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Volunteer Spotlight: Dan Stephens

In the closing months of 2023, we had two shows featuring weapons. From the dwarves, goblins, and men of Middle-Earth in THE HOBBIT to the pirates and warriors of Never Land in PETER PAN. But an armory of spears, bows, and swords is not something a theatre generally has on hand. Fortunately for us, Dan Stephens was eager to help out to show off his skills.

How did you first get involved with Quincy Community Theatre? What was your first show? Describe the experience.

My grandson, Andrew Krus played Tommy Djilas in QCT’s recent production of MUSIC MAN. Andrew and I do a lot of things together so I signed up to build sets with him. I had a great time and Andy and Harrison were fun to work with. They helped me learn the skills I needed and encouraged me along the way. 

What is your favorite memory working on a QCT production? 

My favorite memory is building weapons/special props for THE HOBBIT. Fight choreographer, Steve Looten told me what type of weapons he needed and how many of each. I asked director, David VanCleave, what he wanted the weapons to look like. He told me to use my imagination. Boy that was fun! War hammers, battle axes but my favorite was Gandalf’s staff. It was carved from a sapling I dug up. 

You worked on special props, specifically designing and crafting weapons for both THE HOBBIT and PETER PAN, what drew you to that specifically? Describe your experience in that field. 

 I have been a wood carver for years and dabbled in blacksmithing. In recent years I have gotten into bladesmithing. It is so creative. Whatever you can imagine in your mind, your hands build. What better place to let your imagination run than Middle Earth!

Do you prefer performing on stage or working behind the scenes? Why? 

Currently I prefer working behind the scenes because I love building things but also because I feel I don’t have any on stage talent to offer at this time. Maybe in the future. Although I joined Deb Currier’s class, Emeritus Players and that has been a blast. Who knows? I may look to try out for a small theater part sometime. 

What would you say to encourage someone else to get involved at QCT? 

If you have ever thought about theater, QCT is a wonderful place to start. There are members at every talent level. People that are welcoming, eager to include you, to help you find your talents. Go ahead, take the plunge. You’ll love it!

Dan Stephens with his props

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