The Comet goes behind the scenes at Beauty and the Beast

AS Beauty and the Beast takes to the stage at The Gordon Craig Theatre in Stevenage, The Comet went behind the scenes to discover how the beast is created. Steve Metcalf is wardrobe supervisor at the theatre and took four-and-a-half days to make the beast

AS Beauty and the Beast takes to the stage at The Gordon Craig Theatre in Stevenage, The Comet went behind the scenes to discover how the beast is created.

Steve Metcalf is wardrobe supervisor at the theatre and took four-and-a-half days to make the beast's mask, which consists of a latex mouth, nose and forehead.

It only takes him 45 minutes to makeover actor Wesley Hughes.

Steve said: "The pieces are cast from a mould, but I already had the forehead piece.

"I have enjoyed working on it. The costume is very grand and the mask works very well with it.

"Wesley's got the perfect stature to play the part of the beast and he performs it beautifully - we have been moved to tears by his performance."

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Wesley said the mask, which also includes a headpiece consisting of a mane of hair and horns, looks heavy to wear but is actually "very comfortable".

Steve's interest in costume design began when he left school and became a junior production assistant at Bermans in London, before going on to Wig Creations in the capital and learning all aspects of wig dressing and maintenance.

His credits include Santa Claus the Musical at the Mayflower in Southampton, and he is currently working on the forthcoming production of La Cage aux Folles at Theatre Royal in Newcastle.

Speaking about working on Beauty and the Beast at the Stevenage Theatre, Steve said: "The team has only been together just under a fortnight but the magic of the production has pulled us together. Everyone is so lovely. It's a marvellous cast and team and we're working in a very creative environment.

"Come and experience the magic - you will not be disappointed!"

The musical will run from tonight (Wednesday) until Saturday, with performances at 1.30pm and 7pm tonight and Friday, and at 1.30pm, 4.30pm and 7.30pm tomorrow (Thursday) and Saturday.

To book tickets, which start from �14, call the box office on 08700 131 030 or visit www.gordon-craig.co.uk

For group bookings of 10 or more, call 01438 242641.

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