Costume design fellow Mari Taylor spends her free time at the theater

Who: Mari Taylor, 25, the costume fellow with the CTC conservatory.

Taylor assists all visiting costume designers for the mainstage shows this season — Noises Off, Detroit ’67 and Romeo & Juliet. She created the costume design for the CTC After Dark production of One Arm and the New Play Workshop productions of Building the Wall and Birthday Candles.

Where she’s from: Originally from Columbus, Ohio, she completed her undergrad at Miami University of Ohio, and recently graduated with her M.F.A. in stage design from Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

She moves to New York City with her two cats, 23 bonsai trees and fiancé in October. Her next assignment is serving as the costume intern for Hamilton and its touring productions.

Theater credits: Before coming to Chautauqua, Taylor was the associate costume designer on Shakespeare Dallas’ production of Quixote. She is interested in both theater and opera, and other recent works include The Tempest with Public Works Dallas.


Dream job: Since assisting visiting designers at CTC, Taylor said she has found she has a growing interest in assisting and being the person who can keep an artistic vision going throughout a production run.

“I don’t have any dream shows or dream like that because I’m willing to take whatever comes,” Taylor said.

First theatrical memory: “My mother likes to tell this story: I was 5 years old, and I was at a park with an amphitheater, and I kept running up to strangers and telling them to come over and sit and watch my show,” Taylor said. “And then I would improv random little shows as a 5-year-old because I wanted an audience.”

Favorite food: “Sushi and coffee, all the time, every day.”

What she’s reading: Taylor said she once considered herself a novel person because she would kick back with a book to relax, but now sees herself as a play person.

“I like going to theater,” Taylor said. “I would rather go to the theater and spend the day and get all the feelings from real, live people, and see their snafus and notice if something’s wrong or something’s right. That stuff I get off on.”

Why Chautauqua: This was Taylor’s third year applying for the CTC fellowship. Her undergraduate professors told her about the opportunity, and she has been working on growing her resume since.

Being here, Taylor said she feels “extremely artistically fulfilled.”

“Everybody here wants to be here,” she said. “There is nobody here who is like, ‘God, why am I doing this job?’ Everybody who applied to be here wanted to be here, and when they came here they proved it. And that’s what I will take away, is work with people who want this to happen, and then you will create magic. And Chautauqua is magic in that way.”

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The author Dara McBride

A recent graduate of Syracuse University’s Goldring Arts Journalism program, she comes to Chautauqua after covering Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, South Carolina, for The Post and Courier. A Delaware native, she spent three years as a lifestyles editor on Maryland’s Eastern Shore writing about local authors, musicians and artists. Her work has also appeared in American Theatre magazine. She can be reached at or @DaraMcBride.