Alum spotlight: Stefan Sittig (MFA ’97)

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Stefan Sittig, MFA in Performance, 1997

Being raised in Brazil came in handy for Stefan’s current career. His parents were teachers at The American School in Rio. Because his dad was on the staff, Stefan explains, “I was recruited to be in Lil Abner at age 6. The minute I got on stage, I loved it. I always liked to dance. Growing up in Rio, how do you not dance?

behind the scenes of “Gypsy” at TheatreVirginia in 1997

Stefan got his undergraduate degree in theatre at UVA, where he worked with fellow alum Tina Fey. She was playing Sally Bowles in Cabaret and he was in the ensemble. Later, his advisor, Colleen Kelly, sent a letter to Maury Erickson, Acting Professor, recommending him for grad school at VCU.

“Kiss Me Kate” in 1988

When asked what made the strongest impression on him at VCU, Stefan replies, “Dr. Parker, Dr. Parker, Dr. Parker and then some more Dr. Parker.” For those later grads, Dr. James Parker headed up the MFA program. Stefan also choreographed Little Shop for Gary Hopper and fight scenes in Julius Caesar for David Leong.

After living briefly in Boston and back in Richmond, Stefan looked to DC, partially because his parents were living in NOVA. Since he was fluent in Portuguese, Spanish and French, he quickly got a temp job at World Bank.

Stefan at the World Bank in 2016

After 23 years, Stefan’s still there as Project Manager for Communications & Change at the World Bank Group. He designs, implements, monitors and assesses communications strategies. With the liberal European-style benefits (including almost two months annual vacation), he’s able to have a parallel career in theatre. Even so, Stefan did have to turn down a national tour, as well as shows at Arena Stage and Signature Theatre. He’s currently an associate artist at Metro Stage.

from “Follies” at Signature Theatre in DC, 2003

Keeping his proficiency honed has proven helpful in his day job, “My directing skills work well because I have to lead a group through a project.” Stefan’s also on the adjunct faculty at George Mason and has been teaching online for the University of Maryland Global Campus since 2002 (take that Zoom!). He’s also in his 4th season producing the podcast American Theatre Artists Online and has interviewed more than 50 people including Tony, Globe, Emmy and Grammy Award winners.

Flyer for “Mothers and Sons,” Directed by Stefan and streamed by Metro Stage this year

As for his career at World Bank, “I made the choice to stick with a full time job and do theatre on side. I’m eternally grateful because I wasn’t struggling for jobs.”

During his first week at VCU, he got a 97 on a theatre history test. Dr. Parker “called me into his office and said ‘I’ll only accept 100’s from you. I don’t want to see any wrong answers.’ He scared me and whipped me into shape…and I got all 100’s! Looking back, I’m so glad he did, because I know my theatre history and can pass it on.”

Find Stefan on Facebook and Instagram:  @AmericanTheatreArtistsOnline

Department of Theatre Alumni Newsletter October 2021