Todd McKenney is easily one of Australia's busiest stage stars. If he's not performing in a hit musical, he's probably performing in another hit musical. Of course 2020 has really dicked over anyone working in theatre – not just the stars, but the thousands of people who work backstage to make the magic happen.
With in-person theatre productions put on ice, McKenney has channeled his energy into a new project that helps out both his fellow stage and screen colleagues, and Australians looking after their community. The actor has launched a new website called Todd Masks – an online marketplace where the public can buy reusable face masks created by out-of-work costume designers.
The idea for Todd Masks came partly from McKenney's role as a supporter of the Grace Centre at Westmead Children's Hospital, as well from the severe economic impact the pandemic has had on his profession. Australian costume designers and makers who have already signed on to the project include Jennifer Irwin (who has designed for Bangarra Dance Theatre, the Australian Ballet, Sydney Theatre Company, Opera Australia) and Erin Roche (who has worked on shows like High Ground, The Pacific and House Husbands).
So far 800 masks have already been made and sold via the platform, creating $20,000 in income for the costume teams who would usually be stitching together outfits for stage and screen. Each mask is made in compliance with current Australian health standards and come in both adult and kids' sizes, as well as in a variety of colours and patterns (we particularly like this range of sparkly glitter masks, which we can definitely see making an appearance on stage). There are also charity mask auctions featuring one-off designs – the proceeds of these go towards the children's hospital at Westmead.
Visit the Todd Masks website to see the full range and find out more.