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    From underwear to outerwear – Theatrix costume collection features 60 years of Army Entertainment

    From underwear to outerwear – Theatrix costume collection from 60 years of Army Entertainment

    Photo By Gerlinde Hoyle | ANSBACH, Germany (January 30, 2024) Theatrix costume manager, Kimberly Stockton, sorts...... read more read more



    Story by Gerlinde Hoyle 

    U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach

    ANSBACH, Germany (February 29, 2024) - Tucked away in a small sub-community of United States Army Garrison (USAG) Ansbach is the largest costume collection of the U.S. Army in Europe Theater Program. According to the Army Europe Entertainment webpage, "Theatrix is an IMCOM-Europe (IMCOM-E) Garrison Support Element located on Franken Kaserne near Ansbach, Germany. Operated for IMCOM-E with USAG Ansbach, it provides costume and technical support to Army Entertainment programs and other units across Europe."

    This short description does not do justice to the collection of Army-owned costume pieces, wigs, weaponry, armor, prop pieces and backdrops for shows. Theatrix is the largest collection of costumes for the U.S. Army in Europe and encompasses more than 100,000 individual pieces estimated at a value of more than $1 million
    Dane Winters, IMCOM-E Entertainment director, explained how the collection came to be at the Franken Kaserne, an installation within USAG Ansbach, “With the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War, the U.S. Army started shutting down some of the facilities in Germany. They closed Aschaffenburg, which housed the majority of the Army in Europe Entertainment program collection and where it was first located. It then moved to Offenburg and then again to Frankfurt. Once we closed Frankfurt and moved to Darmstadt, it was split into in two different locations due to space limitations."

    The collection was ultimately moved to Franken Kaserne since late 2009/early 2010 as Franken offered sufficient space for the extensive collection and is centrally located to most IMCOM-E garrisons.

    The U.S. Army Europe Entertainment program has a more than 60-year history. As the website describes, it was in 1952 when Seventh Army decided that an original Broadway-sized musical comedy that would tour civilian theatres as well as military bases should be produced. The program continuously grew, and in the 1960s, the U.S. Army Roadside Theater, Heidelberg, presented the European premieres of The King & I and My Fair Lady.

    The original costume designers from the Broadway production of My Fair Lady came to Germany to create costumes for the show and many of those same costumes are still used today for Army Entertainment branch productions throughout Europe. During the 1970s and 1980s, the U.S. Army in Europe continued to thrive and experienced its glory days with elaborate productions of Broadway shows and plays in English for U.S. Army community members to enjoy.

    Victoria Hanrahan, USAG Ansbach entertainment director, remembers, "They had two full-time designers, tailors, seamstresses, and in addition to that, they also had printing (capabilities). So in Aschaffenburg, for all of those musical theater programs in Europe - which there were many at that time - they would print the posters for the shows.”

    Today, Theatrix is also the repository for this collection of posters and flyers created for U.S. Army in Europe theater productions since its inception.

    The master of this creative universe of Army Entertainment in Europe is Kimberly Stockton, who manages the Theatrix collection and supports U.S. Army Entertainment programs across the European theater. She says, "I can do anything, from underwear to outerwear." Besides advising customers and locating the suitable costumes in the extensive collection cramped into several warehouses, Stockton will also sew and alter costumes to fit the needs of the customer.

    Today little more than a handful of Army Entertainment theaters in Europe still exist. Terrace Playhouse, USAG Ansbach’s theater, benefits enormously from the local Theatrix collection. A short 30-minute drive from the theater, actors have a magnitude of choices to pick exactly the right outfit for the character they are portraying in a play.

    Trude Moellmann, a regular actor for the Terrace Playhouse is full of praise for the collection, “We can get various costumes, try them on and choose accessories to see what may fit best.”

    In 2019, the staff of Theatrix, both past and present, received an American Association of Community Theatre (AACT) Special Recognition Award for sustained excellence in maintaining and preserving this unique, historic and valuable 65-year-old collection. A local news outlet, the Bayerischer Rundfunk, also featured the Theatrix program on their Frankenschau program in early February, highlighting this local gem during the height of Fasching season.

    To learn more about the Theatrix Costume Collection, visit their website at

    To see our local theater program and the costumes in action, come out to the local productions of Little Shop of Horrors at the Ansbach Middle/High School on February 29 and March 1-2 and at Clue at the Terrace Playhouse on March 28 & 29 and April 4, 5, and 6. For more information on these productions, visit the Ansbach FMWR website at


    The U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach military community is located in the Franconian region of Bavaria and is spread across six sites and nine kasernes dispersed around the city of Ansbach and the village of Illesheim. Today, Ansbach is home to the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, the community's largest tenant unit, as well as the 7th Engineer Brigade, 5th Battalion, 4th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, and 1st Battalion, 57th Air Defense Artillery Regiment. The garrison takes pride in supporting more than 12,000 Soldiers, civilians, family members, and retirees working and living in the Ansbach area.

    For more news from U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach, visit: or



    Date Taken: 02.29.2024
    Date Posted: 02.29.2024 11:19
    Story ID: 463761
    Location: ANSBACH, BY, DE

    Web Views: 26
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