March 2011

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March 2011


Special Guest to Help Review Portfolios

Carrie F. Robbins will join this year's Costume Portfolio Review session as a special guest reviewer.

Carrie Robins

Ms. Robbins has had a distinguished career both as a costume designer and as an educator at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. Her design work includes Broadway productions of Grease, Agnes of God, Yentl, Octette Bridgeclub, Sweet Bird of Youth, The First, Frankenstein, Boys of Winter, Cyrano, and Shadow Box. Her recent work for the Broadway version of Irving Berlin's White Christmas continues to make its annual New York appearance while touring nationally.

She has designed for Lincoln Center Rep, Chelsea Theatre Center, New York Shakespeare Festival, Arena Stage, Glimmerglass, the Mark Taper Forum, and The Guthrie. Other designs have been for San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Hamburg Statsoper, and others. Film and television credits include In the Spirit and Saturday Night Live.

She has received two Tony nominations and five Drama Desk awards. She also designed uniforms for the Rainbow Room and Windows on the World restaurants. Her rendering expertise covers both traditional and digital forms. She recently curated the Lincoln Center Library exhibit Curtain Call, which featured the design work of women in theatre.

Along with Ms. Robbins, the Review Committee will schedule sessions for any designer seeking feedback and advice on how to develop, improve, and present a portfolio. The committee is comprised of working artists and educators. The reviews are open to designers, technicians, crafts artisans, hair and make-up artists, and any practitioner combining those fields.

Past committee chairman Rafael JaƩn suggests five guidelines to presenting work:

  • Pay attention to grooming and use professional manners.
  • Have a plan, use clear voice articulation, and listen carefully to feedback. Clear labeling, captions, and keys will help guide the viewer.
  • Have a beginning, middle, and end. Plan transitions between projects. Include visuals that explain the scope of the project.
  • Have brief concept statements, and use proper garment names and period references. Include important research materials. Be current with the show information and dramaturgy.
  • Feature different theatrical styles and historical periods. Include different sketching styles. Make sure the page layout and use of captions are impeccably designed.

A digital portfolio also should be "designed." To have a digital format portfolio reviewed, bring a laptop with the portfolio ready to be viewed.

Portfolio Reviews at the USITT Annual Conference & Stage Expo are valuable sessions that can assist designers and technicians. This year, Esther Van Eek and Steven Stines begin as co-chairs for the reviews. The commission highly encourages all participants to share in the excitement of these sessions. Volunteering as a reviewer can be inspiring and helpful to both the interviewee and the mentor. Having the courage to get a critique from professionals in the field can be of great value for the young designer or technician in building self-confidence and charting their next steps.

For more information or to sign up as a reviewer or to be reviewed, please contact Steven Stines at, and provide your contact information, including area of concentration, school affiliation, and level of study or experience.