LSC-North Harris’ Librarian Takes Dramatic Step into Role as Theatrical Costume Designer

Published on: July 02, 2009

LSC-North Harris’ Librarian Takes Dramatic Step into Role as Theatrical Costume Designer

LSC-North Harris government information/reference librarian, Virginia Rigby, puts the finishing touches on one of six poodle skirts she has sewn for the college’s July musical, “All Shook Up.” Additionally, Rigby constructed three other costumes including a 1950s wedding dress. Rigby has been volunteering her time sewing costumes for the college’s drama department since 2007. She began sewing costumes as a way to give something back to the campus that supported her through her recent battle with cancer.

“All Shook Up,” inspired by a book of the same name written by Joe DiPietro and featuring the songs of Elvis Presley, is currently in production and continues with evening and matinee performances through July 12.Tickets are $15. For show times and ticket reservations, call 281.765.7963.Lone Star College-North Harris is located at 2700 W.W. Thorne Drive, one-half mile south of FM 1960 E, between Aldine-Westfield and Hardy Roads. For more information about the college, call 281.618.5400 or visit: NorthHarris.LoneStar.edu.

Background Story

Professor Virginia K. P. Rigby, oversees a collection of thousands of federal documents by day, and she dresses actors in Lone Star College-North Harris’ theatre productions by night.

“I began sewing costumes as a way to give back to the campus that supported me through my battle with cancer,” says Rigby, who finished her final course of chemotherapy in 2007. “What I didn’t expect was the feeling of accomplishment I received. I have a talent that was needed on our campus. It’s a way I can provide a service and, in a special way, can help these students be successful,” Rigby says. “It’s all about a desire to serve others.”

For the past seven years, Rigby has worked as a government/reference librarian, making information available to area businesses and government as well as matching materials to courses taught at the college as an additional resource.

She became involved with the theatre department two years ago, after Cash Carpenter, the director, sent out a request for a seamstress. Rigby, whose mother taught her to sew at the age of 12, says that sewing allows her to express a certain amount of creativity.

“Virginia takes on the most difficult and challenging pieces,” Carpenter said. “She has a wonderful talent and we are so fortunate she contributes her design and sewing abilities to our productions. In essence, she takes my vision and translates it into fabric for each costume, whether it’s Houdini’s bathing suit or capes for the three murderers in ‘Macbeth.’ I couldn’t ask for more from any colleague,” he added.

For the upcoming musical production, “All Shook Up,” based on a book written by Joe DiPietro and songs of Elvis Presley, Rigby has created six 1950s poodle skirts, a break-away costume that disappears before the audience’s eyes, a floozy’s costume, and an intricate 1950’s wedding dress.

“When the curtains go up, if what I do is good, you can’t see the costumes separate from the actors,” the librarian explains. “You see them as one…and if I’ve done my job, the costumes actually allow the actors to focus on creating their characters. I can see if my costumes give them the confidence they need to complete the character. These students work so very hard on every show and it’s energizing for me to see their positive attitudes, the joy they get from being in a production, and their belief they can go out and take on the world.”

The LSC-North Harris Theatre Department’s production of “All Shook Up” opened July 2 and continues with evening and matinee performances through July 12. Tickets are $15 and can be reserved by calling 281.765.7963.

Lone Star College-North Harris is located at 2700 W.W. Thorne Drive, one-half mile south of FM 1960 E, between Aldine-Westfield and Hardy Roads. For more information about the college, call 281.618.5400 or visit: NorthHarris.LoneStar.edu.

Lone Star College System consists of five colleges, including CyFair, Kingwood, Montgomery, North Harris, and Tomball, six centers and Lone Star College-University Center. It is the largest college system in the Houston area, and third largest community college district in Texas. To learn more, visit LoneStar.edu.

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July 2, 2009

 

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July 2, 2009