Next Story in this issue
News & Notices
Enter Now for Awards
News From:
Conference & Stage Expo
For the Record

Rosemary Ingham holds her Distinguished Achievement Award and floral tributes at the 2006 USITT Annual Conference & Stage Expo in Louisville, Kentucky. Patricia Martin, far left, was USITT Costume Design & Technology Commissioner in 2006 and presented the award.

Photo/USITT Archive, Casey Kearns


In Memoriam:
Rosemary Ingham 1936-2008

Liz Covey

It is with great sadness that I write these words in tribute to Rosemary Ingham who died of a stroke on July 13, 2008 at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

There is so much to tell about Rosemary's full and varied life that it is hard to know where to begin and what to include in this brief tribute. She was a writer, costume designer, teacher, mother and good friend, who loved life and lived it to the fullest.

Rosemary was born in Charlottesville, Virginia and was raised by her grandparents. Her grandfather sold Singer sewing machines and her grandmother was a tailor who taught Rosemary to sew as a child. While studying to be a nurse at the University of Virginia, she volunteered to sew costumes for the theatre department where she met Bob Ingham, an actor and playwright. They married and had three sons before moving to New Haven, Connecticut where she studied playwriting and costume design at the Yale School of Drama, and where she became a founding member of the Long Wharf Theatre.

She completed her B.A. with high honors in English at the University of Montana in 1973, after giving birth to a fourth son, and later earned an M.A. in the liberal arts from St. John's College in Annapolis, Maryland.

During her long and varied career, Rosemary worked as an editorial assistant, court reporter, costume shop manager, and stage director, and was part owner of a fabric store in Charlottesville. She taught at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas and the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia. She gave numerous workshops both in the United States and abroad.

She loved Shakespeare, was an avid reader, had a great thirst for knowledge, and a wonderful sense of humor. In recent years she traveled extensively visiting the United Kingdom, Italy, China, Hong Kong, and Prague.

Her costume designs have graced the stages of some of the most prestigious theatres across this country including the Kennedy Center, The Alley Theatre, Long Wharf, Dallas and Illinois Shakespeare Festivals, The Utah Shakespearean Festival, Arena Stage, Woolly Mammoth Theatre, and American Players Theatre.

Rosemary was a founding member of the Great River Shakespeare Festival in Winona, Minnesota in 2003 and designed seven of its first eight productions.

USITT honored her with the Golden Pen award in 2004 for The Costume Technician's Handbook and the Distinguished Achievement Award in Costume Design in 2006.

At the time of her death, she was working on a new book about the collaborative design process (a follow-up to her book From Page to Stage), writing a novel, planning a trip to Italy to visit her youngest son and daughter-in-law in Verona, and had recently acquired a small canine companion, Jo, whom she adored - life was good.

She touched so very many lives as was evident in the thousands of visitors and hundreds of eloquent tributes that were posted on the Caring Bridge web site set up by her family during her last days.

She is survived by sons Richard, Ted, Jim, and Stephen; daughters-in-law Leslie, Alice, and Lawren; and grandchildren Nate, Rosemary, Emmy, and Harriet.

There will be a celebration of her life at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre on Saturday, October 25, 2008 at 2 p.m. All are welcome.

Ms. Covey co-authored with Ms. Ingham The Costume Designer's Handbook and The Costume Technician's Handbook.

To Top