Title: My Name is Not Wigs…Or the Day I Thought Pavarotti was a Stage Hand
Author: Angela Cobbin
Pages: 224 Pages
Publisher: Brown Dog Books
An enthralling journey through time, fashion and theatreland: from hairdressing student in the early 1960s to theatrical wig creator for the biggest shows of our time over five decades. My Name Is Not Wigs is the ultimate read for fans of witty behind-the-curtains memoirs, especially those with a penchant for the bright lights of stage and screen: tears and accolades aplenty!
Angela’s parents wanted a different life for their daughter—after an “unpredictable lifestyle” as dancers and performers themselves—encouraging a career in hairdressing instead of the ‘business of show’. But the creative gene cannot be quelled, and Angela soon became intrigued by the art of wig-making and the history of hairstyling. After swapping scissors for antiques, fate played its part, when Angela discovered a dusty, old book of wigs and hairstyles from the 18th century. After years of uncertainty, she was certain of her purpose in life. Angela secured a job in a London theatre, taking her on a new and exciting path to becoming the go-to wig designer in theatreland and Broadway; creating wigs for Spitting Image, Les Misérables, Phantom of the Opera, The Graduate, Witches of Eastwick, Jesus Christ Superstar, La Boheme and Mary Poppins to name a few; at institutions such as Madame Tussauds in London and Amsterdam, The Royal Opera House in Covent Garden and The Royal National Theatre on more than 100 shows; touring the world; and working alongside many of the biggest names in acting including Joan Collins, Celia Imrie, Judi Dench and Ian McKellen.
The world of theatre is fascinating but the focus always tends to be on the actors, the writers, the composers or the directors. Very little light is shone on those that really make a show work. Those who work behind the scenes. In her fascinating memoir My Name is Not Wigs, Angela Cobbin reveals the ins and outs of the wig department in some of our best loved shows.
Angela’s autobiography takes you from her humble beginnings of training in a hair salon to becoming a celebrated and sought after wig artist across the world and media platforms. Her diligence and dedication to her craft leap off every page.
The lovely thing about My Name is Not Wigs is that it doesn’t feel too heavy on the craft. Whilst we can tell Angela Cobbin is good at what she does and she does bring in technical detail into her narrative we are not bogged down with information that we can’t understand. It is actually quite the opposite. We are told in a way that does make the world od wig-making seem understandable.
However, my favourite thing about My Name is Not Wigs was that it felt conversational. It felt like I had sat down with a friend I hadn’t seen for a while and was enjoying a catch up with her. Angela Cobbin’s writing makes you feel like you are privy to her world because you already have an established relationship. It really made My Name is Not Wigs an enjoyable read.
My Name is Not Wigs…Or the Day I Thought Pavarotti was a Stage Hand by Angela Cobbin is available now.
For more information regarding Angela Cobbin (@angela_cobbin) please visit her Twitter page.