She has to custom fit Christ for seven changes of clothing during his three-hour performance of the greatest story ever told. But that’s just the start – she’s also in charge of fitting the Passion Play’s 200+ actors.
Here are a few facts to ponder…
•Deborah has a passion for design and has been fitting Canadian Badlands Passion Play actors since 1999.
• Every actor has to wear and be custom fitted with sandals – no exceptions.
•Temperatures can hit 40C+ during an afternoon performance – so most garments are made of natural fibers – cotton, linen & wool to keep actors cool and wick away moisture
•Most actors have hidden water bottles in fabric to stay hydrated and prevent heat stroke
• Deborah Lawton with the help of two apprentice costumers, two on-site seamstresses, a wardrobe administrator and several volunteer stitchers, custom fit 200 actors with authentic looking period costumes, most of which have multiple layers and head gear.
• More than 50 pieces of armor including steel helmets and Lorica’s, chain maille, breastplates, swords, shields and spears must be kept in perfect condition.
• All actor fittings takes place at the Jerusalem Wall. In the off-season costumes are stored on-site.
• The final fittings are completed one week prior to the opening of the Canadian Badlands Passion Play.
• Garment challenges range from beggar costumes (bits and pieces of rags), to Roman soldiers with metal armor, to dancers with flowing garments and jewellery, to small children still wearing diapers.
Deborah is also the Canadian Badlands Passion Play’s current set designer and technical director.
When not working at the Passion Play, one of her other roles is as a Senior Highschool drama teacher in Airdrie.