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Caroline O’Brien is a costume designer, writer and educator an a Ph.D. candidate at The National College of Art and Design in Dublin. Caroline began her career in costuming at Theatre New Brunswick in Fredericton and spent the next few years working with The Stratford Festival, The Banff Centre for the Arts, the Tailoring Shop at CBC in Toronto and The National Ballet of Canada. She worked with Canada’s National Ballet School as resident costume designer and wardrobe supervisor, a position she held for almost twenty years.
In her freelance career in costume design for ballet and contemporary dance she has worked with The National Ballet of Canada, The Royal Ballet Covent Garden, Boston Ballet, Ballet British Columbia, Mannheim Ballet as well as Toronto Dance Theatre and Dancemakers in Toronto. She has collaborated with choreographers from across North America and Europe, including John Alleyne, Serge Bennathan, Dominique Dumais, Jiri Kylian, James Kudelka, and John Neumeier. She has enjoyed a long professional relationship with choreographer Matjash Mrozewski and has over twenty years of collaboration with Peggy Baker, artistic director of Peggy Baker Dance Projects.
Caroline’s research interrogates the history of dress for the ballet with a particular emphasis on the cultural significance of the ballerina in Western Culture. In her ongoing relationship with continental thinker Luce Irigaray, Caroline has contributed to the recently released Building a New World: Luce Irigaray Teaching II. She was also recognized by the Costume Society of America for curating Sixty Years of Designing the Ballet, an exhibition of design celebrating the sixtieth anniversary of The National Ballet of Canada.