by Emily Garmon
I first met Catherine Thomas when I was interning for Resurgens Theatre Company during my senior year of college. Catherine had been the skilled costumer for Resurgens for the last few years. When I first asked her to be profiled on Beyond the Magnolias, Catherine told me she was incredibly flattered. On the day of our interview, she shared with me again her excitement to be considered a remarkable southern woman. Catherine viewed past profiles on Beyond the Magnolias, and she felt she was certainly “not in this class of people.” From the little I did know about Catherine, I already knew this was not true. By the end of our interview, I learned Catherine is a wife, mother, cancer survivor, costumer, actress, singer, fencer, baker, avid reader, and so much more. After getting to know more about Catherine’s diversified talents and interests, it became clear she is quite the Renaissance woman.
After seeing Catherine’s artistry at work first hand in Resurgens’ productions of The Alchemist, Volpone, and Sejanus, I was convinced she had been formally trained. When I asked her how long she had been costuming, Catherine responded she has been sewing since she was 10 years old, and the first to model her original costuming were her Barbie dolls. Catherine described the costumes and dresses of her early years as “pretty hideous.” When I asked her what attracted her to sewing and costuming, she simply said, “I have always been fascinated with what people wear and why.” Astonishingly, Catherine is completely self-taught through trial-and-error, as well as reading numerous books on the subject. Despite her authenticity and sumptuous abilities, Catherine feels her lack of formal training creates “gaps in what she can do.” Her supposed limitations are nonexistent to any onlookers of her work. However, Catherine does give herself some credit – when describing her thorough research process while she is costuming, she proudly proclaimed, “I know what I am doing historically.” It must be said that academia, language, history, and other cultures are no stranger to Catherine. She attended the University of South Carolina, where she studied Foreign Language and minored in Comparative Literature. Her talents, as well as her educational background, have served her well while working with Resurgens Theatre Company.