Carnival Costumes

Carnival Costumes

This artist-led workshop looks at how to create carnival costumes, with a mixed age group, and then put on a performance. The workshop is led by carnival artist Gemma Cumming who worked with a small rural school to produce Angel wings and headdresses.

A lesson plan for teachers to help develop art and design skills and start a drama project. Students will make costumes and perform a simple play.

Key Stage:

KS 2&3 Art and Design, English


The nine films show the key stages of a carnival workshop which was delivered over two days by artist Gemma Cumming with a mixed age group of pupils from a small rural school. The costumes were made on the first day and the performance was developed, rehearsed and performed on the second day. The workshop begins with Gemma discussing what the word carnival means. The group then go on to create masks and angel wings which they use as costumes for a performance in front of parents and teachers. Gemma took the theme of Angels. The materials used include fabric scraps, feather, glitter, plastic jewels, foam. You will also need a stapler and glue. Gemma uses latex glue to stick the decoration onto the wings but other glues may also work...we suggest you test before the workshop. If you have a glue gun this could also be useful.

What is Carnival?

Thinking about a theme

Selecting materials to use

Making a headdress


Designing and constructing the wings

Planning performance

Final performance

A Teacher's view

Development Activity:

Elsewhere on CultureStreet there is a lesson plan about Antony Gormley's Angel of the North in which students reimagine angels.
Angel of the North lesson plan

Learning Objectives:

Pupils should be taught: to increase their proficiency in the handling of different materials
1. identify the materials used in carnival costume
2. identify techniques used in producing carnival costume using a variety of materials [eg. ribbon, glitter, plastic, aluminium]
3. create a headdress or carnival costume using the techniques outlined on the site.
4. create a performance incorporating costume
5. realise that there are contemporary artists who create art as a living....understand the motivations behind the choice of art as a career
6. to review what they and others have done, say what they think and feel about it and what they might change.

Research, Notes and Links:

Download this lesson plan