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About Asia-Anansi

Baltimore City

Asia-Anansi McCallum's picture
Whenever I pray before a production meeting, rehearsal, or performance, I recite the names of every designer and technician I admire. Someone advised me that this helps to channel the talented energy of all the costume, audio, and lighting designers/technicians who inspire me, including but not limited to artists like Ruth Carter, Sharen Davis, Paul Tazewell, Clint Ramos, and Russell Williams.  My name is Asia-Anansi McCallum, and I am a costume, sound, and lighting designer/technician. My home... more

Seussical at Sitar Arts Center

Sitar Arts Center is a youth theater company that services underpriveleged children and teenagers who live below the poverty line. Each summer, the company produces a full-size musical, directed by Lorraine Robinson, a Black woman with a Tony Award in Theater Education.

I served as Costume Designer for their summer 2018 production of Seussical. There was a cast size of 51, including the actors between the ages of 7 and 18, the pit band, ushers, and stagehands, which I had to create costumes for. My team included an intern and I, and we worked Monday-Friday from May-August 2018 on-site in the costume shop, as well as served as wardrobe dressers backstage during performances.

My budget was $2,000. I constructed about half of the costumes, including ears for Horton, a tutu dress for Gertrude McFuzz, a crown and gown for Mayzie LaBird, as well as wings and tails for all ensemble creatures, just to name a few. In addition, I purchased another half of the costumes from speciality craft stores, online, and thrift stores. What I love most about children's theater is that there are no limits to color, texture, and sensory details, such as incorporating taste and smell into the costumes. I incorporated a range of fabrics, such as tulle, silk, feathers, crepe, velvet, and faux fur.

  • Mr. and Mrs. Mayor

    costume, seussical, theater
    Mrs. and Mrs. Mayor of Seussical. Costumes include: beehive wig, purple hair dye, pink vintage dress, purple plaid full suit, mayoral sash.
  • The Wickersham Brothers

    costumes, seussical, theater
    The Wickersham Brothers of Seussical. Costumes include: faux fur monkey tails, wingtip shoes, 3-piece suits, top hats with ears, satin flower lapel pins.
  • The Bird Girls

    costumes, seussical, theater
    The Bird Girls of Seussical. Costumes include: pink feather tails, pink satin biker jackets, pink velvet skirts, vintage wigs, pink leotards, stockings, character shoes.
  • Mayzie La Bird

    costumes, seussical, theater
    Mayzie La Bird of Seussical. Costume includes: emerald green satin gown, long emerald green satin gloves, feather crown, feater scarf.
  • Horton the Elephant

    costumes, seussical, theater
    Horton the Elephant of Seussical. Costume includse: grey jumpsuit, grey mittens, grey plush ears.
  • Gertrude McFuzz

    costumes, seussical, theater
    Gertrude McFuzz of Seussical. Costume includes: blue glitter tutu skirt, blue feathered train, blue and white polka dot stockings, cobalt blue leotard, blue feathered ponytail holder,black character shoes.

Lost in Monet at ArtStream

ArtStream is an inclusive theater company, which means the theater provides aritstic opportunities for people with physial and intellectual disabilities.

I served as Costume Designer for their April 2017 production of Lost in Monet. The actors were all people living with disabilities, and the ensemble was empowered to collaborate with a professional director, playwright, choreographer, and musical director to write and compose an original musical.

While the ensemble and leaderhip team met for rehearsals two days per week between September 2016 and March 2017, I attended rehearsals as well. This helped me to build an initmate relationship with each actor, because some of them had special restrictions and needs, such as a need to wear certain colors, specific measurements, and ideal fabrics that would suit their disabilities. My favorite costume that I constructed was the Adam costume, inspired by a classical Adam & Eve painting. The director specified that she did not want any actor to appear "naked" onstage, so I used the illusion of leaves to create texture and story.

  • Museum Staff

    These actors are museum staff--the young man is a security guard, and the young lady is from the marketing department. Both costumes were purchased from the thrift store, and altered for best fit.
  • Adam and Eve Costume

    This is representative of Adam from the Bible. Because this actor and his ensemble has special disabilities, I focused on making the costume tasteful, colorful, and whimsical, instead of nude as many people would visualize Adam being. This costume was made from a green polo shirt purchased from the thrift store, and I hand-cut leaves from varied green felt paper and used hot glue to reinforce it. Additionally, a pair of matching pants were made from green thermal fabric, along with a leaf crown.
  • Painting Comes Alive

    One aspect of the musical was that a famous came to life. This painting featured musicians, so this photograph depicts one of museum visitors getting to meet one of the fictitious musicians. Her dress and his vest were built, and all other costume items were purchased.

Ain't Misbehavin at Arena Players

Arena Players is one of the oldest, continuosly producing African-American theater companies in the country, nestled in Baltimore. I served as a season-long costume designer/design assitant for the 2017-2018 season.

I served as Costume Designer for their July 2018 production of Ain't Misbehavin'. This is arguably the most successful production in Arena Players' history, based on article reviews, audience reception, and ticket sales, which is important because Ain't Misbehavin' is the only Black musical to ever be produced on Broadway. An additional method that Arena Players used to raise the bar was hiring a Black director, Devron Young, who is a member of the famous union, Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers.

There were 4 rotating actresses and 5 rotating actors. I built all of the ladies dresses and borrowed furs, with the assistance of resident costume designer Victoria Jackson, who sourced all of the ladies jewelry and hats. In addition, I borrowed the men's suits, crafted the satin lapel pins, and purchased shoes and vintage coats.

I was nominated for a BroadwayWorld Award in Best Costume Design for this production.

#poolparty at Ally Theater

Ally Theater is a 3-year old emerging professional theater company that serves Baltimore and Washington, DC. The company's primary mission is to produce new plays be new, emerging playwrights who are minorities (women, LGBTQ, people of color, etc.)

I served as Costume Designer for their June 2018 production of #poolparty. The playwrights vision was to narrate a parallel between the history of a racist lawsuit of a public pool in 1950s Montgomery County, MD, to present day public pools in the Baltimore-DC area.

For this production, I worked closely with the projections and set designers in order to maintain a cohesive color palette.

Oleanna at Perisphere Theater

  • "The Confrontation" from Oleanna

    This photograph represents Carol and Professor John. This is her second interaction with him. Their color palettes are similar to illustrate their intentions with each other. All costume pieces were borrowed and altered as needed.
  • "Oleanna" at Perisphere Theater

    "Oleanna" is a popular contemporary play, which the director interpreted to be set in the 1990s, adding the twist of a Black woman and White male actor. Her purple dress was built, and all other costume items were purchased and altered as needed.
  • "The Manipulation" from Oleanna

    This photograph represents Carol and Professor John. This is her third meeting with him, and he makes an inappropriate pass on her. All costume pieces in this scene were borrowed and altered as needed.

Copenhagen at Perisphere Theater

  • "Dr. and Mrs. Bohr" from Copenhagen

    These characters are Dr. and Mrs Bohr from the play "Copenhagen." The lady's character, Margarethe, is wearing a 1940's style dress, constructed by me, and all other costume pieces were borrowed and altered as necessary.
  • "The Trio" from Copenhagen

    These are the three characters from the play "Copenhagen." The lady's character, Margarethe, is wearing a 1940's style dress, constructed by me, and all other costume pieces were borrowed and altered as necessary.
  • "Dr. Heisenberg" from Copenhagen

    These are the three characters from the play "Copenhagen." Dr. Heisenberg's suit was borrowed and altered/tailored for best fit.
  • "Mrs. Bohr" from Copenhagen

    This character, Margarethe Bohr, is wearing a 1940's style dress, constructed by me, and all other costume pieces were borrowed and altered as necessary. I also consulted on the hair styling and makeup needed for the complete look.

Tell Pharoah at Coppin State University

Coppin State University has a semi-professional theater company, Coppin Rep Theater. During my Urban Arts Leadership fellowship through Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance, I served as Costume Designer for Coppin's December 2017 production of Tell Pharoah.

This production had an ensemble of 13 actors, about half were Coppin students and about half were guest actors. All of the costumes were pulled from Coppin's costume stock or borrowed from WombWorks Theater's costume stock, while I also did alerations and craft projects like dyeing and distressing. My favorite creative aspect of this production was the chosen design aesthetic between Act 1 and Act 2. Act 1 was more of neutral sepia tones, like browns, coffees, and manilla tones whereas Act 2 was more of ankara/African prints and jewel tones.

I was nominated for a BroadwayWorld Award in Best Costume Design for this production.

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