Designer time line

  • First picked up a needle and thread at the age of 8

  • Introductory taste of costume design in HIGH SCHOOL with a production of a midsummer’s night dream

  • worked on netflix & woody allen productions DURING the summers while attending college

  • Co-FOunded BLUNITE @ UCSB

  • graduated with high honors in art & theater from the university of california santa barbara

  • worked in the sf film & Television scene as a local 784 costumer

  • dipped into the Commercial Styling World

  • Created a local costume shop for construction needs and to teach sewing to the community


Madeline has a wide variety of interests and passions - her endeavors into the performing arts include not only theater, dance, and film but also photography, graphic design, public art, community activism, tailoring, visual display, event planning and more. She has always pursued a life dedicated to creativity. Recently spending months traveling, gathering research, materials, new techniques and inspiration for her future projects.

Madeline is a graduate from the University of California Santa Barbara with a major in art, with an emphasis in public art, and a minor in theater production design, with an emphasis in costume design.  Her time at UCSB gave her many opportunities to design for main stage theatrical and dance productions. She was the lead wardrobe supervisor during her time there, which qualified her to became a San Fransisco Local 784 Costumer shortly after graduating. Through the union she is able to assist film productions and crew behind the scenes for major performances in the Bay Area. The film world gave her a new skill set for large scale organization and rental knowledge that have directly influence her theater work.

Bouncing between two coasts, Madeline designed back-to-back shows at The San Fransisco Playhouse and Associate design a show at the Irondale Center in New York. Shortly after she was offered a new work at the San Jose Stage by the creator of Zuit Suit, Luis Valdez - and given creative rein to push the world deeper into madness and decaying beauty. Currently she is working on multiple projects in SF & NYC.



Madeline Berger

Her personal design philosophy stems from her endless desire to create for a purpose. To have justification beyond her own creative needs, to dedicate time and resources for her creations to be brought into existence.

Costume Design is unique in its combination of physical and mental needs. In theory it’s about creating story-driven, connective threads that highlight the base character beneath the play. In practice it’s about understanding when to stay in the comfort zone and when to abandon it with determined vigor. It’s about researching and questioning as much as possible to feel out the mental borders to push against. Real proof is the best limitation to have. Collecting physical things that feel possible for the characters of the play to be puzzle pieced together.

Understanding bodies will inhabit the clothes created as home. The actors will take the world to new places as the costumes influence their choices. Costume design is successful when you can imagine the character walking off the stage and into their life - confident in knowing who they are and what their world will look like. A well-designed character continues living beyond the stage.

Finding purpose in the subtleties is a specialty. Choosing to emphasizes the smaller moments to support the larger whole. She thrives in the details; personal influences invade her designs in subtle ways that show her artist’s hand, a signature of sorts. Through elements like small handmade patches, elaborate paint work or additional garments, she aims to reward the audience for their attention.


Recent Reviews of Madeline’s Work:

“Carlota has the severe eyes and brow of a silent film star, and she’s clad in a cobwebbed gown reminiscent of Miss Havisham in “Great Expectations.” Madeline Berger did the costumes, many of which suggest years of attic neglect, the pathetic nostalgia of trying to live in a decayed past” - Datebook, SF Chronicle


“…The result is both instructive and fun to watch, adding much to the historical and emotional context of the story. Likewise, the costumes of Madeline Berger bring authenticity to the times and regions represented and provide their own contributions to the farcical aspects the playwright and director seem to have desired.” - Talkin Broadway


“The dark costumes of Madeline Berger bring a ghostly effect to each actors look as their costumes seem to disappear or fall into dead ashes. The gowns for Carlota are cemetery white and flowing with signs of death and madness. I loved the look of the cast. President Lincoln drops by in this wonderful endless top hat that is a subtext to his assassination. Berger’s ghost punk look is topped off by marvelous wig designer Sharon Ridge.” - VMedia


“Even in the more naturalistic flashback scenes, everyone has dark ghoulish makeup around the eyes and stained and tattered finery, in Madeline Berger’s costumes, as if everyone had crawled out of a grave to be here.” - Mercury News