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Rosemary Ingham

July 20, 2008 12:16 am

Rosemary Ingham

Rosemary Ingham, 71, died Sunday, July 13, 2008, from a stroke.

She was an award-winning costume designer, teacher and writer.

Rosemary Ann Gleason was born in Charlottesville in 1936, and attended U.Va. as a nursing student. While sewing costumes for the theater department there, she met Bob Ingham, an actor and playwright. They married and had three sons before heading off to the Yale School of Drama, where Rosemary studied playwriting and design. She completed her B.A. in English with high honors at the University of Montana in 1973, after giving birth to a fourth son. Rosemary mastered her costume craft through first-hand experience and bravery. After completing her B.A., Rosemary managed the costume shop at the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre. She took her first teaching position at Southern Methodist University in 1978.

In 1985, Rosemary opened Clothworks, a fabric store and teaching space in Charlottesville, with partners Betty Lu Brydges and Kate Kessler. Rosemary designed costumes at the Alley Theatre, the Dallas and Illinois Shakespeare festivals, the Utah Shakespearean Festival, Arena Stage, Woolly Mammoth Theatre, American Players Theatre and many others.

In 2003, she helped launch the Great River Shakespeare Festival in Winona, Minn., and designed seven of its first eight shows. Rosemary co-authored two books with Liz Covey that set the standard for costume production and design, "The Costume Technician's Handbook" and "The Costume Designer's Handbook." In 2004, USITT honored Rosemary with its prestigious Golden Pen Award. Ever curious, she earned an M.A. in the liberal arts from St. John's College in Annapolis, Md., in 1995. She integrated her studies there into her conception of the design process, and wrote "From Page to Stage: How Theatre Designers Make Connections between Texts and Images," which is now essential in design education and practice.

Rosemary's influence extended beyond her design work and writing. She was a much-beloved teacher, whose example encouraged many to pursue a life in theater. Her costume shop was always the place to be. Rosemary taught at Southern Methodist University and the University of Mary Washington. For all of her contributions to the world of theater, Rosemary received the USITT's Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006.

Rosemary was preceded in death by her husband, Bob, who died in 1992.

She is survived by her children, Rich of Alexandria, Jim and Leslie of Palo Alto, Calif., Ted and Alice of Montpelier, Vt., and Steve and Lawren of Verona, Italy; and her grandchildren, Nate, Rosemary, Emmy and Harriet.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, July 20, in the Klein Theatre at the University of Mary Washington's DuPont Hall in Fredericksburg. She will be buried at 10 a.m. Monday, July 21, in Laurel Hill Memorial Park.

In lieu of flowers or gifts, memorial contributions may be made to the organizations of Rosemary's choice, the Great River Shakespeare Festival, Rosemary Ingham Memorial Fund c/o Cherie Harkenrider, 79 E. Third St., Winona, Minn. 55987, or Planned Parenthood USA.

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