ODC Stories: Costuming “The Velveteen Rabbit”

The costuming of ODC’s The Velveteen Rabbit plays a central role in allowing audiences to share in the splendor and playfulness of the production. In 1989 KT Nelson, the director and original choreographer, worked with Brian Wildsmith, a children’s book illustrator, to create the designs for The Velveteen Rabbit.

Brian Wildsmith’s drawings of the Narrator and Toy Soldiers

Brian Wildsmith’s drawings of the Narrator and Toy Soldier costumes


ODC's The Velveteen Rabbit 2013

Liz Brent making adjustments to the Narrator Costume

Today, Liz Brent, ODC’s Assistant Production Manager and Resident Costumer, is responsible for the upkeep of the costumes. Liz oversees all aspects of the wardrobe, from washing bunny heads and keeping bunny ears perky, to patching trousers, reconstructing beloved costumes from scratch and handling last minute adjustments right before the dancers step onto the stage.

Liz became The Velveteen Rabbit Wardrobe Supervisor in 2011 when the previous supervisor bowed out at the last minute. She had recently moved to San Francisco and was volunteering regularly as an ODC Lobby Monitor in exchange for classes. David Coffman, ODC Production Manager, heard Liz had costuming experience and asked her, “Do you want to do this?” Fortunately for ODC, Liz jumped at the opportunity.

Liz, a born organizer, inherited a wardrobe system in complete disarray. So, with the help of the company members, she developed The Velveteen Rabbit Book to serve as the ultimate guide for records, costumes and props. The book contains everything from pictures of every costume and instructions on setting up props backstage for quick changes, to guidelines on washing and storing bunny heads. “We’re trying to put systems into place,” says Brent, “so if one of us does leave, anyone could come in and know what to do.”


The Velveteen Rabbit Book

The Velveteen Rabbit Book

Liz’s efforts have been immensely successful. While learning more about the fine details of wardrobe supervision and the particularities of designing costumes for dancers, she’s created a valuable tool that helps ensure The Velveteen Rabbit’s story continues to awe audiences while the production crew stays organized.

Come see the show in person. It’s not too late to purchase tickets for a performance of The Velveteen Rabbit at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts theater.

ODC Stories
ODC’s creative DNA is made up of thousands of bold actions, curious questions, and intelligent individuals. As a Partner in Creativity, you already know a thing or two about the infectious energy and many stepping stones the ODC Creative Campus has to offer dancers, teachers, choreographers, audience members, and families. ODC Stories is an inside look at some of the inspirational moments we see unfolding daily within ODC’s spheres of influence. Your partnership is key in helping continue to foster the discoveries and growth experiences that advance the impact of our community members in the Bay Area and beyond.


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