Gweneth West

Gweneth West
Professor, Costume Design

Gweneth has worked professionally as a costume designer and professor for 30 years, designing over 200 productions, and directing or acting in over 70. She continues to serve as Resident Costume Designer and Costume Director for Heritage Theatre Festival since 1986 having designed more than 90 productions there. Her work has also been seen in theatres across the country including the Kennedy Center, New York’s 42 Street Theatre, Abington Theatre Company, Lamb’s Theatre, Richmond’s Theatre Virginia, Norfolk’s Virginia Stage. Most recently she designed the world premiere of the new opera, Nosferatu by Alva Hendersen and Dana Gioia, current head of the NEA, for the Performing Arts Series at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga.

A member of the UVa faculty since 1990, Gweneth teaches graduate and undergraduate costume design, history of dress, portfolio and graphics as well as collaboration & creative process for undergraduates. She designs for the department and mentors both graduate and undergraduate designers in productions for the main season. Her work is informed by her participation in many areas of theatre including directing for New Lyric Theatre and for the department. Awarded a UVa Sesquicentennial Associateship in the fall of 2001, Gweneth explored professional and university collections of historic dress  working with renowned curators among them, Jean Dreusedeau, Kent State; Edward Maeder, Historic Deerfield; and Ellen Shanley, Fashion Institute of Technology.

Gweneth’s work as Curator of The Collection of Historic Dress, which is housed in the Department’s Costume Program, continues to provide a rare opportunity for students of costume design & technology, history of dress, acting, and various disciplines across the university. Most recently Gweneth and colleague, Marcy Linton, mounted the exhibition “Ragtime ‘Inside Out’: A study of period garments in preparation of clothes for the stage” for the Virginia Science Museum, Richmond. Future exhibitions are planned for both the Science Museum and The Virginia Museum. Before joining the faculty at UVa, Gweneth served as costume designer at Wayne State University, Detroit and Head of Costume Design and Production teaching costume design and directing at the University of Florida, Gainesville. Dedicated to the education and training of young theatre artists, her former students attend graduate programs, teach in universities, and work in film, television, and theatres from New York to Los Angeles. Active in USITT, ATHE, SETC, and the Costume Society of America, Gweneth currently serves as the KCACTF Design Chair for Region IV.