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What should be in your dresser’s emergency kit bag?

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Your dresser’s kit bag is your life-saver in an urgent backstage situation and having the right gear could take the stress out of a quick change in a flash.

It’s tempting to want to carry everything for every eventuality around with you, but we can assure you, this doesn’t have to be the case.

With a few select items, you can keep your kit bag in check, solve (most) problems that arise, and be there to make sure that changes goes smoothly.

Here’s our Kozzii guide to what to keep in your kit:

Safety pins

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: safety pins are your secret weapon (and we don’t mean you should start sticking them in actors you don’t like). They really are a wonder tool for all sorts of problems that might arise.

Make sure you have easy access to a few – maybe on the outside of your pouch, pinned to your blacks (safely please) or a handful stashed in your pocket. Why not do all three to make sure you’re never without these little ‘heaven sent’ pieces of metal.

They can be used in a whole variety of scary situations- when actor’s costume rips, when a zip goes, or when you need to quickly attach something. Whatever it may be, a safety pin will normally provide (a very short-term) solution.

Shoe horn

Another little gem which doesn’t cost the earth, but could really help out when you’re stuck in a tight spot.

Picture the scenario – you’ve got a quick shoe change and you’re there trying to squeeze the actor’s foot into an unruly shoe, and they are on stage in a matter of seconds. Save yourself some finger pain and pop a shoe horn in there – it’ll slip on like a glove (or a shoe) with ease, keeping your fingers intact in the process.

Emergency sewing kit

It’s always a good idea to pack a needle and some thread (mainly black and white) in your kit just in case.

There might be a last minute tear you can stitch up quick or a button that has sprung off. Whatever it may be, a small sewing kit comes in very handy indeed.

It may even be worthwhile to pack a quick-unpick or a seam ripper, as these come in handy for all sorts of last-minute situations.


A little pair of snips in your bag is always a good idea. You never know if there might be some loose threads or a random piece of fabric that’s fallen down that needs snipping off (please don’t do this without Head of Wardrobe’s permission!)


This one is a dressers’ kit bag staple and it’s worth investing in a few backups as well as a variety of colours. These could come in handy for anything from colour coding a plot to naming shoes, or popping a name on a label (laundry labels are a better option for this though).

Pens and pencil

Definitely pop a few pens and a pencil into your bag as you can never have enough of these as they will go walkabout! It might be a good idea to include a mix of biros, felt tip pens and a good old-fashioned pencil. Again these are not only handy for your plot, but making notes for laundry or repairs.

Hand gel

You won’t thank us enough for this little piece of advice. Make sure you have it at the ready at all times. By the time you’ve handled a few sweaty costumes and socks, you’re definitely going to want it…

Get them in whatever flavour you want, but the Body Shop do a great one in a range of flavours, to keep you feeling fresh and bug free backstage.


These always go down well especially when you’ve got an actor with a particularly painful pair of shoes and a few seconds to be a life saver.

You won’t need a whole medi-kit with you as most touring companies and theatres will carry all the supplies you need, but a couple of emergency plasters won’t do any harm at all.


These are always a good idea if you’ve got a headtorch (which we would definitely advise you take) because if your light goes out just before a tricky quick change, then it’s not going to be ideal…

However, if you prepare in advance, check your torch and pack some spares, you can avoid thsticky scenario nicely.

Spare torch

Although ideally you will have a head torch with you, it’s not a bad idea to keep a little torch in your kit just in case it goes out mid-change.
Trust us, you do not want to be plunged into sudden darkness with a complicated change in the wing and no light source. However, a mini torch-which you can get on a keyring could be a day-saver.

These are just a few essentials for your kit bag, but there are many other things you might choose for yourself.

Let us know what your kit bag essentials are and if there’s anything you’d add. Leave us a comment below or get in touch if you fancy doing a kitbag review.

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