We look to the past to shape our future. Who are you? Where are you going from here?

My name is Clara Jean Kelly, I am a costume designer and technician from Cincinnati, Ohio. After my brief stay here at Theater at Monmouth I will be returning to Cincinnati to become the Costume Shop Manager at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. I will also be designing three shows there this upcoming season, Miss Holmes, August: Osage County, and Pride and Prejudice.

What most excites you about being a part of TAM’s 50th Anniversary Season?

This summer I get to design costumes for The Merry Wives of Windsor which has long been one of my favorite Shakespearean comedies. I am very excited to lend my talents to the company while also getting to work on one of my bucket list shows.

We’re all about making old things new and new things classic. Why are you drawn to Classic Theatre? How do you shake it up?

As a costume designer I especially like classic theatre because of the chance to research, design and build historical clothing. Classic theatre gives costume designers the opportunity to design a wide range of time periods. For example, our version of Merry Wives this season is set in the 1940’s. This is of course not the original time period in which it was intended to be set, but classical theatre often gives us the opportunity to change settings and situations more than many modern plays do.

Who inspires you and why?

I work with, and am friends with, a number of artists (this entire company included) who constantly inspire me with their talents and dedication to their craft.

You can have dinner with any three influential people. Who are your dream guests, why them, and what is the topic of conversation?

Hapshepsut. The conversation would be about Ancient Egyptian culture and how she was able to break through the patriarchal society and become one of the most important and successful pharaohs.

J.R.R. Tolkien. His books changed my life, and honestly, I feel it would be less of a conversation and more of me just listening to him talk about Middle Earth and all the lore around it.

The artist Banksy. I feel like they have a very interesting belief about what art is, why it is important and why it is important to create.

What recent accomplishment are you most proud of?

I recently designed Twelfth Night as my first design for the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. Going into this project I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to do it but it ended up going really well and I was super proud of the final product.

What’s your super power? 

Stretch Armstrong! Except I’d be able to stretch time. Everyone needs more time in theatre production!