Alumni Spotlight: Caitlin Rain
Theatre alum Caitlin Rain (M.F.A. ’12) shares how Meadows' costume design program helped her build the foundational skills she needed for a career in the performing arts world.
Caitlin Rain (M.F.A. ’12) is this week’s featured alum in our new Alumni Spotlight series for the This Week at Meadows e-newsletter. Each week, a different Meadows alum will be highlighted for their accomplishments post-graduation.
With the world of performing arts coming back to life after the pandemic, those involved in the theater industry are busier than ever. Things are no different for Meadows’ graduate Caitlin Rain, who works in New York City as an artist and costume designer for stage productions.
Since earning her degree in costume design, Rain has designed for both theater and opera, and assisted on productions for American Ballet Theatre, The Shakespeare Theatre, Santa Fe Opera, Boston Ballet, and the National Ballet of Latvia, among others. And while creative vocations like costume design often end up involving a lot of on-the-job learning, it was her experience at Meadows that helped provide the basis for her professional career.
“I had done very little costume design work in undergrad and needed to learn foundational skills to be in the professional theater world,” explains Rain, who had the opportunity to work on many actual productions during her time in the program. “Text analysis, organizational tools, textile knowledge and visual communication are all skills that I developed at Meadows and have been able to expand on since.”
In particular, she believes that the program’s emphasis on the history of clothing and architectural design has served her well in my costume design career. Rain also benefitted from a range of interdisciplinary experiences, where students in the costume design program were able to work and learn alongside students from other M.F.A. programs like acting and stage design. Each day was a new adventure, which is something that prepared her for the unpredictability of a professional career in costume design.
“The best part about the job is that it's variable,” Rain says of costume designing. “Sometimes, you're in fittings all day, another day you may be sourcing unusual materials or vintage items, or participating in meetings with directors and scenic, lighting, special effects or projection designers.”
From classic Shakespeare works like Romeo and Juliet and Coriolanus to operas like The Three Lives of Rosina Almaviva and Letters from Ruth, Rain has designed costumes for a wide variety of shows during her career, but the variability of the job doesn’t just extend to production details. When the pandemic hit and opportunities in the performing arts became nearly nonexistent, Rain’s former hobby as an illustrator became her main source of income. During this time she was able to flex some the artistic muscles that she didn’t utilize much an assistant designer and although stage productions, and costume design demand, have returned post-pandemic, Rain has been able to enjoy a new balance between her two creative passions.
To view more of Rain’s work as both an artist and costume designer, visit her website at www.caitlinrain.com.