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Costume Design as Art – Linda Sarver Papers

The Linda Sarver papers ( consist of her costume designs and renderings, along with production materials created for several theatrical plays during her professional career as a costume designer. Included in the collection are professional and academic appointment materials such as curriculum vitae, book publishing materials and sketches, and costume history illustrations and research.

Sarver completed a Master of Arts at Western Illinois University and then a Master of Fine Arts at Ohio University, where she created her own academic program that included internships with the Indiana Repertory Theatre and The Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis.  After passing the union’s rigorous 3-day examination, in 1977 she earned membership into the United Scenic Artists local 829, the national union for theatre designers.

Sarver’s academic career began at Marquette University in Milwaukee and moved to Florida State University, where she headed the graduate and undergraduate programs in costume design.  In 1998 she was recruited by the University of Utah to head all the graduate and undergraduate programs in design and to be a Resident Costume Designer for the Pioneer Theatre Company, the professional theatre affiliated with the University.

As a professional theatre artist, Linda was primarily a costume designer for the stage, though she was expanding into scenography and dramaturgy.  She designed internationally for the Hong Kong Repertory Theatre (Chekhov’s Three Sisters), the Saidye Bronfman Theatre in Montreal (Driving Miss Daisy), and the Falaki Theatre in Cairo, Egypt (Autumn in New York).  She designed for America’s commercial theatre (the national tour of The Wonders of Magic) and for resident theatres and Shakespeare festivals across the country. She was Resident Costume Designer for the Pioneer Theatre Company for nine seasons. She designed for many companies including, the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia, the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, and the Colorado Shakespeare Festival.  Her work was seen in film (52 Pickup, with Roy Scheider) and television (Moonlighting, with Bruce Willis and Cybil Shepherd).

Linda received many awards for design and for her academic achievements including, Outstanding Young Women of America and membership in the National Theatre Conference, where she served for six years as co-editor of Broadside, its annual publication.  She was twice nominated for Best Costume Design by the Denver Theatre Critics; she was awarded the John R. Park Teacher’s Fellowship; she was a member of three U.S. Delegations to the Prague Quadrennial of Theatre Design in the Czech Republic; and she was one of a team of four that was honored by The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences with a citation for Outstanding Achievement in Costuming for the ABC-TV mini-series North and South, Book I.

Linda was author or co-author of five books and many articles in academic and trade journals.  She illustrated several books and was a Contributing Research Consultant for Blueprints of Fashion.  Her textbook, Another Opening, Another Show, co-written with her husband Tom Markus, was a standard in the field for over a decade.  A Novel Approach to Theatre is a collection of short, humorous reviews of over 500 novels about the theatre.  The Cairo Diaries 2004-2006 describes her two years living in Egypt.

Images of her designs and samples of her books and articles, along with detailed information about her career, may be viewed on her website:

Her collection is available to the public.  Please contact Special Collection at 801-581-8863 for more information.

Please visit the Special Collections Reading Room on Level 4 of the J. Marriott Library, Monday – Friday 8:00 am – 6:00 pm and Saturday 10:00 am – 6:00 pm.

1 Comment
  • Jessica Breiman
    Posted at 19:38h, 10 February Reply

    What an awesome collection! I didn’t know the library had it and I work here 🙂 Folks can also see other collections featuring costumes and set design in the Pioneer Theater Photograph collection and Charles Morey collection.

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