She’s also run the college’s Costume Shop with aplomb and taught generations of students her craft. Now, she is moving on after retiring at the end of the spring semester.
Thorson got her start at Beloit in 1982, when the wife of former theatre department head Carl Balson offered her a job. At first, Thorson resisted because she already had a thriving clothing business. But when she went to see a play at the college and looked in the windows of the Costume Shop, everything changed. “There was a connection between the Costume Shop and me,” she explained. She went on to produce costumes for most of Beloit’s plays ever since, including ethereal creations for a 2014 performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and period pieces for Madame de Sade, her final show last spring. Thorson says she’s always had two key priorities for success: “Good communication and good planning.”
Now, without looming production deadlines, her plans include making clothes for family members, learning to play a violin that her grandfather built by hand, canoeing, and building miniatures. “My whole life is exploding with ideas,” she says.