Catherine Chan Costumier


Background & Education

Catherine holds a Bachelor of Design (Multimedia Design) and was initially interested in becoming a 3D animator/modeller. Originally self-taught, she has since trained in Period & Theatrical Costume Making at the Northern College of Costume in York, UK. Her work has always focused on attention to detail, tailoring and workmanship.

She discovered her passion for costuming in 2012 after spending a gap year living and working in Orlando, FL. On returning home to Melbourne, Australia, she began cosplaying as a hobby and decided to pursue costume-making full-time in 2016.

Catherine loves the creative, problem-solving process whilst collaborating with other talented artists, and her 3D skills have often come in handy. She is inspired by pop culture, but has recently turned to exploring period and historical costuming.

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Catherine developed her costume skills on independent films and by volunteering on a multitude of amateur theatre productions, constantly learning and developing techniques to further her craft.

After four years as a hobbyist, Catherine decided to go freelance and started her own side business, Illumis Creations, offering costume and embroidery commissions, and other handcrafted products.

At the beginning of 2019, Catherine moved to the UK on a 2 year working visa to complete a 15 week course at the Northern College of Costume in York, making three period costumes: a Tudor lady, an Edwardian men’s Norfolk jacket and knee breeches, and a WW1 era evening dress (1914-17). She finished in May and spent two weeks of placement in the costume workroom of Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre in Malton, York before being employed as a Dresser for their York summer season.

In early 2020, Catherine spent two weeks interning with Hand & Lock, the oldest embroidery house in London, and at Ciment Pleating in Hertfordshire, learning the age-old techniques of hand-pleating. Sadly, the global pandemic cut short her stay after only 14 months and she returned to Melbourne.

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International Experience

Catherine has an extensive array of industry credits in Australia, New Zealand and the UK. Hard-working and ambitious, she will happily travel to chase her dreams.

As an avid traveller and adventurer, she will gladly relocate or travel to pursue work opportunities either domestically or internationally. In 2017-18, she worked in Melbourne, Sydney and Auckland respectively, on consecutive seasons with Pop-Up Globe before moving to the UK. 

After the season at Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre in York ended in late 2019, Catherine moved to London in search of work and pursued job opportunities in theatre and film around the country. She was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to spend a couple of days on location on a period feature film in London as a costume crowd daily/standby and assist one day in their costume workroom, as well as spend a day on set as a costume daily trainee for the new ‘All Creatures Great and Small‘ TV series in Harrogate.

Described as a “dresser tourist” by one UK theatre tech manager, Catherine hopped between regional UK theatres to dress on touring productions, such as ‘Les Miserables‘ and ‘The King and I‘. She was also offered the opportunity to tour with Feld Entertainment’s ‘Marvel Universe Live! Age of Heroes‘ arena stunt show around England, Scotland and Ireland for five weeks at the end of 2019 as part of their local touring crew.

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Career Goals

Determination, ambition, drive, passion and curiosity – these values are reflected in her costumes and work ethic.

In an ideal world, Catherine would be involved in everything if she could! She prefers being behind the scenes making and watching the magic happen, and will happily be involved in all the stages of a project from pre-production through to production.

Catherine thrives on the fast-paced, hectic atmosphere of live theatre. Theatre and dressing will always be Catherine’s first love and she is eager to join a wardrobe team on a large musical production, but she is also seeking to gain more experience in a costume workroom, and in the film/TV industry. 

Now back in Australia, Catherine is hoping her skills and experience will help her explore the Australian theatre and film industry further. 

If you have any employment opportunities or film/TV trainee roles in any area of costume/wardrobe, please get in contact below. Catherine would love to hear from you!

Bath, UK