By Tori Chester
Cheralyn Lambeth has been a costumer, puppeteer, actress, writer, ghostbuster—all the while living in Charlotte.
Lambeth’s interest in costume design and puppetry was sparked upon seeing “Labyrinth”in 1986. From then on, she was drawn to puppets and costumes, taking a special interest in Henson productions like “The Muppets.”
“I started sewing at a very early age, because my mom got tired of making my Halloween costumes,” she said.
Lambeth attended University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she studied drama and Radio/Television/Motion Pictures. After graduating, she went to New York to study costuming at The Julliard School. Her first job in puppetry was in Minneapolis, Minn., designing and making Muppet costumes for Sesame Street Live. Lambeth returned to New York to work with Jim Henson Productions for the motion picture “The Muppet Christmas Carol” and the television sitcom “Dinosaurs!.” She also created the puppets for the European production of Avenue Q, a Tony-winning musical. Her most recent credits include work on photoshoot costumes for megahit “The Hunger Games” and on Showtime’s Emmy-nominated “Homeland”. She now works with Charlotte’s Gracefield Puppets.
While Lambeth works mostly with puppets and costume design, she is also known for recording paranormal activity. During her involvement in theater, she became used to the idea of ghosts.
“When you work in the theater, the ghost in the theater and the ghost stories are very much a part of theater life,” she said.
As a member of the Charlotte group Carolina Ghostbusters, a group based on the 1984 movie that performs at parades and weddings, Lambeth hears accounts of ghostly experiences often.
She became interested in the stories and rumors of ghosts in older theaters. After several months of research, she compiled a series of spooky accounts in her first book, “Haunted Theaters of the Carolinas.” She is currently at work on her second book, “Ghosts of Greater Charlotte.”
Lambeth will be attending this year’s Dragon*Con, held during Labor Day weekend in Atlanta, Ga. She has attended for several years, and serves on panels on the costuming track and the “Star Wars” track. She remains an avid fan of “Star Wars,” “Star Trek,” and, of course, the Muppets. When asked to pick a favorite Muppet, she laughed.
“Cookie Monster,” she said. “There’s a guy that knows what he wants out of life and isn’t afraid to get it.”