Rosemary Ingham, Costume Designer and Author, Dies at 71

Obituaries   Rosemary Ingham, Costume Designer and Author, Dies at 71
Rosemary Ingham, a costume designer and teacher who was there at the founding of the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, and the Great River Shakespeare Festival in Winona, MN, died of a stroke July 13 at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, the Washington Post reported. She was 71 and lived in, Fredericksburg, VA.

Over her long and varied career, Ms. Ingham educated herself at four different universities and taught at a few more. She was the first costume manager at the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, CT, and managed the costume shop at the Milwaukee Repertory Theater from 1973 to 1978. In 2003, she helped create the Great River Shakespeare Festival, which presents Shakespearean plays along the Mississippi River each June and July.

She was born in Charlottesville, VA, and aimed at a nursing career while attending the University of Virginia. The combination of sewing costumes for the theatre department in her spare time, and meeting and marrying Robert Ingham, an actor and playwright, in 1959, steered her in the direction of the stage.

The peripatetic Ms. Ingham studied playwriting and design at the Yale School of Drama in the early 1960s. While there, she became involved in the creation of the Long Wharf Theatre, heading the costume shop. Productions during its first few season invariably had costume designs by Ms. Ingham. A move with her family to Montana led her to complete her bachelor's degree in English at the University of Montana in 1973. She spent the next five years in the Midwest, at Milwaukee Rep.

With designer Liz Covey, she wrote three books on costume design, "The Costumer's Handbook," "The Costume Designer's Handbook" and "The Costume Technician's Handbook." In 1998, Ms. Ingham wrote "From Page to Stage: How Theatre Designers Make Connections Between Texts and Images." Covey and Ms. Ingham received the Golden Pen Award of the U.S. Institute for Theatre Technology in 2004. In 2006, she received the institute's Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award.

Ms. Ingham taught for four years at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, and taught at the University of Mary Washington from 1989 to 2001. She never ceased to educate herself, even as she was an educator. She took a master's degree in liberal arts from St. John's College in Annapolis in 1995. Ms. Ingham was the director of costuming for The Great River Shakespeare Festival. When it was founded in 2004, the festival was one of the largest Equity companies to open in a decade in the Midwest. Attendance increased by 23 percent from season one to season two, and by 15 percent from season two to season three.

Her husband died in 1992. She is survived by her four sons, Robert "Ted" Ingham, on Montpelier, VT; Richard Ingham of Alexandria, VA; James Ingham of Palo Alto, CA; and Stephen Ingham of Verona, Italy; and four grandchildren.

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