"Light in her hands": a biography of Irene Corey



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Texas Tech University


For over thirty years, Irene Corey, designer, author, and master teacher, has exerted a significant influence in the field of visual arts within the world of theatre. As a designer, she first made an impact with a spectacular mosaic makeup and costume design for The Book Of Job a world-renowned production originally commissioned by the Religious Drama Society of Great Britain. The international success of this production prompted the founding of The Everyman Players, a repertory company which toured the world for twenty years. She has authored two textbooks on makeup and costume design; and, in addition, her designs are featured in nineteen other textbooks. Of equal value to the advancement of the theatrical profession, Irene Corey is a master teacher. Her standards of discipline and sound research methodology have been widely disseminated by her students and her contemporaries.

This dissertation is designed as an authorized, non-critical, chronological history of the life and works of Irene Corey, based on extensive interviews with the artist, her family, her former students and her colleagues. This study also includes color reproductions of her original artwork, working drawings, and photographs of production details. Due to the ephemeral nature of theatrical design, there is no extant body of critical scholarship of her work. It is hoped that this biography will serve as a record of a worthy and remarkable woman in the arts and as a basis for later critical study.