Alumna Lindsey Kapitzke helps The Last of Us characters dress the part

The television adaptation of The Last of Us is proving to be a worldwide hit and, for University of Lethbridge alumna Lindsey Kapitzke (BFA - Dramatic Arts ’15), being able to be part of the production crew marked a major career milestone.

Lindsey Kapitzke was one of many alumni who had a hand in the making of The Last of Us.

Touted as the largest television production in Canadian history, it’s estimated The Last of Us will generate more than $200 million in revenue for the province of Alberta. The sheer scale of the production, which was shot entirely in Alberta, created thousands of jobs for Alberta film and stage crews — including Kapitzke, who has been working in the film industry since 2019.

“It's so surreal working on the production and just how big it was. Then seeing the reception of the show and how big a hit it actually is, is so strange,” she says.

Local viewers have recognized many iconic Alberta landmarks featured in the show, including the Alberta Legislature Building, Calgary’s 4th avenue flyover and the iconic Lethbridge Viaduct. Kapitzke’s role in the production was as a costume buyer — something she describes as “shopping as a job.” Her work involved sourcing costume materials and working with costume designers to bring their vision to life.

“The costume designer paints what the character is going to look like. My job, as the buyer, is to meet with our designer and build the palette they're going to use to paint the show,” she says. “Thankfully, because the creators of the game (on which the show was based) were so heavily involved in the production, we had access to all their concept art. So, that was very valuable for us.”

Kapitzke, who works out of Calgary, says she bought as much clothing as she could locally and worked with a team in Vancouver to source everything else.

“I always joke that it was my dream job – HBO gave me a credit card and let me loose in the malls in Calgary. Growing up, I loved shopping, and my dad was always like, that's not a job. Now, he's just so proud of the work I've done,” she says. “I bought Nick Offerman Ugg boots, which was a very weird thing!”

Kapitzke completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts at ULethbridge, majoring in technical theatre and design. In addition to working as a costume buyer, Kapitzke has worked in dance and theatre settings in Calgary, putting her training in design to use as a cutter. In 2017, she assisted with the Calgary Stampede’s Grandstand show in honour of Canada’s 150th celebrations, where she connected with singer/television personality Jann Arden over costume designs.

“On the first season of her show Jann, she wears a dress I made for Stampede, which was my first time seeing anything I’d made on television. That was really surreal.”

Kapitzke says the Alberta film industry is booming and since working in that field since 2019, she’s had numerous exciting opportunities to utilize her talents.

“The industry is massive and I'm really happy that it's blown up so big,” she says. “I want the film industry in Alberta to grow because it is such a wonderful industry. Film is always so beneficial and I’m happy that it’s getting the support it needs.”

Another benefit to working in Alberta is continuing to work with many of the friends she made while a student. Establishing those connections and learning from industry experts highlighted her time at ULethbridge and she was one of many alumni who had a hand in the making of The Last of Us.

“ULethbridge drama graduates are really a different calibre,” she says. “Having worked in this industry for a number of years now, our grads just know how to do stuff and get stuff done. I feel like they’re set up with such a good mindset and toolbox to start making their career what they want.”

For more, check out this feature story.