Leslie Stamoolis is a costume designer, technician, and educator. She has designed and built costumes in Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, California, and Washington. Leslie holds an MFA in Costume Design from University of California, Irvine, an MA in Theatre from Miami University in Oxford, OH, and a BA in Communications with a minor in classical voice from Taylor University in Upland, IN. This scholarly base inspires Leslie’s design work, as hearty research and thorough script analysis are hallmarks of her creative efforts. Some favorite designs include Much Ado About Nothing (Gonzaga), As You Like It (UC Irvine), Cyrano: Rehearsed (New Edgecliff Theatre in Cincinnati, OH), Embraceable Me (Little Fish Theatre in San Pedro, CA) and The Conversion of Ka'ahumanu (Miami).
Leslie has worked as a costume technician for the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire, IL; Kaiser Permanente Educational Theatre in North Hollywood, CA; and at Broadway Costumes, a large rental house in Chicago, IL. Her specialties include wig styling, draping, and dyeing, and her technical skills have been seen in such shows as Sarah Ruhl’s Orlando, The Misanthrope, After Troy, Arcadia, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, and Waiting for Godot (UC Irvine); and For the Boys (world premiere musical), Shout!, 42nd Street, Guys and Dolls, and The Music Man (Marriott Theatre).
Most recently, Leslie’s research interests have centered on finding more environmentally friendly and sustainable practices in costume design and construction practices. In 2017, Leslie’s research project on natural vs. synthetic dyes was featured at the United States Institute of Theatre Technology (USITT) Conference in the adjudicated Tech Expo; it was also named one of the Top 5 projects and her abstract was published in USITT’s quarterly journal, Theatre Design and Technology. She continues to explore the use of natural dyes in her designs at Gonzaga and is pleased to be keeping the Spokane River a little cleaner by using only plant-based dyestuffs and naturally occurring salts, instead of the industry-standard synthetic dye chemicals.
Upcoming projects include designing Oklahoma! at Wheatland Theatre Co. in Davenport, WA, with director Lee Mikeska Gardner and producer Drew Kowalkowski; writing a chapter on the work of Broadway wig maker Paul Huntley for an upcoming book from USITT/Focal Press; and writing a full-length article for Theatre Design and Technology about natural dye techniques.
In addition to costume design and technology, Leslie is passionate about access to theatre opportunities for young participants and audiences alike. Her designs at Capital Playhouse in Olympia, WA, were part of a summer stock program for students aged 8-16 years called Kids at Play. Each show was cast with more than 30 actors who participated in a 4-week intensive day camp, culminating in productions fully supported by professional design and technical staff. As an administrator, Leslie served as Director of Education at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company in Cincinnati, OH. In that role, she organized and promoted a large educational outreach program consisting of in-school performances and workshops, weekday matinees for area schools, theatre classes for youth and adults, a summer day camp for 6th-12th grade students, and a summer park tour to communities in the tri-state area. For Leslie, the work was a labor of love to ensure valuable first and ongoing experiences with theatre for the more than 15,000 students annually served by the Cincy Shakes Education Program.
This passion for arts access through education has inspired Leslie to teach as well as design. She has taught arts day camps at Oldenburg Academy in Oldenburg, IN, and at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. Leslie also served for three semesters as adjunct professor at Gateway Community and Technical College in Edgewood, KY, teaching Introduction to Theatre, and as a graduate instructor she has taught Theatre Appreciation at Miami University and Introduction to Costume Design at UC Irvine.