Arts & Leisure

Find your new look at the THT Closet Sale

KATE TILTON IS the chief organizer of the Middlebury Community Players’ closet located in the HOPE (Helping Overcome Poverty’s Effects) complex on Boardman Street in Middlebury. Tilton is thinning the closet for the upcoming sale at Town Hall Theater on March 19. Independent photo/Steve James

LISA MITCHELL FOUND a leopard dress that will be available at the THT Closet Sale. Do you have a perfect occasion for this piece?

Let’s talk wardrobe… like fabulous wardrobe. If you’re looking to add a little (or a lot) of flare to your closet, mark your calendars for the Town Hall Theater Closet Sale coming up Saturday, March 19, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. The sale will feature costumes, gowns, vintage duds, everyday wear and accessories, all pulled from the vaults of Opera Company of Middlebury (OCM), Middlebury Community Players (MCP), and friends of Town Hall Theater (THT).

“Our collection grows every time there’s a production,” said Kate Tilton, who works props for OCM and is the chief organizer of MCP’s “big closet,” located in the HOPE (Helping Overcome Poverty’s Effects) complex on Boardman Street in Middlebury. “I’ve got garment racks stacked so deep you can’t even look through them.”

For several years, Tilton has been moving and organizing everything into this new space. She does “one carload at a time”; taking trips from the MCP’s old storage building on Route 7 South in Middlebury. MCP will need to vacate that storage area by July 1 because Addison Residential needs the space so it can expand its business. 

“The old space doesn’t have heat or a bathroom, and the new space does, so I can be here working for hours,” said Tilton, who’s now retired. “We have four rooms in the new space: the main room is costumes, the second room is shoes, hats and fake flowers, the third room is more remote with suitcases, typewriters, telephones, buckets — you wouldn’t believe how many buckets we use — and other props. Then there’s the bathroom that has lots of cabinets full of props.”

But Tilton is still running out of room. And there’s more… 

Debby Anderson, who works as the costume and graphic designer for OCM, has been stuffing every inch of her and her husband Doug’s (OCM’s artistic director) house with OCM costumes, props and sets. 

A SPARKLY GOWN stands out from the rest.
Independent photo/Steve James

“I’ve done the costumes for OCM for 19 years,” Debby said. “And we’ve been stacking all the costumes and sets in our house since — we got rid of the guest room, and there’s metal shelving racks on every inch of our walls. We don’t have any more room. So we thought, let’s sell some of this wacky stuff!”

DOUG ANDERSON MODELS some of the pieces that will be on sale on March 19 at Town Hall Theater. Photo by Cindi Duff

“Yes,” Doug agreed. “Let’s prune — prune carefully — and see what we will use again and what we can sell. Yes, there have been a few arguments; it’s a little painful to say goodbye to a piece that brings you on a trip down memory lane.”

All the pieces sold at the closet sale on the 19th will be tagged with labels for who donated them, and the profits from each item sold will benefit the donor. 

“This is a wonderful way to support the Opera Company of Middlebury, Middlebury Community Players and Town Hall Theater,” Doug encouraged. “Now, not everybody can pull off that little leopard bustier…. But there will also be wonderful, wearable clothes.”

MCP has had closet sales in the past (usually around Halloween), but this is the first time one of this scale has been organized. The event is hosted by THT and will take place in the main theater. The event is free to attend. However Town Hall Theater observes strict COVID protocols, requiring proof of vaccination and a booster, if eligible, or proof of negative PCR test, as well as a photo ID. Masks must always be worn inside the theater.

“The THT Closet Sale is a treasure trove of eye-popping theatrical clothing and amazing everyday wear,” added THT Executive Director Lisa Mitchell. “It’s not easy to part with clothing and accessories rooted in the nostalgia of beloved productions. These pieces helped define a character, a scene, a place in time. But it’s time for these items to have new life with the lucky shoppers who nab them.”

Come find your new fabulous!

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