Performance Design

Sara Taylor

Theatre Design - Make-up, Post Grad Certificate in Higher Education, Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy.


Sara’s professional career started as an assistant in the Wigs and Make-up Department at The Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford Upon Avon. Sara became Head of Wigs and Make-Up for the RSC Regional tours which gave her extensive knowledge of touring theatre as well as the opportunity to travel the world. Her passion for touring continued until she became head of department as Wig Mistress on the busy production of ‘Crazy for You’!’ in London’s Prince Edward Theatre in the west end. Sara’s west end and touring credits include, ‘Cats’ (UK Tour and New London Theatre), Crazy For You! (Prince Edward Theatre), Richard III (UK / International Tour / Donmar Warehouse), The Blue Angel (UK Tour /Gielgud Theatre), Measure For Measure (UK Tour /The Young Vic) and she continues to work as a freelance wig maker and make-up artist.

Professional practice

Sara has 20 years experience teaching within the specialist field of Make-up at Higher Education Institutes in the UK. Her ambition to develop the subject area of Make-up within the HE sector focuses upon innovation in learning, teaching and curriculum design. Sara’s authorship of validated HE Make-up courses include HND Media Make-up (University of Plymouth, 2000) FdA Media Make-up (UOP, 2004), BA (Hons) Make-up for Media and Performance Top-up (2011, AUB) and BA (Hons) Make-up for Media and Performance at AUB in 2013. Sara has led the development of Make-up for Media and Performance at AUB since its inception in 2009. Sara’s responsibilities include leadership for learning teaching and quality for the subject area of Performance Design as a member of the Learning Teaching and Quality Committee. Sara is also a member of the DELTA (digital environment learning, teaching and assessment) Project board. Sara has undertaken External Examiner duties for Bath Spa University, the University of the Arts London and the Open University. Sara’s professional practice is broad and incorporating all aspects of make-up transformation and character design: hair, wigs and make-up for stage, television and film. Her expertise includes the traditional art of wig making and postiche.

Professional memberships

  • Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy
  • United States Institute of Theatre Technology
  • West End Wiggies

Research Specialism

Sara has been commissioned by publishers Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group to write a book on the specialist subject of Postiche. ‘From toupee to tonsure and marteau to merkin, this book provides a comprehensive guide to making, dressing, applying and maintaining hairpieces.  This book reveals a range of creative, innovative and technical processes used in the intricate creation of hair pieces for the purpose of transforming, disguising and becoming the ‘other’ in the media and performance contexts’. 

In 2019 Sara was an invited key note speaker at the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT) conference, Louisville, Kentucky. Her talks focused upon a practical approach to make-up, wigs and hair transformation through  ‘The Art of Bringing History to Life’ and ‘Where Fantasy, Technology and Artistry Meet’. 

Sara’s curation includes the exhibition ‘A Hair’s Breadth’ at the M Studio Gallery which celebrated the breadth of intricate and creative making skills applied to the process of hair and wig design in the development of make-up transformation for stage, television and film productions. The work exhibited demonstrated the diverse, unusual and in many cases undetectable ways in which hair is used to disguise, portray and transform an actors identity.

In 2012 Sara joined the Moving Tides committee and co-ordinated the make-up for the Olympiad event ‘Moving Tides’, a street carnival for the opening ceremony at Weymouth. The project involved designing and supervising make-up for 8 regional schools involving, over 180 children, through make-up and hair demonstrations and creative carnival workshops.

Research Supervision

Sara has been awarded a Research and Knowledge Transfer Fellowship to enable her to interview internationally recognised wigs and make-up artists about their contributions to performance design at the Metropolitan Opera New York, the Sydney Opera House and the Dutch Opera for the development of book research.

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