Theatre guild goes Victorian

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From pantaloons to petticoats and spats to top hats, the Belleville Theatre Guild’s Victorian Fashion Show and High Tea was the place to be to see what was fashionable in the late 1800s.

The idea for the event began in November 2012 after the theatre received a donation of over 30 period costumes from Foxboro Fabrics worth about $5,000. Created for the Belleville bicentennial, the costumes had been in storage until the donation. 

“We wanted to show all the work put into the costumes.  They were all handmade by local people,” said Meaghan Lattanzio, special events director for the BTG.

The fashion show was organized outside of the theatre’s regular playbill.

“The goal is to show off the costumes, get people into the theatre who may not have been in th epast and give some of our volunteers the opportunity to try something different,” said Lattanzio.

Ranging from age three to over 80, the volunteers were tasked with a range of positions, such as models, servers, presenters and behind the scenes crew.

The fashion show was a mix of beautiful costumes, 18th century attitudes and a bit of comic relief with a creative script describing the specific styles of the pieces. 

As well, the Queen herself oversaw the event, in the form of volunteer Pat Gray.

Even some of the audience came dressed for the occasion.  Seven-year-old Sarah Pickard came dressed in a full, dark green and gold ball gown with matching cloth tiara. 

“I can’t decide, I liked them all,” said Pickard about which costume she liked the best.

With approximately 90 people in attendance and over $1,400 raised, the organizers were thrilled with the success of the show.

“I’m so pleased.  It went really well and the audience really responded,” said Linda Serres, co-organizer and costumer.

All funds raised will go back into the BTG to be used towards theatre initiatives and improvements.

Following the fashion show, the audience was invited to the lobby for high tea.  This gave them a chance to get an up-close look at the outfits while being served tea, cookies, scones and an assorted of delightful treats.  The crowded room was abuzz with positive feedback to the organizers and volunteers.

Along with the donated treats, theatre member Emily MacDonald provided a variety of teas.

“As a member of the theatre I wanted to contribute,” said MacDonald.  She also had samples and other items for sale.

“It’s all in support of our local theatre.  We are truly a community theatre,” said Lattanzio.


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