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The Wig Master

Henry has been working as Birmingham Royal Ballet's Wig Master for around 24 years. He is responsible for sourcing, fitting, styling, caring for and storing all the wigs and hairpieces used for all BRB ballets. If that isn’t enough, he is also responsible for any body paint or false prosthetics, such as noses and chins, that ballet characters may require.

Henry is based in the Company building in Birmingham, however he goes with the Company whenever they tour both around the UK and the rest of the world.

As a department of one, it is down to Henry to do all of the work necessary to prepare for each ballet. During large productions such as The Sleeping Beauty Henry will call upon an assistant to help fit over 90 elaborately prepared wigs and hairpieces that are used in a production of this scale.

Henry found his way into the wig making profession quite by accident. He was working as a Production Assistant in Glasgow when he saw a similar job advertised in London and applied. Only after getting the job did he realise he would be working for a wig making company, producing wigs for TV, films and West End productions.

The job gave him an insight and passion into all the different stages of wig construction. Henry’s initial training was an apprenticeship; nowadays there are specific courses and training programmes available for people wanting to get into the profession.

The run-up to a production in Birmingham will involve:
• Meeting with the director and / or designer of a ballet to discuss what hair-pieces are required.
• The measuring and fitting of dancers who will be performing will then take place. All dancers have hairpieces made especially – the measurements are important and if the wigs are too large then they may slip off during the show. If they are too tight then they may well give the dancer a headache.

Page 2

Henry Menary

Henry at work

The Wild Girl in Beauty and the Beast, with her pointy hair

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