The Art of the Quick Change

9 Oct 2020 11:08 AMLauren Nairne
The Art of the Quick Change

The Art of the Quick Change


11 tips to make your changes happen faster.


It really is an amazing life skill to be able to change at the speed of light.  Whether it’s for a show demanding a 10 second quick change into the next number or an eisteddfod or competition with only a few acts in between or just to ensure you’re ready before the taxi arrives on your night out this Saturday.  It’s a great skill to obtain and an amazing skill to master.


In a past life (many years ago), I was a dancer on a well-known cruise ship with a small but mighty entertainment department.  Our shows had upwards of 10 quick changes all perfectly timed and after the show, it was a skill in itself to get out of costume into your uniform to make it to the bar before Happy Hour finished…. Did I just say that!!!!


If I thought I was fast before the cruise ship job, well I was snail’s pace, honestly, I had no idea.  But it didn’t take long, it took some organisation but by the end of the contract I could change and apply more lipstick and still have time to spare… so I’m here to help you aim for the same. 



Here are my top tips to change faster:


  1. Layout your costumes in a way you can just step right into them:  If the leotard goes on before the shorts then your leotard goes on top.  The shorts are open ready for your feet to go straight in. 
  2. Put your bobby pins with your headpiece:  Don’t be fumbling for the pins with no time up your sleeve.  Put the exact number of pins you need with your headpiece/ wig or hat!
  3. Learn to roll up your stockings to put them on:   Not only does it save your stockings from runs and ladders, but it also is 10x faster.  If you need to change into tights quickly have them ready rolled.
  4. Have a bucket to throw the costumes already worn:  There is nothing worse than a pile of costumes you’re sorting through to find the needle in a haystack.  If you’ve finished with a costume, throw it in a bucket somewhere easily accessible with a wide opening, so at the end of a show/ concert, you can sort it all out and know exactly where your costumes and bits and pieces ended up.
  5. What’s next, what’s next?  Have a list somewhere you can easily see it, so you know exactly what costumes are next.
  6. Take things off the hangers:  Hangers waste time, lay things out ready to go.  Refer to lesson 1.
  7. Change complex fasteners:  Change complex fasteners or clasps and consider another way.  You can’t go on without your costume closed, but if you run out of time you will be.
  8. Change laces in shoes to elastic:  Any haberdashery store will supply good quality elastic that will allow you to quickly slip on your tap shoes or character shoes in the heat of a quick change. 
  9. Take a breath:  Don’t panic.  Take a deep breath and think clearly. 
  10. Practice:  Practice your quick changes.  Time them, make sure you’ve got the best possible processes and systems in place to succeed.
  11. Have fun!  It’s thrilling and it doesn’t last long.  It’s an exciting time, try to relax and enjoy!


Do you have any other tips?  Share them below. 


With love and speed sent your way,