In Memoriam: Annette Garceau, Legendary Costumer

by Michael Eddy
Costumier Annette Garceau at work
Costumier Annette Garceau at work

Costumer Annette Garceau passed away on August 6 at the age of 103. Garceau was the last surviving member of the team that founded the Guthrie Theater in 1963. Originally a dress maker from London, England, Garceau, along with Tanya Moiseiwitsch and Ray Diffen, were recruited by director Sir Tyrone Guthrie to be part of the design team of the Stratford Festival in Ontario, Canada, that he founded in 1953.

A statement from the Guthrie Theater’s Facebook Page: “Today we’re sad to share that Costumier Annette Garceau passed away yesterday, two weeks shy of her 104th birthday. When Sir Tyrone Guthrie chose Minneapolis as the home to a classical repertory theater in 1963, he invited Garceau to establish its costume department. Annette worked at the Guthrie from 1963 until retirement in 2002 when she was named Draper Emerita. Over the years she designed costumes in New York, Stratford and London for Alec Guinness, Richard Burton, Ginger Rogers, Andy Griffith, Gypsy Rose Lee, Christopher Plummer, Lorne Green, Dolores Gray, James Mason and Michael Redgrave, among others. She will be missed but her artistic impact lives on."

Garceau taught graduate and master classes on the art of costume creation at the University of Minnesota and Canada’s National Theatre School in Montreal, Canada. She also worked in New York and Hollwood. Garceau was twice honored for her contribution to theater by the United States Institute for Theatre Technology, once with a retrospective of her career and later with a Special Citation for Lifetime Achievement.

Annette Garceau, left, reviewing production renderings in 1963 at the Guthrie Theater with designer Tanya Moiseiwitsch