Robin VerHage-Abrams






M.F.A.  Theatre Design, Costume Emphasis.  The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI.  1982.  Thesis Title:  A Production Design for The Rake’s Progress.


B.A.  Art, English.  Grand Valley University, Allendale, MI.  1978.  With High Honors.



Teaching Experience


Washington University, St. Louis, MO 2001 - present.

Assistant Professor, School of Art. Currently teaching Junior and Senior Fashion Illustration, Portfolio Development, and Textiles.


Lecturer, School of Art.  Taught Junior and Senior Fashion Illustration.1998-2001


Webster University, St. Louis, MO Fall Semester 1998.

Sabbatical Replacement for Dorothy Marshall, taught various Design and Visual History Classes, supervised student costume designs for production.


Adjunct Faculty Member. Theatre Conservatory. Taught Visual History for Theater Majors.1992 – 1994


Wayne State University, Detroit, MI.  1986 - 1988.

Assistant Professor, Department of Theatre.   Head of Graduate Program in Costume Design, taught variety of courses in theory and design, supervised graduate costume student’s production designs and master’s theses, supervised costume shop manager and staff, served on production committee.


University of Akron, Akron, OH. 1984 - 1986

Assistant Professor.  Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance.  Taught variety of courses in design, supervised costume shop manager and staff, served on curriculum committee.


Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI.  1982 – 1984

Lecturer.  Department of Theatre, Taught variety of courses in design, managed costume shop.


Fashion Institute of Detroit, Detroit, MI. 1981-82

Lecturer.  Taught Fashion History.


University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI.  1979 – 82.

Teaching Fellow. Department of Theatre.  Taught costume production techniques.



Design and Related Experience



Opera Theatre of St. Louis, St. Louis, MO and seven additional opera companies along the historic Lewis and Clark expedition course.  (In progress) Costume Design for “Dream of the Pacific” an opera premier commissioned to coincide with the national 200th anniversary celebration of the Lewis and Clark Expedition Exhibit opening at The Missouri Historical Society.


1989 - 2003

Costume and Scenery Designer and Consultant, Designed or coordinated costumes or scenery for Abduction from the Seraglio, The Tale of Genji, Otello, Joshua’s Boots, Arianna, Brundibar, The Thunder of Horses, The Barber of Seville, The Black Spider, Candide, The Very Last Green Thing, Tosca, Billy Budd, The Merry Widow. Assisted with educational programs, production planning, budget creation and management.


Metro Theatre Company, St. Louis, MO. 2002, 2000

Costume Designer: The Short Tree…, More Stuff.


St. Louis Black Repertory Theatre, St. Louis, MO. April 1999.

Costume Designer: Waiting for Godot.


The New Theatre, St. Louis, MO. 1998, 1997, 1992.

Costume Designer: Prelude to a Kiss, Angel City, Off the Map

Costume and Scenery Designer: Molly Sweeney.


Theatre Project Company, St. Louis, MO.  January 1991.

Costume Designer: A Kurt Weill Cabaret.


Circle Repertory Theatre, New York, NY.  January 1989

Costume Coordinator: Brilliant Traces.


The University of Michigan Power Center Series, Ann Arbor, MI.  November 1988.

Costume Designer, A Chorus Line.


Detroit Public Theatre, Detroit, MI.  August 1987.

Costume Designer, The Blood Knot.


South Carolina Ballet, Columbia, SC.  July 1987.

Costume Designer: Beauty and the Beast.


The Hilberry Repertory Theatre, Detroit, MI. with Laterna Magika, Prague, Czechoslovakia. September 1986.

Costume Designer: The Black Monk.


The Hilberry Repertory Theatre, Detroit, MI. 1986 - 1988.

Costume Designer: Nicholas Nickelby, Tartuffe, King Lear, The Black American Dream, Snoopy, Amadeus.


Jim Henson Associates: Sesame Street Live, New York, NY.  May- August 1986.

Design Production Assistant. 


The University of Akron, Department of Theatre, Music, and Dance, Akron, OH. 1984-86

Costume Designer: The Country Wife, Crimes of the Heart, The Venetian Twins, Roshomon, The 1940’s Radio Hour, Come Back to the Five and Dime Jimmy Dean, The Taming of the Shrew.


          Fast Forward Video, New York, NY.  June - July 1985.

Makeup Designer/Makeup Artist: Love is Blue.


Western Michigan Department of Theatre, Kalamazoo, MI. 1982-84.

Costume Designer: Equus, The Magic Flute, The Dining Room, The Journey of the Fifth Horse, Gypsy, Ah Wilderness!, The Pirates of Penzance, The Laundry, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Grease.


The University of Michigan Professional Theatre Program, Ann Arbor, MI  1979-82.

Costume Designer, Misalliance, Tartuffe, All the Way Home, Of Thee I Sing, Tango.


Exhibitions, Presentations - Invited or Refereed 


“Clothing Communiqué”, PowerPoint Lecture/ Clothing Presentation delivered to St. Louis Women’s Club, St. Louis, MO, January 2003


Costume? Fashion? What’s the Difference?”  PowerPoint Lecture/ Clothing Presentation delivered to Washington University Women’s Society, St Louis, MO, December 2002


“Costume Sketches from Joshua’s Boots” accepted for Member’s Media Exhibit, Costume Society of America, Chicago, IL. June 2002.


Costume? Fashion? What’s the Difference?”  PowerPoint/Costume Lecture delivered to Fashion Group International, St. Louis Chapter, March 2002


Intuitive Reasoning as an Avenue toward Creative Design” presented to The United States Institute for Theatre Technology, Minneapolis, MN, April 1987


“The Theatre Design of Josef Svoboda”, Organized and Presented photographic exhibit of career retrospective, Theatre Department Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI. 1983


“ Intuitive Approach to Design in the Theatre Classroom” presented at the American Theatre Association National Convention, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 1985.




Professional Affiliations, University Service, Community Service


Member, Fundraiser for Scholarships, Fashion Group International, 2002-present


Member, Costume Society of America. 2002- present


Area Coordinator - Fashion, Washington University School of Art, Fall 2002


Chair, Fairness and Diversity Committee, Washington University School of Art, 2002-2003


Member, Ad Hoc Committee, Washington University School of Art, 2002-present


Secretary, Visiting Artist’s Committee, Washington University School of Art, 2001-2002


Member, Fashion Design Show Committee, Washington University School of Art,  2001-2003


Professional Portfolio Review Seminars 1999-2003, Organization of portfolio reviews by professionals outside of Fashion Design Program for senior design students.


Established $mall Fortune$, an independent textile production business.  All profits go to St. Louis Area Educational Projects 2002-present


Donor, Volunteer Missouri Prison Arts Program, 1999-present


Volunteer, University City Public Schools. Fundraising, PTO activities, Manager Flynn Park Elementary Writing Center (‘98-01), Production Design, Canvassing voters for Bond Issues.



Production Committee, Scholarship Committee, Theatre Department, Wayne State University, Detroit MI.1986-88


Curriculum Committee, Theatre Department, University of Akron, 1984-86


Production Committee, Theatre Department, Western Michigan University, 1982-84



Honors and Awards


Costume designs for Dream of the Pacific used to illustrate article about the opera in the Sept 2003 issue of Opera News.


Critical Acclaim for Costume Design- Candide, (New York Times,      Allan Kozinn , London Sunday Times, Hugh Canning, Variety,    Joseph Pollack) 1994.


Theatre Excellence Award for Nicholas Nickelby.  Detroit Free Press, 1988.


Summer Research Fellowship Grant.  Memphis State University, 1986.


Merit Award for Superior Performance (Teaching).  Western Michigan University, 1983.


Professional Theatre Program Fellowship.  The University of Michigan, 1979 - 1982.


Best of Show, Textiles Category, Grand Valley State University Art Department 1978.


Alternate, E.W. Oldenburg Scholarship for English Literature. Grand Valley University 1976.