Esther Lofley

Esther's Royal Tour

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I am Esther Lofley, costumier, designer and visual artist - and the Principal Costumier and Costume Manager at the Royal New Zealand Ballet (RNZB). I am heading to the USA and Europe in 2019 to learn from colleagues in ballet companies and bring that deep and varied knowledge back to New Zealand.

I have dedicated the last eleven years to mastering my craft at the RNZB and I am one of a handful of artisans working at this level in this field in New Zealand.

At this point in my career, I want to take my knowledge to the next level by undertaking progressive professional development in the discipline of building costume for live performance.

The Project:

In order to undertake this research and knowledge-sharing experience, I must travel to other leading performing arts workshops. Contributions to my Boosted campaign will go towards travel costs and living expenses.

Where smaller New Zealand workrooms encourage generalisation, the scale and number of international workrooms allows for the development of extremely specialised craftspeople and professionals with very specific knowledge. I am in a unique position with my broad knowledge where I will be able to work alongside specialists in numerous fields.

I will work with costume makers who are experts in their particular craft, i.e. pattern drafting, millinery, tutu construction, tailoring, and dyeing, to name a few!

I have made strong connections with leading international companies, having networked extensively with visiting choreographers, directors and costume doyens. I have a list of invitations and am building on existing relationships to find placements at leading international workrooms.

As well as the skills of costume making, I will also pay close attention to the way other costume departments are run to see if the RNZB and other kiwi workrooms can learn from the ways of working that develop in environments where there are more staff.

I will document my trip from both a technical perspective and by sharing my personal experiences and stories from my travels with everyone who enables me to undertake this project.


  • Houston Calling....!

    5 DAYS AGO

    Great news this week has come from Houston Ballet, which has agreed to have me come and spend time in the wardrobe. Their Head of Costume emailed to say:

    "I am thrilled to be asked to have you visit our Costume Shop… It'll be lovely to have you visit us and I also look forward to learning from you all I can."

    I am right in the midst of my fundraising, and am so thankful for your support. Please help me by sharing my Boosted project with your friends and family. Every donation - no matter the size - is so appreciated and will help me to realise this dream.



    Houston Calling....!
  • I've reached 14%!


    Thank you so much to everyone who has contributed so far. Words can't express my gratitude at your support!

    It's been a very busy week in the workroom as the RNZB gets ready for The Nutcracker. Our media maverick Jeremy made this short video - for your viewing pleasure.