Our Story So Far



May 12, 2023

Costumes without Drama is changing. After 23 years Tracey has to step back from Costumes without Drama due to poor health.

Costumes without Drama will be owned and managed by Mark McDowell and Andre Branda-Pawlaczyk who are also owners of Yourshow.net.au

You can find out more about the wonderful new owners from the link below.


I wish them all the best with this wonderful business, I have loved growing my beautiful Costumes without Drama over the years, and it has given me so much joy and satisfaction for such a long time. It has been a pleasure to work with all the wonderful teachers over the years.

Tracey Nuthall.


2020 – 2021 my enforced gap years…   2022 is a year of Celebration.

This year sees Costumes without Drama celebrating 21 years in business.

Tracey Nuthall grew up in Melbourne, before spending time living overseas in both Malaysia and Germany. Upon returning to Australia, Tracey completed a Diploma of Primary Teaching and, later, a Graduate Diploma in Special Education. A keen traveller, she then went to live with her husband in London for 8 years, working in primary schools and special education.

Eventually Tracey was drawn back to Melbourne, where she settled with her husband and (two) young daughters. She taught for several more years, before deciding to take a 12-month break.

It was during this time that Tracey discovered a shortfall of parents able to make school production costumes. After making several large sets for some local schools herself, she decided to follow her passion for sewing (and organising!) and Costumes without Drama was born.

Originally operating from Tracey’s home, the business soon moved to Diana Drive, North Blackburn in 2009 before relocating to its much larger current premises in Molan St, Ringwood in 2014. Now in its 21st year, Costumes without Drama has made more than 13,500 barcoded and inventoried costumes, provided costumes for in excess of 1,500 performances and regularly send costumes all over Australia.

Tracey and the team complete most work onsite in the warehouse. It is clear that Tracey has truly found her passion in the work that she does, providing flexible, organised helpful service with a smile, every time.


Why Hire From CWD?

Costumes without Drama provides a unique costuming experience. Whether you’re a performing arts teacher, parent or heading to a costume party, you have come to the right place.

Locally Made: Over 90% of costumes are made on site at the Costumes without Drama warehouse.

Simplicity: Simply browse pictures, if you cannot see what you would like, send a quick email or phone call and a ‘happy snap’ of anything in stock can be arranged. Don’t forget… they look MUCH better on the children on stage than hanging on a hanger.

Extensive range: With in excess of 12,000 inventoried items, for many genres of plays, we have everything from Army to Animals, and things which only you could think of… just ask!

Environmental: Because our world is precious, we are saving costumes from landfill, by using and re using.

We launder on site using locally made, environmentally friendly laundry products. We also line dry to reduce power consumption.

Inventory: All costume items have their own unique barcode label, so with our unique computer program, we are able to supply a detailed inventory for easy distribution and return.

Don’t chance it by purchasing costumes from overseas via the internet. It may seem like a good solution, but can be fraught with disappointment and sometimes serious delays. Over 95% of our stock has been made on location at Costumes without Drama in Melbourne to original designs. Contact us



July 2020

VERY VERY recently, we have had to PIVOT. Costume hire will be back once things calm down again and we can stage productions, but until then we are making highly specialised


These masks allow others to see your lips move, a wonderful support for those who support others… like Speech Pathologists


People who work with hearing impaired



Front of house staff

The list is endless really.


It is SOOOOO nice to be useful again, and providing a service once more

I have missed working with very special people.


7/24/2020 Coronavirus masks create communication barriers for deaf Australians. This woman wants to help – ABC News

Coronavirus masks create communication barriers for deaf Australians. This woman wants to help

The Drum / By Elly Duncan Posted Fri 24 Jul 2020 at 2:20pm

Costume designer and maker Tracey Nuthall decided to use her skills to assist deaf and hard of hearing Australians with masks. (Source: Supplied.)

Masks became mandatory in Melbourne and Mitchell Shire this week. But for some Australians, they can be a barrier to essential communication.

A 2016 report showed one in 10 Australians were affected by complete or partial deafness.

It is this community that Tracey Nuthall is hoping to assist. The costume designer says she was inspired by her father, himself affected by hearing loss, to come up with a face mask option that includes a see-through panel for lip-reading.

“The audiologist was wearing one of these masks, and [my father] came back and said, ‘this is amazing, you’ve got to make one.'”

By that evening, Ms Nuthall had researched and sampled her design: three layers, elastic, complete with a clear plastic panel.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-07-24/masks-deaf-and-hardofhearing-coronavirus/12486688?fbclid=IwAR0j90wTsEvbEU-5gPJzjbuDXqQgraR4btZrnpU2_… 1/5

7/24/2020 Coronavirus masks create communication barriers for deaf Australians. This woman wants to help – ABC News

Tracey says her father’s experience at the audiologist inspired her to make a unique style of mask. (Supplied.)

“I thought, I’m onto a winner here, it’s a great concept.”

Like many Australians, COVID-19 has had a significant impact on Tracey’s work for the year. When projects fell through, she switched to sewing scrubs, then more traditional masks, to now these new options.

For now, she is producing small amounts by hand — but says she is able to scale up, if the demand requires it.

“If I have many orders, I’d be very happy, because I know a lot of people would benefit from those masks.”

Ensuring all Australians have access to COVID-19 information

Deaf Australia CEO Kyle Miers told The Drum the coronavirus pandemic had put a spotlight on the communication needs of deaf Australians.

Interpreters are now present at nearly every major update press conference.

“What’s constantly highlighted is that we can rely on captions. But if you’ve got live captions, there’s often many mistakes that are made. It really affects the accuracy.”

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-07-24/masks-deaf-and-hardofhearing-coronavirus/12486688?fbclid=IwAR0j90wTsEvbEU-5gPJzjbuDXqQgraR4btZrnpU2_… 2/5

7/24/2020 Coronavirus masks create communication barriers for deaf Australians. This woman wants to help – ABC News

Auslan interpreters have been an essential part of COVID-19 communications in recent months. (ABC News)

When it comes to masks, Mr Miers says it is important to recognise the specific implications for two distinct groups: deaf, and hard of hearing.

“Their communication needs, accordingly, are very different,” he said.

For the deaf community, who use sign language, facial expression is a key element of communication — alongside the signs themselves, and body language.

“Facial expression is the way our language expresses tone or intonation. I can determine whether someone is angry, whether they’re concerned — it’s all shown on the face.”

“If you have a mask on, the tone of the language therefore disappears, because you can’t so easily see the facial expression.”

The second group, considered hard of hearing, include people such as older Australians who may have lost hearing, or young people who might be deaf but have not grown up with Auslan.

Mr Miers says people in this community rely on lip reading and facial expressions to converse and understand.

“To have that covered, how can they communicate? It creates a barrier.”

COVID-19 pandemic prompting a push in innovation

Across the globe, there have been a number of people seeking out innovations for the deaf and hard of hearing communities.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-07-24/masks-deaf-and-hardofhearing-coronavirus/12486688?fbclid=IwAR0j90wTsEvbEU-5gPJzjbuDXqQgraR4btZrnpU2_… 3/5

7/24/2020 Coronavirus masks create communication barriers for deaf Australians. This woman wants to help – ABC News

Kyle Miers welcomes a clear mask idea, like the one Tracey has designed, but says there are a few points to consider when it comes to their effectiveness.

Deaf Australia CEO Kyle Miers says the pandemic has highlighted the communication needs of deaf and hard of hearing Australians. (Supplied.)

“It’s certainly a valid option for medical areas, or a hospital, but I think what we need to ensure is that everybody has the clear mask — I don’t know how that would really work.”

He also mentions the potential for the masks to fog up — something Tracey says she is currently brainstorming how to address.

Whichever option you lean towards, Kyle Miers notes one very important thing: that you first ask the deaf or hard of hearing person how they wish to communicate.

“You just need to adapt to the communication need, rather than forcing the other person to engage with you in your preferred fashion,” he told The Drum.

He says it is important to ensure that the deaf or hard of hearing person has choice in what type of communication is used.

“Deaf people have to be very creative with how they communicate, and how they work out the various complexities that they encounter. It would be lovely if we didn’t have to worry about all of that.”

The Drum airs weeknights on ABC and News Channel.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-07-24/masks-deaf-and-hardofhearing-coronavirus/12486688?fbclid=IwAR0j90wTsEvbEU-5gPJzjbuDXqQgraR4btZrnpU2_… 5/5

7/24/2020 Coronavirus masks create communication barriers for deaf Australians. This woman wants to help – ABC News

Games developer Tyler Glaiel revealed his idea of an ‘LED mask’, that mimics the movement of the mouth with small lights on the material, which move with different expressions.

Tyler Glaiel




7:41 AM · May 26, 2020
55.3K 13.6K people are Tweeting about this

If you have got some lights and batteries lying around (and are comfortable using a soldering kit), Mr Glaiel has shared the instructions to DIY one at home. He is also apparently in talks to manufacture and sell the products too.

Alternatively, both Apple and Android have their own versions of a speech-to-text app for phones.
“I think that’s a good option for many people, but it’s only one-way communication,” says Kyle Miers. He notes that for many who use Auslan as their first language, they may not be comfortable speaking.

In addition, there are logistical barriers; such as the cost of the apps themselves, and whether they require wifi to work.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-07-24/masks-deaf-and-hardofhearing-coronavirus/12486688?fbclid=IwAR0j90wTsEvbEU-5gPJzjbuDXqQgraR4btZrnpU2_… 4/5