Student Arrivals and a Party

Sorry, I’m late posting today.

Today (Sunday) was spent welcoming students who are in the program.  Christina and I ran some errands in the morning and took a walk.  I photographed my way back enjoying some of the buildings including this church.


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We passed the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA).  More about that tomorrow.

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We returned to the house and by that time students were arriving.  We did our due diligence helping them to get settled.  Of course, they were feeling a little overwhelmed.  I am very excited this year to welcome Kerri Packard in my role from two years ago as a non-credit participant.   Kerri is my best friend from graduate school and it is so great to be able to hang out with her for the next three weeks.

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We managed to get Kerri fed and I enjoyed catching up.  Kerri is also a costume designer and so, I expect she and I will really enjoy looking at and enjoying the design work in the plays we will see over the next weeks.   We met with students for orientation and then I was left to get ready for the evening.


Before I left Lexington, I got a great surprise from Vikki Medhurst my former students now working at Warner Bros. studios in London as a costume maker.   Vikki has begun to have a brilliant career in film (you can find her on IMDB).

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Vikki Medhurst

She was a maker for Maleficent.  She made some of Angelina Jolie’s costumes.  She is one of our guest speakers and I am delighted to say now a friend.   But, I digress.  She e mailed me to ask what I was doing on the evening of the 10th.  I was able to arrange to meet her. She invited me to attend the wrap party for the Star Wars: Episode VIII completion of major filming.  She has been working on this most recent film in this franchise as a costume maker.  The invitation allowed her to bring one guest and she invited me.  I was honored and thrilled to be able attend an event like this — and an event it was.  The initial invitation said the venue would be announced later and I needed id and she had to give them my name for security purposes.  Dress was smart casual.


I had not a clue what to expect but, I was willing and ready when we met at seven.  By then, we knew the venue was the Natural History Museum in west London.  There were two security checkpoints and I couldn’t believe the number of people.  They seemed to go on forever.  I now understand whey the credits at the end of films especially of this type are so long.  I think the people invited to this event were only the ones who received screen credit.  There are probably many more who don’t receive that credit.

Inside we were greeted with champagne and she and I spent the first part of the evening catching up since we haven’t seen each other in two years.  Once the they opened the main area, we moved into the large exhibit room with the largest dinosaur exhibit in the museum as the centerpiece of the party.  There was a lot to drink and eat and the crowds just never seemed to end.  I took as many pictures as I could but, they just don’t seem to do justice to, what was for me, an incredibly surreal event.  Enjoy.

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Vikki and Me. Note “Dino’s tail in the background.


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This is Vikki with two of her co-workers. The woman on the left was the costume maker with Vikki and the woman in the center was the cutter/draper. (Sorry, I couldn’t remember names. The music was loud). They worked as a team on one scene and I thought they said it would be the iconic scene in the film.


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This is a view of the large exhibition room from behind the staging area. They hung the star drop at the back (which is really the front entrance of the museum) of the room for this event.


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The artist on the right is a jewelry maker. She told she and another jewelry maker would sit and created jewelry they thought would work after some direction from the costume designer, Michael Kaplan and then he would come through and select pieces for the film.


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Vikki – note the tall lanky man in the background. Who do you think he was in the film??

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The woman in the center smiling very large. Daisy Ridley.


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A surprise performance by Ellie Goulding. I was lucky enough to be pretty close to the stage at this point.


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The evening would not be complete without a “dance performance” by the stormtroopers.


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One last shot as the evening died away. It was memorable to say the least.

All in all, it was pretty great and I appreciate a former student (now the master) thinking of her old professor. I can’t really begin to adequately describe this experience.  Once in a lifetime, I guess.  Unless you work in that industry.

Oh by the way, I did walk past Mark Hamill.