Spotlight: Lynne Hinman, Wardrobe Coordinator


Lynne Hinman has been Neglia Ballet Artists Wardrobe Coordinator for The Nutcracker since its inaugural performance in 2009. She was also part of the Nutcracker’s original build crew and she has worked on Neglia Ballet’s Romeo & Juliet and Giselle. She is a Costume Technician with nearly 30 years of experience in the industry.

Lynne is a Western New York native and graduate of Buffalo State College, where she received a Bachelor’s degree in Fashion Technology with a minor in theatre. While at Buff State, Lynne took a class from a theatre costume instructor which piqued her interest in theatre. She worked in the college’s costume shop where she stayed for 10 years. Her work with Buff State got her involved with dance costumes. Costuming for dance is different from costuming for plays and other stage productions as she needs to be aware of dancers’ movements to construct garments that are fluid and non-restrictive.

Her professional career has spanned decades and various venues. Lynne began working with Studio Arena in 1989 and stayed involved with them until they closed in 2008. It was there as the wardrobe supervisor for The Caucasian Chalk Circle where she experienced the most challenging wardrobe logistics of managing over 100 costumes with 500 pieces for a cast of 33.

Lynne was in the costume shop for Shakespeare in Delaware Park for 15 summer seasons. She has worked with Cleveland Playhouse, Glimmerglass Festival in Cooperstown (13 years), and Opera Tampa for the past 3 years.

Lynne also enjoys doing roadshows at Shea’s PAC and Rochester Auditorium Theatre from the standpoint of looking at how the costumes are created and learning there are always new products to keep up on.

When Lynne was young, she insisted that her mother teach her to sew after watching her sister learn to sew. Lynne comes from a family with brothers who are engineers and she has realized costume construction also involves engineering – understanding how materials work to create the form. Her family has never been discouraging of her career choice. She reassured her mother that as a Costume Technician she would always find work and be able to support herself. And she has succeeded in that.

A costume technician must have artistic vision to comprehend what the design is and how to make it happen. The technical part that Lynne enjoys best – figuring out the puzzle of how materials and construction work together.

Lynne loves hardware stores “You never know what you’re going to solve walking through a hardware store”. Or a grocery store. In 2017 over the course of 8 months, Lynne scoured a dozen Price Choppers all over the Northeast in pursuit of 50 black bath loofahs. These were inventively used to revamp the black feather plumes for the soldier’s hats in The Nutcracker. It’s that type of creative sourcing that makes Lynne such an integral part of the Neglia Ballet Artists team.

Her advice to young people who are interested in pursuing this career is to make sure they understand the job opportunities and the lifestyle. Her jobs are seasonal and overlapping meaning that she is working constantly. When Lynne is not working (which is rare) she enjoys the outdoors – swimming, hiking, biking and playing with dogs. She enjoys escaping the snow when her work takes her to Florida with Opera Tampa. She also like to knit and crochet projects for herself and gifts for others.

It’s difficult to pinpoint a favorite costume, but Lynne says that overall she’s most proud of the Nutcracker wardrobe. “It wasn’t until the 8th season of the Nutcracker when I was actually able to be in the audience and see it as the audience experiences it. I’m proud of what Donna, I and the rest of the team created.”

Lynne has been busy cleverly working on sprucing up costumes in preparation for the 10th anniversary of The Nutcracker at Shea’s on December 22 and 23, 2018.

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