Ruth Ferns-Duncan Costume BA (Hons)

Ruth Ferns-Duncan

Ruth Ferns-Duncan (She/Her)

Costume Costume for TV, Theatre & Film – BA (Hons)

Ruth made it her ambition to encompass a wide range of mediums and techniques during her final year of study; primarily focusing on specialised costume making, textile effects & refined pattern cutting. She very much enjoys the creative problem solving process, overcoming logistical limitations, particularly for costumes which need to meet highly specific requirements. Ruth values the importance of bringing sustainable practices into the industry and hopes to make a positive impact in her future working environment.


BOVTS credits:

Costume Supervisor Toy Plastic Chicken (The Wardrobe Theatre)

Costume Maker Macbeth (Bristol Old Vic);  Pride & Prejudice (The Mount Without); LOAM (Bristol Old Vic); Troilus & Cressida (The Redgrave); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (The Malcolm X Centre)

Costume Assistant Three Seagulls (Bristol Old Vic)

Costume Assistant and Maker Absolute scenes (The Marble Factory)

Costume Supervisor and Maker While Shepherds Watched (Touring Show)

Costume Standby A Sense Of Occasion (Christchurch Studios); Two Alone (Christchurch Studios)

Designer & Maker  Improvised dance, Theatre & Play – The Original Spinners (Various locations); The Hive (Glastonbury Festival)




Alien Space Suit

“Here I gave myself the opportunity to explore how wearable and robust prosthetics can be integrated into the costume itself. I first experimented with various ways of creating an alien skin-like textile that had enough structural integrity to be stretched and sewn through. I then pushed my knowledge of stretchwear pattern cutting & construction to its absolute limits, by coming up with this interwoven part silicone/neoprene/scuba-knit designed bodysuit, complete with neckpiece (see website for more). I was also able to include screen printing and a lot of dyeing techniques into this project.”

Photography credit: Ruth Ferns Duncan

Dystopian Desert Dress

“For this piece I very much wanted to play with possibilities of sculpting using fabric & find ways to give a three-dimensional element to a costume. Draping, pleats, piping and topstitching enabled me to create plenty of texture and depth, whilst applying delicate airbrushing and careful dye work helped to bring out the details. All this in combination with the wide, bowl-neck cut and raggedly apocalyptic sleeves meant I could achieve the dystopian, otherworldly essence I was going for. There is also a chunky zip hidden beneath the front panel, for extra practicality.”

Photography credit: Ruth Ferns-Duncan

Show Make - Oberon for A Midsummer Night’s Dream

“For Oberon’s costume, I saw a great chance to evolve the silicone technique I’d developed from a previous costume in order to create these bracket fungus pieces, which appear to be growing out of the mossy patches on his legs (patches I created by dying and painting into a textured synthetic blanket). I gained experience dying and sewing with silk to make his sleeves and built on my previous knowledge of leatherwork to make his belt. I made sure not to waste any scraps of silk, so all offcuts were fashioned into leaves, dyed various shades of green, & machine appliquéd around the front edge of his jacket. His trousers included tucks and rouches to give them an organic look.”

Photography credit: Ed Felton Photography

Training at BOVTS set me up with the skillset, confidence and connections for the career I now have as a freelance theatre designer. Max Johns, MA Performance Design Alumni