Carole Klinko

Spotlight on the TCFAF Nutcracker – Carole Klinko

You may know her as the efficient Turtle Cove Marina Manager, but did you know that she has a very special creative gift which she generously shares with the Turks & Caicos Friends of the Arts Foundation (TCFAF).   Carole Klinko has been designing and building the exquisite costumes that have draped the actors of all three Pantos since 2005  — Cinderella, Pirates and Mermaid, as well as award-winning tutus and dancewear for almost every dance show on Providenciales!  In fact, TCFAF, has been so grateful for her huge contribution over the years, that they have awarded her scholarships to Tutu Bootcamp to study under master tutu-maker Claudia Folts of   It is safe to say that TCFAF’s First Christmas Nutcracker 2010 to debut at Brayton Hall on December 2, 3, 4, and 5, is the brain child of Carole, so that she can finally fulfill her dream of designing and building her beloved Nutcracker costumes. She would like to see Nutcracker become a yearly tradition in TCI, as it is around the world!

Carole saw her first Nutcracker in London at the age of 8 or 9.  She confesses that once seen, it becomes every child’s Christmas fantasy.  As the costume designer, Carole explains, “ I have a very important role to bring the story to life by the costumes.  I want to be able to give everyone a feel of the period (1860’s) — bringing the Victorian Era and the magic of the Nutcracker to the children.”

With over 65 costumes to design and build, Carole admits,  “My favorite costume is going to be the Sugar Plum. I love building classical tutus, and that will be the only one.”  Carole has many challenges ahead this month, as she builds the Mice costumes for 10 local children and the Mouse Queen’s head for visiting Pages to Pirouettes dancer Rachel Condello, as well as the Nutcracker Prince’s head for visiting Pages to Pirouettes dancer Ruben Ybarra.  Fittings start the first week in November for over a dozen Polichinelles, the youngest members of the cast, as well as a dozen Toy Soldiers.

Carole concedes, “I am really enjoying building the Salt Cay Candy tutus for the Bowen Dance Academy’s original variation.” The second act of Nutcracker takes place in the Sugar Plum Fairy’s Kingdom of The Land of the Sweets, where all the Candies pay homage to the Sugar Plum. This act traditionally features the following dances — Spanish Chocolate, Arabian Coffee, Chinese Tea, Russian Pepermint, Marzipan, and Mother Ginger and her little Polichinelles.   Pages to Pirouettes’ artistic director, Susan Cade, has ingeniously invited David and Shara Bowen to create a TCI treat. They enthusiastically came up with Salt Cay Candy.  Carole has been commissioned to design tutus with a national Turks & Caicos flair, and she declares that the looks on the little girls’ faces when they try on a tutu for the first time is worth it all!

As an 18 year resident of Turks and Caicos, Carole was born in Chelmsford, Essex in the UK, and grew up in Wellwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire. When asked of her background in theatre, she says that most of her experience has been backstage.  She did, however, perform as a child in amateur theatre in England, remembering a role in the play,  “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.”  Her high school in Southern England had a huge drama department, where it was required to do work in theatre. That’s where she learned to sew costumes and work backstage. Moving to Canada, she worked in costume rentals at Mallabars in Winnipeg,  Watts Costumes in Vancouver,  in musical theatre at The Rainbow Stage, and free-lanced in the movie industry.

When asked, “What do you believe to be TCFAF’s most important contribution to the Arts?,” Carole replies, “ I believe that TCFAF is giving the people of TCI a real gift  — the opportunity to see performers and performances that one would only see on a big island or a large metropolitan city.  I believe that TCFAF gives the community  — children and adults alike – a chance to express themselves creatively in many ways  — dancing, singing, acting, performing, drawing, painting, even designing costumes.”

“Personally, through TCFAF, I have been able to express myself through costume design, and the scholarships that TCFAF has afforded me to study costume making, have allowed me to meet people that have enhanced my life tenfold.  I am given the freedom to do what I really want to do which is very fulfilling for me.  When I actually start a project for TCFAF, I realize quickly how much I need to do it, and want to do it.  TCFAF has given me scholarships to study tutu-making with a master tutu maker in North Carolina, Claudia Folts  — a true gift for which I am extremely grateful!!” Carole participated in Project Tutu during the International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi this summer and was in the top 3, an event that she points out was made possible because of TCFAF.

Carole has taken on another challenge this year.  She has agreed to take on the role of Season Coordinator for TCFAF, because, as she says, she truly believes in what they do and wants to have a say in the direction they are going.  “I see the challenge that TCFAF faces in trying to get the local community more involved in the Arts.  My goal this year is to try new methods of enticement to gain “new blood” into the foundation, and to have more local members see the gift that we give.”

You can see Carole’s array of gorgeous Nutcracker costumes each night at the TCFAF Nutcracker at Brayton Hall this December 2,3,4 & 5.  Over 40 cast members including our own children  — 12 Polichinelles, 12 Angels, 6 Toy Soldiers, 10 Mice, 7 Russian Folk Dancers, and dozens more doing soloist and corps roles on stage with 8 visiting artists from the USA, including celebrity dancer, stage and film actor, George de la Peña, former artistic director of The Joffrey School in NYC. Tickets on sale at The Unicorn Bookstore and The Saltmills Diner  — Adults – $20; Children – $5.

Carole has made 24 gorgeous little tutus which will be exclusively on sale at the Arts and Crafts Expo on November 20, under the tent at Turtle Cove from 10:00am to 4:00pm.  The Expo will showcase local artists, and act as a fundraiser for TCFAF’s Nutcracker.