How did you get involved with Phantom and how long have you been working here?
I’ve been here for 4 years now and I got involved because there was an opportunity as a wig assistant and I was lucky enough to get the job and I’ve progressed from there.
Can you give us a brief description of your role?
Overseeing all the wigs, making sure everything’s dressed properly and put on properly during the show – general upkeep and looking out to see if any wigs need mending. There’s a lot of upkeep, it’s quite long days for us, we do about 9 hours a day on split shifts. We have people come in at 10am and work through until 7pm and the rest of us come in at 1pm and work through until the end of the show – so yes, very long days as there’s a lot of wig dressing to do! We use around 60 wigs per show but that’s not taking into account all the swings (actors who cover various roles) wigs that we have to get ready in case they have to go on so it’s well over 100 in total and that’s not including facial hair that we use and other bits and bobs – there’s a lot of hair!
Can you describe your typical day?
Depending on which shift we’re on, we come in and put the oven on as we need that to bake the wigs. Then we assess which wigs need setting or tidying for that day so the earlier shift will set the wigs that need setting ready for the people that come in later who will dress the wigs out. We basically spend the whole day between us, there are five of us at any given time during the day, getting them all together and then we have to make sure the wigs are delivered throughout the building to the correct dressing rooms. We then have our break (which we enjoy!) and once the half is called (35 minutes before show time) we begin going around the building on the plots we’re on looking after the actors – putting on their wigs, taking off their wigs, doing their wig preps and anything else they need help with. It’s a very busy day but it’s a well oiled machine.