Mask DIY

Dallas Theater Center's staff takes center stage by making and donating masks

Dallas Theater Center's staff takes center stage by making masks

Dallas Theater Center presents Little Women
Dallas Theater Center's costume and production departments have turned to making masks. Photo by Karen Almond

Dallas Theater Center is joining other big names in using its materials, people, and skills to construct and donate masks during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2017 Regional Theatre Tony Award winner's production department is redirecting its resources while the company remains closed, with costume director Micheal Waid Heath leading the way.

"I didn't initially jump at the chance to make cotton masks," he says. "Safety concerns revolving around the use of reusable masks versus disposable masks dominated the initial discussion. I spoke with many people, including other costumers and medical professionals, about alternative ways to create masks."

When the stay-at-home orders went into place, Waid and his team got to work, and have been working diligently ever since. They're using sheets and clothing to make the masks, along with more traditional materials. Members of the production department, ​the Dallas Opera, the AT&T Performing Arts Center, and​ other Dallas Theater Center staffers and board members have also joined the cause.

"During this time, it has been important for our entire production department to find unique ways to continue to contribute to the organization and our community, even while staying safe at home," says DTC director of production Bryan White.

So far, about 300 masks have been made, and 300 more are in the works. The masks were donated to T​exas Oncology Presbyterian Cancer Center of Dallas and ​John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth.

Staff members got an unexpected boost to their efforts and their hearts when they received a huge donation of nose clips from ​SMART Local Union No. 67 in San Antonio.

Thanks to instruction from Waid, soon more people will be able to make their own masks. The Dallas Theater Center is currently creating a step-by-step guide for its YouTube channel.