Richard has lived with sewing all his life, as his mother was an avid sewer and sewing instructor - his first major project was a War of 1812 era military uniform at the age of 11. Since then he has sewed off and on creating clothing for himself, family, and friends. Once he returned to the theatre in 1995, his interest in sewing was again kindled and he has been designing and manufacturing a large number of costumes for theatre productions he performs in. Being slightly off the 'normal' size and shape, he has found that it is often easier to make his own costumes so they fit properly and the wardrobe persons don't seem to mind the help.

"I have always believed that creating a costume for someone is like creating a second skin for their character. My brain is always creating and oft times creates things that I can't wear myself or that friends won't wear. I also like to experiment with fabrics and designs and so started hand-crafting dolls."


























Richard's love of history has served him well in designing costumes ranging from early Medieval to late Victorian periods for some of the many events and performances in which he has had a hand. Whether on-stage or backstage (and sometimes both) he is always willing to give a hand to be sure the actors are comfortable in their costumes.

Much of what Richard creates is for re-enactment or historical venues and as such are closer to historical clothing than stage costumes (although some of the costumes meet halfway in the middle). Many have commented that Richard doesn't seem to wear a costume when he performs, he is wearing the clothing that his character would wear. Part of that is the effort and detail put into the costume and part is his innate acting ability.

Richard designs and manufactures many of the costumes worn within the Blackthorn Productions company and most of the costumes worn by The Baker Street Victorian Carollers. Richard has created costumes for opera, musical theatre and drama, both for himself and for others, including costuming an industrial film and ad campaign for a Burlington, Ontario, company. He has also created clothing and costumes for a number of themed weddings and events including various historical eras and steampunk. For the past few years, Richard has been doing costume repairs for local theatre companies, the most notable of which is Medieval Times in Toronto.

If you would like to discuss costuming design with Richard, please email him at richard@ractenor.com


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