QCT SPOTLIGHT: Barb Stoll
If you visit the Box Office on a show night, you’ve got a pretty good chance of meeting Barb Stoll. We caught up with this familiar face behind-the-scenes to learn more about her…
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself…
A: What can I say about myself? I am married to Larry. We have no children, but lots of nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews. I teach computer science and graphic design classes at John Wood Community College. In addition to our love for live theatre, Larry and I are model railroaders. He likes running the trains and I like to do the scenery on the layout.
Q: How did your QCT story begin?
A: Larry and I have been season ticket holders since way back before we got married. We will be celebrating our 30th anniversary next year! We recognize the value QCT provides to the community and have always felt strongly that season ticket holders support all the great things QCT does.
Larry began volunteering before I did. In 1995, when the “Little Theatre” moved to the current location in the Civic Center, Larry helped with the move. He got to know Paul and the rest of the wonderful people associated with the theatre. So he continued to volunteer backstage and in the Scene Shop.
My first volunteer experience was in early 1996 with the show Dancing at Lughnasa. Larry shared with me that Paul wanted him to make Styrofoam look like rocks and he wasn’t sure how to do that. I said that wasn’t too difficult. So I helped Larry out and painted the Styrofoam. I guess Paul liked what I did because he kept giving me challenging and interesting things to paint. Paul’s sets were legendary and over the years I really enjoyed doing my small part to bring the shows to life.
Q: Most people know you from the Box Office. When did you start volunteering there?
A: I began working in the Box Office in the late 1990s, when Bonnie Billings needed someone on short notice to fill in. This was back in the “old days” when all we had were the paper tickets. And they were stored in racks by the Box Office window. You had to sort through the tickets to see which seats were available. It was a tedious process, but Bonnie really made it all work. Ticketing has come a long way since then. Now we can actually see on the computer screen in the box office which seats are in use in the theater. I am looking forward to the new ticketing system, a giant leap in making ticket purchasing more convenient for our patrons.
I like working the Box Office because I get to see who is coming to the shows. The most satisfying experiences for me are when we manage to find seats for all the people on the waiting list for the last performance of a show.
My recent volunteering experience selling season tickets was especially enjoyable. Several times patrons coming in to purchase tickets were not sure where they wanted their seats to be located. So I walked into the theater with them and we sat in various seats discussing the pros and cons. I was happy to help them make their decisions.
Q: What keeps you coming back as a volunteer?
A: What attracts me to volunteer? First and foremost, it’s the people I work with. I always enjoyed working with Paul on his amazing sets because he was so creative and talented. And he always appreciated my efforts, even when they fell short of his vision. Bonnie, and now Kelsey and Shari in the Box Office, were and are great to work with. There is a great feeling of teamwork and pulling together to get things done and to get each show under way. Work with other volunteers and developing friendships through the theatre family has been great as well.
Secondly, I can’t sing. I can’t dance. I can’t act. I admire the amazing actors who share their talents on stage to bring quality entertainment to the community. Painting the sets helps me to contribute in a small way and to feel useful. Of course, over the years not everything I painted turned out exactly as Paul planned it. But my painter’s mantra was “Paul will fix it with the lighting”. And of course, he always did! We will miss him immensely!
Finally, volunteering at the theatre enabled me to share the hobby with my hubby. Larry has been heavily involved with the theatre in the scene shop, on crew, backstage and in the booth. Anyone who works on a show knows the enormous time commitment it represents. So by volunteering myself, I am able to “keep in touch with him” during a show.
Q: What would you say to someone thinking about getting involved?
A: Why should someone volunteer? QCT is a community theatre. It takes a community of dedicated, talented people to put on a show. Acting in a show is a great way to get involved. But there are so many ways a non-actor can get involved as well. From constructing and painting the sets, to running lights or sound, working with props, helping with costumes, selling tickets, ushering, greeting . . . there is something for everyone’s skill set. If anyone wants to be part of a “community” that is a big “family”, then they should consider volunteering.