Drama's Joshua Bond Ensures That Show Does Go On

May 28, 2010 — In his nearly nine years as costume shop manager in the University of Virginia's drama department, Joshua Bond has made sure that the show goes on for the whole cast of characters: students, faculty, employees, patrons, other institutions and community and professional theater companies.

For his efforts, the University is awarding him its version of a Tony – a 2010 Leonard W. Sandridge Outstanding Contribution Award.

Bond assists the drama department in a variety of ways, making sure students and faculty have the costumes, equipment and materials they need for productions, class assignments and research projects.

In the past three years, his efforts have led to the acquisition of sophisticated equipment, assistant professor of costume technology Marcy Linton wrote in her nomination of Bond for the award. He makes sure that the sewing machines, sergers and other specialty gear are operational.

The fleet of machines in the costume shop – 31 sewing machines and sergers ranging in age from 37 years to the newest, state-of-the-art machines, one industrial serger and three industrial sewing machines – "require frequent and costly repair due to the amount of use they see for class, productions and professional work," Linton noted. Bond took it upon himself to pursue the necessary certification, she said, "allowing him to perform regular maintenance as well as repairs on our machines without voiding their warranties."

Bond also traveled to Chicago last year at his own expense to attend certification classes, Linton added. This certification "translated into at least $3,000 of savings per year for the University," she wrote.

Bond has also built relationships with colleges and local, regional and national theater groups to pool resources and, in turn, raise U.Va.'s stature in the arts among these constituents.

Four years ago, Bond established costume-borrowing agreements with Virginia colleges and universities. "These agreements reduce redundancy of costume pieces, focusing resources and creating meaningful dialogue that showcases the professional standards of the garments created in the U.Va. costume shop," Linton wrote. "This translated into a direct monetary and times savings for all Virginia state schools involved.

Bond's relationship-building with peers at other institutions benefits U.Va.'s program and its faculty, too. The head of VCU's costume program, Broadway designer Toni Leslie-James, became aware of Linton's work through the borrowing agreement, which "has led me to drape and sew several professional costumes for 'Finian's Rainbow,'" Leslie-James' latest show on Broadway, Linton wrote.

Bond has also created strong relationships within the region's arts community through costume rentals and helping area high schools and theater groups. "Averaging nearly $5,000 a year, this money has been used to improve the costume shop's facilities without cost to the University," Linton wrote.

Bond also has assisted faculty members with their performing arts scholarship. Among them: costuming Richard Warner, head of acting, for a presentation in the music department on Beethoven; assisting Mary Anne Kubik's movement show at Boston College; and securing last-minute costume pieces for Betsy Tucker's show at Live Arts.

Athletics has benefitted from Bond's expertise and generosity, too. He has helped maintain and refurbish costumes for the Cav Man and Saber mascots, again saving money and time for the University.

Bond also became the College of Arts & Sciences' representative to the Provost Employee Communication Council in July. "This is a job that he takes very seriously, talking with constituents, voicing their opinions and relaying vital information back to them," Linton wrote.

Bond has "helped to elevate and promote U.Va. throughout the country," Linton wrote. "I can think of no other person who better represents the spirit of this award."

— By Rebecca Arrington