A yarn about Frozen costumes

Brisbane knitter plays part in Disney's blockbuster musical

3 min read

Disney’s Frozen the Musical now playing in our Lyric Theatre is a dazzling production wowing audiences and critics alike.

The hit movie is brought to life for the stage on an incredible scale with an amazing 65 tons of scenery, 440 costumes and 145 wigs.

Frozen’s Costume Designer and Wigs associate Janet Hine was charged with ensuring the costumes were created for the Australian production of Frozen to a very strict Disney design brief.

Elsa costume sketch Frozen
Elsa costume sketch Frozen.

“There is so much work that goes into costumes before what you see on stage, but Disney make it look seamless,” she says.

Out of so many costumes we wondered if Janet could pick a favourite.

“I love the ‘Let it Go’ beaded dress ….it’s such an iconic moment in the show and the dress was so complicated to make. I enjoyed the challenge and the results,” says Janet.

Image of Jemma Rix as Elsa wearing Let it Go beaded dress
Image of Jemma Rix as Elsa wearing Let it Go beaded dress.

Hailing from Brisbane, Janet is thrilled to have Frozen playing in her home city.

“I love it when shows I’ve worked on come to Brissy. I have lots of family and friends who have heard all the stories in the lead up to the show, so it’s great to share the experience with them. They always say the costumes are the best part of the show which is what I expect from my family and friends,” she laughs. 

One of the scenes in Frozen, ‘the Hygge’ scene, features the cast in cosy knitted beanies, scarves and legwarmers.

Image from the Hygge scene in Frozen
Image from the Hygge scene in Frozen.

Janet explains that the design brief specified no machine knitting, so she had the mammoth task of finding enough knitters across the country to hand knit all the garments for the Hygge scene.

One of the knitters Janet called upon was a family friend, Brisbane based 84-year-old, Margaret Remington.

According to Janet Margaret had never knitted for a theatrical production prior to Frozen and was very excited to be asked and happy to contribute to the production.

“She loves to knit and did an amazing job following the design direction exactly,” says Janet.

Margaret says she was delighted when Janet asked her to help with the knitting.

“She sent me pictures of the costume, measurements and the beautiful Alpaca wool (a Disney requirement).

“The knitting was done ‘in the round’, using four needles as the garments had to be seamless. I really enjoyed the challenge,” says Margaret.

Disney wanted to make sure Margaret got to see her handiwork and invited her as a VIP guest to QPAC's sparkling opening night of Frozen.

Margaret Remington and Janet Hines at Frozen Opening Night
Margaret Remington and Janet Hine at Frozen Opening Night.

“My daughter Jane and I were thrilled to be invited to opening night. There was such an air of excitement and anticipation in the gathering crowd.” 
“The show was MAGICAL and I am in awe of the talents of everyone involved in the production - too many to mention, but I appreciated the magnificence of the costumes,” says Margaret.

Margaret says she frequently browses through her Frozen program to remind her of a wonderful evening.

“The sauna scene was great fun and it gave me a thrill knowing I had made a very small contribution,” she adds.

Margaret leaves us with these words of encouragement for people thinking of taking up knitting.

“Learn the basic skills, it will improve your dexterity. There is a sense of achievement when you finish a piece, you may find, as I do, that knitting can be quite relaxing. Give it a go!”

Hear more from Janet and Margaret in this Radio National Breakfast interview here.

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We pay our respects to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ancestors of this land, their spirits and their legacy. The foundations laid by these ancestors – our First Nations Peoples – gives strength, inspiration and courage to current and future generations, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, towards creating a better Queensland.