Costumer nears the end of her first year with the Middle Georgia Nutcracker


A costume for the upcoming Nutcracker production.

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” is arguably the most well-known ballet of all time. Based on the story “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” by E. T. A. Hoffmann, the 1892 ballet has been performed by children and professionals around the world.

The Middle Georgia version of The Nutcracker has become a staple of the Macon community with more than 30 seasons of production. The show returns Dec. 11 for six performances. 

Some elements of “The Nutcracker” are considered iconic at this point, and costumes definitely fall into that category. Lauren Parris, who calls herself the “Costume Mistress” of the production, was tasked with ensuring that all of the costumes for the show are in tip top shape. 

“My co-worker knew I could sew, and so asked if I would be interested. I said yes, and worked the show last year as a dresser to learn all the costumes and the show in general. Sandy (the previous costumer) officially retired in January of this year, and here we are,” Parris said.

Parris said that costuming the ballet was a new kind of challenge compared to her previous experiences costuming theatrical shows.

Ballet costuming is a different beast altogether. Dancers have an entirely different set of needs from actors,” Parris said. 

Alice Sheridan, the artistic director of the Nutcracker, told The Telegraph in July that there are around 140 students and parents involved in this years production.

Due to the high quality expected of the show, Parris said that the board of “The Nutcracker” was willing to send Parris to a seminar specifically about costuming dancers. She said she went to TuTu School to learn “about all forms of dance costuming from men’s tunics to actually making tutus themselves.”

A show of this scale requires a lot of preparation and Parris said she started working in June, attended the seminar in July, and hasn’t stopped making adjustments since.

Parris said that one of her favorite parts of working on “The Nutcracker” is collaborating with the dancers in the show and making all of them feel confident on stage.

“Not everyone can be a lead performer, but I still think everyone who is in the show gets to feel special,” she said.

Even though artists typically enjoy their work, a job is a job, which means that not everything can be easy and fun all of the time.

The hardest part of a job like this is definitely time management,” Parris said. “The volume of costumes that need work is the challenge. Luckily it’s the only show I need to focus on, and I have several months to do it.” 

Any large production will have at least one difficult costume change, and “The Nutcracker” is no exception. There is a quick change from the Marzipan dance to the Waltz of the Flowers where there was no room for error.

“Several of the girls had to change out of the Marzipan tutus and into the flower tutus in a split second and every night I was so impressed with their efficiency and professionalism,” Parris said. “These are teenagers and they handle the stress of that situation better than many adult actors I’ve worked with.”

The Middle Georgia Nutcracker runs from Dec. 11 to Dec. 15. Tickets are available at