seen by the Artistic director of The National Theatre of Weimar who wanted to mount a production in Germany as part of his season. I was asked to oversee the re-creation of a set of my designs by his shop in Weimar. Working with an interpreter, I managed to complete this task. So, two weeks in Cairo, two trips to Weimar and working with beautiful Japanese brocaded fabrics would make Iago's Plot one of the projects I am most proud of.
Do you have any hobbies/interests outside of theatre? Where might we find you on a day that you are not working in the costume shop?
I have a marionette collection that I started while traveling. In my free time (what's that?) I like to restore vintage marionettes that I acquire in antique shops or on EBay. I also love to travel. Venice is the most beautiful city, although London and New Orleans are always wonderful getaways. Future dream trips include Greece, Turkey and Spain!
I started out as a Fashion Design major at the Community College of Baltimore County while working in a paper factory with my dad. I then became an Art Education major at Towson. After seeing a production of Blythe Spirit at The Maryland Arts Festival and taking an Introduction to Theatre course, I fell into costume design. Quite the journey, but I landed where I was meant to be.