Leading from Backstage: Georgia Bebler ’18From zippers and buttons to wigs and crowns, the Gustavus senior has found a home designing costumes behind the scenes.
Posted on October 30th, 2017 by

Georgia Bebler '18 was the lead costume design student for last year's on-campus production of King Lear.

The lights dim, the crowd falls silent, and the actors fill the wings, taking a final deep breath and recalling their first lines. For Gustavus Adolphus College senior Georgia Bebler, the lines are a second thought. She is checking zippers, buttons, and each thread, tucking runaway hairs beneath the secured wigs. A final up and down, an approving nod, and the actors turn to face the sellout crowd. Bebler turns the opposite way, hurrying back to prepare for the first costume change.

“The technical elements of costume and set are the two physical things in a professional production that never change. If you can perfect these, regardless of anything else, you have created the necessary foundation to set up your actors and show for success,” Bebler said. “It’s our job to make sure everyone looks exactly the way they are supposed to.”

Bebler (kneeling, left) worked with the Lake Dillon Theatre Company this summer.

The theatre and art double major excels behind the scenes. At Gustavus, she spends her time working in the costume shop, designing, creating, and preparing the department for various productions.

Finding her way to her costumes focused theatre major did not take long for Bebler. The Chaska, Minn. native began her time at Gustavus pursuing an art-focused career. Quickly, she found herself immersed in the theatre department, drafting, draping, and altering patterns while enjoying the tight-knit community of her peers and professors.

The spring of her first-year on campus, a close friend convinced Bebler to try the other side of the stage. She has been a member of the campus improv troupe, LineUs, ever since. The student-run organization performs comedy shows throughout the year, bringing theatre and humor to the entire student body.

After spending time on the stage, in the studio, and behind the needle, Bebler explored the possibility of a future career in an offstage role with her expertise. In the spring of her junior year, she began applying to different theatre companies throughout the country. Right away, she was invited to serve as the costumes and wardrobe apprentice for a professional theatre company located in Silverthorne, Colorado, the Lake Dillon Theatre Company. Taking advantage of the provided housing, Bebler packed up, calmed her nerves, and moved west for the summer. Settling into her newfound independence, she thrived in her first professional offstage role. Bebler draped patterns, sewed fabric, and assisted the preparation of the professional actors both before and during show productions.

“I was more prepared than I had expected, yet I also learned that I don’t know everything. That, along with being okay with not being in control, is a very important thing to learn. But one of the most important things I left with was that I knew I made some good calls along the way to end up where I was. That felt good,” Bebler said. “It was very similar to my time behind Gustavus shows, yet a little more difficult. Not only were there union rules, but I also worked with actors of all ages, all personality types, and all different preferences. I definitely learned a lot.”

Bebler alters a vintage wedding dress behind the scenes.

Outside of the shows, Bebler’s role as an apprentice also involved assisting in Lake Dillon’s Youth Theatre Workshop. The company hosted  three-week intensive children’s camps and the employees sought to make the mini-production as close to reality as possible for the kids. Working directly with children, Bebler was able to practice her expertise in costume production while engaging new minds with theatre.

“I was surprised how much I loved the kid’s camp. It was extremely rewarding, the kids are just so goofy and so excited to be there,” Bebler laughed.

Looking ahead, Bebler also has a lot to be excited about. Her final shows with LineUs and her lead role as costume designer for the theatre department’s Cabaret production will conclude a successful four years at Gustavus. Beyond that, she is hoping to land exactly where she loves to be, in an offstage role with a theater company and assisting with productions.

“Being involved in the arts at Gustavus is something I am very thankful for,” Bebler said.”The theatre community is full of some incredible people. They respect the arts. And they give us a shot. We leave here ready for what’s next.”

To learn more about the Gustavus Department of Theatre and Dance, visit the departmental website.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication Luc Hatlestad


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