Master theatrical tailor, cutter and costume maker Marvin Schlichting was presented with the Silver Ticket Award at the 2020 Dora Awards – Virtual Edition, streamed online Monday evening, June 29.
Marvin Schlichting has spent 45 years in the pursuit of quality tailoring and costuming in the performing arts. As a result of his demonstrated breadth and depth of achievement, he is one of the most sought-after tailors in the business. His contributions in his field have been unparalleled. He has built costumes for countless theatrical productions – from Mirvish Productions and Soulpepper Theatre Company to the Shaw and Stratford Festivals and more. The stockrooms and archives of this country are full with creations that have come from his imaginative mind and skilled hands.
Mr. Schlichting completed a year at the National Theatre School in Montreal after graduating from Douglas College in Surrey, B.C. in Graphics and Design. Overlapping his time in Montreal, he was a summer student at the Banff Centre for the Arts for four years in theatre production, after which he apprenticed at the Vancouver Playhouse Theatre, and then the Shaw Festival. Soon after, Marvin arrived at the Stratford Festival to spend over 20 years as a resident tailor and cutter where some of his last shows in 2000 included Hamlet, Tartuffe and Fiddler on the Roof. In the off-seasons, he worked with various dance and theatre companies across the country.
After Stratford, Marvin moved to Toronto to work as Lead Tailor/Costumer at Seamless Costumes, a division of Mirvish Productions, where The Lion King quickly became a significant project for him, resulting in residencies in Singapore, Sao Paulo and Shanghai.
His expertise was also on display in Mirvish’s The Sound of Music, Hairspray, Mary Poppins and many more. When Seamless Costumes transitioned to an independent company, he continued to produce work for theatre, film and opera as the sole tailor for Seamless including Beetlejuice and Hello Dolly for Broadway and the Warner Bros. film Fantastic Beasts. Tailoring Johnny Depp for Alice in Wonderland and Mick Jagger for the Rolling Stones’ Bridges to Babylon tour were highlights along the way.
During his tenure at Stratford, Marvin had also established his own company called Felsen in 1990. Since 2019, Felsen has become Marvin’s main focus in costume production where he continues to work his magic, most recently for the Canadian Opera Company’s Rusalka.
Marvin is renowned for his skill and love of his craft. His approach is always collaborative and holistic, focused on the needs of each show, each actor and each designer. Designers trust that their costumes will be realized and brought to life; actors are aided in assuming their characters in his fittings.
And budding tailors and costumers grow and thrive because of his training and support. Mr. Schlichting has always felt it important to pass on his knowledge to the next generation to keep alive the art of theatrical tailoring. He has devoted much time to teaching his craft to tailors and cutters in various workshops and seminars at Ryerson Theatre School, regional theatres, and the Stratford and Shaw Festivals.