Volunteer Spotlight - meet Kit Sibley and Jean Schlichting

Tell us about yourself.
We can't remember when we met, but it was probably on some kid's baseball field, swim club function, or school volunteer activity.  Each of us is married with 2 sons, named Alex and Eric.  Each of us has lived in Arlington since marriage in the 1970's.  Each of us grew up in non-urban areas and learned to sew as children.  We each have deep interest in history, and researching costume history is one of the best parts of our job as costumers.  We each love to sew, love fabric, and are expert seamstresses.

Kit costumed her first show in 2000 when her older son was in a production of "Fiddler on the Roof" at Chalice Theater in Arlington, and the costumer bailed.  Jean made costumes for  the Harvard Follies when her husband was in law school.  We first teamed up in 2004 to costume Into the Woods at Chalice Theater.  Kit's co-worker, LTA member Marg Soroos, brought them into LTA soon after to sew for Das Barbecu... and the rest is history!  We have costumed many shows for LTA, and have won 8 LTA awards for excellence in costume design. as well as winning the WATCH award for costume design.

What is your favorite show you have worked on?
We have costumed for several theaters in the DMV, but our favorite, and most frequent,  is LTA.  Our favorite shows are ones that stretch our design and sewing skills in new and creative directions-- as in Enchanted April, set in the 1920's and requiring original designs for all of the actors, and Rocky Horror Show, which we did in Steampunk.  But we end up liking all our shows, and each one brings different challenges.

What advice would you give those you want to volunteer?
Our advice to those who want to work in theater is:  Just do it!  Just sign up and show up!  You will not regret it, and you will be stretched and challenged in unforeseen ways.  The theater community is open and welcoming, and there is a place for everyone who wants to pitch in, work hard, and learn new skills. Best of all are the people, and the opportunity to get to know folks you would never have the chance to meet otherwise.  

Costuming a show requires a diverse skill set.  You must have a good sense of design and color, and a knowledge of fashion and history of costume.  You must be prepared to work hard and long to make your design come alive on stage.  You have to enjoy working with people, all kinds of them.  Crazy situations happen frequently and you need to be able to deal with them diplomatically.  We find sewing to be a vital part of our work but there are costumers who don't sew at all.