From the Streets of Shakespeare to the Court of Elizabeth

Tames Alan is an actress, historian, and fashion history teacher who has combined her skills to create an educational program for people of all ages. In this program, she first appears in an authentic lower-middle-class Elizabethan costume and talks about the life, times, fabrics, and dyes of the period. After a question and answer period, she changes into an authentic, 62-piece Elizabethan court costume with full makeup, assisted by one or two members of the audience. As she dresses, she describes each piece of clothing and its significance. Once fully dressed in court costume, Tames describes the life and times in Elizabeth’s court, then answers questions from the audience.

This program is suitable for elementary grades on up. It has been given as a general history program to younger students, a cultural background program for Shakespearean students, and as a clothing program for costume and design students. The program is especially beneficial for college-level art and history students because of the hands-on experience they gain concerning the Elizabethan era. It is also a fun cultural event for general adult audiences and lovers of history and clothing.

Tames studied theater and history at Willamette University in Oregon, and theater at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco and Dell Arte School in California. Throughout her theatrical career, she maintained her interest in history and costuming.

She worked for many years with the California Renaissance Faire as an instructor in Elizabethan dialect and culture. Tames has taught fashion history at the Art Institute of Seattle, offering a class that combined fashion history, social history, and women’s studies. More recently, she has been a speaker for the Washington State Commission for the Humanities in their Inquiring Minds series.