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Cosplay College 101 is...

a nerdy spot where like minds are able to share, learn and explore the ever evolving world of theatre Manga and CosPlay. We take our love of all things theatre and the skills we have learned throughout our careers onstage and backstage and apply them to all things CosPlay.


We were noticing a trend. Not only was theatre in our particular department expanding to atmospheric theatre (linking lobby displays, multi-media inclusion, disciplined and self-taught sew-ers and makeup artists wanting to go beyond the “norm”), student’s attention was turning to personifying their favorite childhood heroes, alter egos and fantasy characterization though such outlets as Dungeons and Dragons, Magic: The Gathering, and intense characterized and costumed Balls and Masquerades. It seemed that what was once nerdy and possibly even “underground” was now perfectly acceptable and out.


How could we not encourage this very theatrical trend?


And though it is not necessarily traditional, CosPlay’s popularity cannot be denied. We began researching and attending Cons in 2015 and it has been a glorious and eye-opening journey to create a class for our institution, Scottsdale Community College:


CosPlay: Creating/Performing Solo/Collaborative Works.


cos·play /ˈkäzˌplā,ˈkäsˌplā/ Noun: The activity or practice of dressing up as a character from a work of fiction, such as a comic book, video game or television series or show .

~ Merriam Webster Online Dictionary

Here’s the deal: you are going into a situation based on it’s very existence that CosPlay has but 2 rules:

1. CosPlay is not consent

2. Piece-bind all weapons

Oh sure, you’ll encounter the “traditional” Steam Punk clan who will insist on gears, Victoriana, perfection and a deep history but you will also have the groups that mash up 8 superhero concepts into 1 character that purchased their cape at Target’s Halloween Clearance sale and stole everything else from their brother’s dirty martial arts duffle bag. Feel free to express who you are, what you are and why you are to nearly any degree. CosPlay is literally a place to play.

There is truly no limit of how theatre ties into CosPlay. CosPlay is a chance to be a producer of your own theatrical experience:

A CosPlayer, also known as a Layer, needs to:

Research and Dramaturgy

Find detailed history, create backstory and KNOW your character through and through.


Realistic cost out the characterization from head (helmet, wig, tiara, etc.) to toe (boots, heels, customized fur slippers!)


Save, barter and trade to create your look.


Be wise and purchase durable, reliable and thrifty pieces.


Style wigs, weld armor, grommet arm bracers, sew bodice and skirt and apron and scarf and your friend’s scarf…. and bodice.

Organize, Calendar and Market

Price and purchase your Con tickets, make a social website for all the contacts who are attending with you and find a leader (director) who is willing to manage the meet up time and place successfully. Encourage an “handler”, someone you trust who may NOT be CosPlaying or in costume, so they may carry money and water bottles, take photos and help you get your 8 foot wings through the door safely.


Get all of you, your pieces and your CosPlay survival kit safely to and from your Con site…parking, walking and going through the CosPlay TSA to the actual venue can be the most challenging aspect of any Con.


Pull that character off all day! Eat, talk, react and respond in character.


Plain and simple. Find the joy in all of your culminating work.


Post Con, answer what worked, what didn’t and what can we improve for next time!

Cosplay College 101 HAs...

just returned from our second annual ClexiCon in Las Vegas, Nevada. There we were able to take parts a judges at their Costume Contest held Saturday, April 13th, 2019. Proud to say that a Xena, Warrior Princess won the coveted title this year! Here is a picture of our amazing time at Phoenix Fan Fusion 2019 and our incredible artists who played at our Character and Dialect Workshop.

Contact CosPlay College 101 at…

Mandy Embry

Mandy Embry


Maren Maclean Mascarelli

Maren Maclean Mascarelli


Debbie Esparza

Debbie Esparza


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