The Rotten Core | Costumer's Point of View


Amber Bray | Professional Costume Production Intern

Alden Inspiration Diselpunk

When I finally decided that I wanted to pursue costuming as my career, I wasn’t in a situation that offered me much experience in the area. There were only a couple of college classes that included any kind of costuming subjects and even fewer opportunities to work on our main stage. So I left college with my degree in Theatrical Performance and my minor in general theatrical tech and design, not knowing what the world had in store for me. As luck would have it, right out of school a few of my co-graduates and I decided to start a children’s theater program in Clarksville. We put on one show a month for nine months out of the year for two years. I was able to design and build costumes, along with act, direct, and write scripts. It was during this time that I also applied for the Costume Design Internship here at the Rep, but unfortunately, I was turned down. Undeterred, I decided to continue advancing my own skills by doing as much as I could.  Luckily, I had some great friends who were good enough to offer me those opportunities I was lacking in college, and so I was able to design several shows here in Nashville with Brittany Carlton-Wilhite as my director. I practiced over the next year and applied for the internship again, this time landing the job.

Cliff Dieselpunk Inspiration

After a few months of learning the ins and outs of a professional theatre, the four professional interns were finally able to sit down and talk about our intern showcase, where we show the world what we have learned from our internship and use our talents to our best abilities. We were all very excited to get started, but we knew it would be a lot of work considering that we were already nearly two months into the season, and knee deep in running the shows backstage. We decided we wanted to try and find a show that appealed to us and our quirky personalities and produce a new play. We found it in The Rotten Core by Jon Bumpus. Liz Fletcher, Professional Stage Management Intern and director, came to me and said “I think I want to go Steampunk.” And I had never been more excited. You see, I’m a huge geek. HUGE. I love anything Batman, I’m an avid video gamer, and to top it off I am on the staff of two major conventions in Nashville- MTAC and GMX, which I usually attend in costumes I’ve made of superheros, cartoon characters, and Steampunk outfits. So when she told me I would be able to use all those loves of crazy costumes in my design, I was ready. I eventually referred her to “Diesel Punk”, a somewhat grittier and less Victorian Steampunk side genre. This fit our direction for The Rotten Core perfectly, and I have since been researching all kinds of Steam and Diesel Punk clothing, particularly superheros and villains drawn or designed in this style. I’ve included several of the pictures from which I garnered considerable inspiration. We are well on our way to producing what I believe will be great show. The interns are all so talented and I feel honored to be working with them to create The Rotten Core in a way that really showcases those talents. This is going to be a show you do not want to miss!

Genevieve Dieselpunk Inspiration

For more information about The Rotten Core, the professional intern showcase, please visit