The costume designer Gary Page is usually armed with a more lavish budget than the one he has to work with on this new version of Peter Pan at The King's Head Theatre, Islington, the first pub theatre in London.
He was the principal cutter on the last two Harry Potter films, where he has just made the ethereal embroidered robes that Michael Gambon wears as Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
As the fabric buyer for the Batman sequel, he is busy sourcing stretch fabrics for the outfit worn by the man in black, played by Christian Bale, buying only the very finest materials in Paris. Now, his latest challenge is to make costumes for Peter Pan on a shoe-string budget of £10 per character.
Despite a humble budget, this version of the story of the boy who never grew up brings together the songs and the music of Leonard Bernstein's in a complete score, under the musical direction of Mike Dixon. Dixon already has a string of big West End musicals under his belt, including We Will Rock You, Daddy Cool, Footloose, Grease and Jesus Christ Superstar.
Stephanie Sinclaire, the director, who has also adapted JM Barrie's novel for the stage, wrote, directed and co-produced the feature film Silence Becomes You with Alicia Silverstone and has also worked with the cinematographer Jack Cardiff on The Dance of Shiva.
Page's stylish concoctions range from spectacular glow-in-the-dark mermaid costumes made with shells, seaweed and sequins, to a waistcoat made out of leaves, worn by Peter Pan. He has had to be more inventive than ever before. "The dog, Nana, is made out of mop heads because a proper dog costume is too expensive," says Page. "You have to think harder, because you can't go for whatever you fancy."
Page has designed costumes for other theatre productions, including Alice in Wonderland at the Welsh National Opera and The Snow Queen at the Eden Project. His fashion career was established when he was made head designer for the label Red or Dead. He has been teaching at the Chelsea School of Art and Design for the last 12 years.
He says: "I am using recycled fabrics. It gives the characters a faded and worn look, the opposite of what you would expect to see at a pantomime."
11 December to 14 January (020-7226 1916; www.kingsheadtheatre.org)Reuse content