Sarah Carswell


Sarah Carswell is a super dooper sewer, creator, artist and designer, who works making all sorts of costumes, from waistcoats and bodices to weasels and bean stalks!

Born in Palmerston North, she attended Carncot School and then Palmerston North Girls' High. Being on ‘broadway’ as a child (Carncot School is on Broadway Avenue, Palmerston North) must have worked its magic because now she works for the stars of screen and stage here in NZ.

She learned to sew from her Grandmother when she was eight, and coupled with an interest in performing arts, Sarah decided to combine the two and study costume construction at Toi Whakaari in Wellington. In 2013 her costumes for Much Ado About Nothing (Massey University) were nominated for the Manawatu Globe Theatre’s Best Costume Design, and in 2014 she won the Bill Guest Award and has been working professionally, out of Wellington, ever since. Some of the shows she has been involved in are King Lear (Summer Shakespeare 2015), A Midsummer Night's Dream (Royal New Zealand Ballet 2015), Ghost in the Shell (Film, 2016) and Romeo and Juliet (Royal New Zealand Ballet, 2017).

This is the third time Sarah has costumed for Playhouse. In 2015 she created the costumes for The Importance of Being Earnest and Jack Flash and The Jumping Beanstalk, and in 2017 she costumed Puss in Boots: Pet Detective and Great Scott Fitzgerald: Gatsby Unleashed. She loves working with the team, and being intimately involved with the rehearsal and development phase alongside the actors and director. It means the costumes are very responsive and can develop, along with the characters, right up until the last minute. She also loves the blend of object-based costumes like a golden goose, jumping beans or a bedridden princess, as well as more regular character and period costuming.

If Sarah could be a Disney character, it'd be Maleficent, the villainous fairy from the 1959 Disney classic. She loves the way Maleficent holds a grudge for 16 long years about something as petty as an invitation snub! Once committed to a course of action, Maleficent stays with it – that’s stickability of epic proportions! And turning into a Dragon – well, that’s not so bad either! Also, incidentally, the movie was responsible for teaching a younger Sarah the word “imbecile!”, something which Sarah most definitely is not!