June Spotlight: Vicky Vail
This month’s Spotlight features our Costume Shop Manager, Vicky Vail!
Tell us a little about yourself!
I’m Vicky Vail and I’m a Midwesterner by choice! I was born in New Mexico, but grew up in Germany! I decided to go to Hannibal-LaGrange for university, so that’s what brought me to the Midwest. I studied English and Theatre for my Bachelor’s degrees and did the same for my Masters degrees at Mary Baldwin University in Virginia. I had the privilege to work with and study at the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, where I found my passion for organization, stage management, and backstage work. When I graduated in 2019 I missed the Midwest and the slower pace of life, so I moved back to Hannibal and discovered QCT in the process! I love anything artistic (shocker, I know), and I’m passionate about drinking coffee and getting to know people!
What was your experience with QCT before you joined the staff?
When I first found QCT in 2019 I had the honor of stage managing Bye, Bye Birdie that summer, but then sadly had to take time off to work. Last fall, however, I returned as a volunteer stage manager for Junie B. Jones is Not a Crook, and was also one of the Silly Girls in Beauty and the Beast.
What has been your favorite/most memorable show to work on?
My favorite role I’ve ever played was M’Lynn Eatonton in Steel Magnolias, and a huge reason for that was because the other ladies I was performing with were so close and so precious. We really became like a family through that production process. It was also the hardest role I’ve ever had to play, especially as a young college student trying to empathize with a middle-aged mother who struggles with her relationship with her daughter. It really made me appreciate and understand my mom in a new way.
What would be your dream show to work on?
I would absolutely love to work on In the Heights. A huge part of my family is Hispanic and those characters remind me of my family members. Besides, it is a bright, colorful, and energetic show that always makes me feel alive and encouraged.
What parts of our mission do you connect with?
To offer and perpetuate quality theatre entertainment and education in the performing arts through community participation.
I love that our mission includes the word “quality”. So often theatres and artists make things for the sake of making something, which can sometimes cheapen the craft. I firmly believe that if we do commit to making something (in the arts or otherwise) we should give it our all and use the talents we have been gifted with to produce and live out excellence. Quality art and quality education create a strong and powerful heartbeat in a community, and I’m honored that I get to be a part of it.
What have been your proudest accomplishments since working at QCT?
Something I was really proud of doing was the Beast’s makeup for Beauty and the Beast. It was a challenge for me since I hadn’t worked with prosthetics a whole lot before, but that also made it fun. I enjoyed making the Beast look animal-like while still having human elements, and it was a truly fun way to prepare for the show every night.
Tell us more about the Family Sewing Bee class this summer!
This summer I’m so excited to welcome families into the shop with our Family Sewing Bee class! We’re going to be making stuffed animals and through it we will learn how to use a sewing machine, how to sew by hand, what different kinds of fabric are, and how all of the elements of sewing can remind us to be resourceful, patient, and creative! I’m so excited about this class because you don’t have to have ANY kind of background in sewing, and it’s a fun way to bond with family members (or friends if you want to grab a friend to be your partner)! Register here!
What opportunities do you have to volunteer in the costume shop?
What’s fun about working in the costume shop is that no two days are the same, which means no two volunteer opportunities are the same! If you like working with clothes we have options to iron, do laundry, to sew on buttons, or take up hems. If you enjoy organizing and cleaning, we have clothes that need to be inventoried, put away in stock, folding up socks and tights, and organizing ties by color or patterns. But if you enjoy the excitement of backstage then we have plenty of options to work as a dresser for quick changes, or as a costume shop supervisor to help mend things or safety pin things if something goes wrong during a show. There are so many options!
What has been the strangest costume request?
While it’s not a particularly strange request, I am constantly surprised by how often people want to rent out the Mama Mia spandex costumes! They’re rented so often that I often keep them close by. They are genuinely beautiful pieces, and I guess more people are comfortable wearing spandex than I expected! Out of all of the inquiries I receive for costumes, those are by far the most requested items.