Calgary women’s wedding dresses in the spotlight in new stage show – Calgary

It’s a question a lot of women have faced: what do you do with your wedding dress once the big day is done?

Now, dozens of Calgarians are helping to explore that issue as their dresses take centre stage in a new production at Alberta Theatre Projects (ATP).

Playwright/peformer Louise Casemore is presenting her one-woman show Undressed.

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“The show is rooted in quite a practical real-life dilemma, which is, what do you do with a wedding dress after the wedding?” Casemore said.

“I’m trying to look at repurposing, so that people can get some use out of the dresses after the big day.”

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ATP asked women to donate their wedding dresses to be used for the set of Undressed.

“We expected maybe seven, eight — maybe 10 dresses altogether,” Casemore said. “And within 10 days, we had almost 75 dropped at the doorstep.”

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Taylor Matheson was among those who donated a dress.

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“It seemed like the perfect thing to do,” Matheson said. “My husband and I actually split up a number of years ago and so I’ve been carrying the dress around going, like, ‘What am I going to do with it?’”

The larger-than-expected number of dresses provided plenty of creative opportunities for set designer Lane Shordee.

“I made this chandelier out of about 20 to 30 wedding dresses, so it’s kind of an accumulation of all those stories, looming overhead” Shordee said. “It’s kind of the main centrepiece of the show.”

The dresses came from some surprising places.

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“Some of the dresses were driven all the way from Montana.” Casemore said. “We had mothers and daughters coming in together to donate each of their gowns, folks offering inherited items.”

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There were enough that Shordee was able to place dresses in several spots around the set.

“I was really excited to get so many of them,” Shordee said. “They have a life and they deserve respect.”

Undressed runs at ATP until Feb. 13.

“I’m glad that my dress can go on and do something good,” Matheson said. “This is the most appropriate send-off for this dress.”

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