In July 2022, STG celebrates the one-year return of our volunteers following the COVID-19 shutdowns. One year ago, our first small group of eight volunteer ushers returned to service at the Neptune Theatre for the Steve Hoffstetter show. Emily, Beth, Barbara, Marilou, Jonathan, Ada, Edward, and Luca helped welcome our audience members back with enthusiasm and professionalism. The excitement was palpable!
"It has been one heck of a year and I am so proud of and grateful for our STG volunteer community," said Xaviera Vandermay, STG volunteer coordinator. "Every day, they make the choice to donate their time to us in the midst of an ongoing pandemic and make our spaces sing. If you have the chance, introduce yourself to and thank a volunteer. We are the family they've chosen."
Thank you to ALL our STG volunteers who help as ushers in our theaters and as volunteers in our library. Volunteers help us maintain our historic Wurlitzer organ at the Paramount. They assist in our Education & Community Engagement programs, make our annual DOORs fundraiser run smoothly, and so much more.
"A special shoutout to our Volunteer Advisory Committee members for their support in getting all wheels in motion this past year!" Vandermay said.
Below, we'd like to introduce you to three of STG's fantastic volunteers: Iris Nielsen, who celebrates 21 years of volunteering at STG this year, Fulton Bryant-Anderson who first volunteered at our THING festival and later joined our year-round program, and Natasha Yanover, a 2022 recruit.
Introduce yourself to our blog readers in one sentence!
"Greetings and salutations! My name is Natasha and I like short walks and long conversations." – Natasha Yanover
"Hello! My name is Iris Nielsen and I LOVE theatre." – Iris Nielsen
"Howdy! I'm Fulton Bryant-Anderson (he/him/his/they/them/theirs), a history and communication student, Steely Dan aficionado, audiophile and yogi! "– Fulton Bryant-Anderson
How long have you been volunteering with STG? Why did you get involved?
"I am a new volunteer for STG but I've hit the ground running and totally dig it. I like being a helper, so I decided to put my words into action." – Natasha Yanover
"My cousin Kiku introduced me to ushering at Intiman w-a-a-y back (I think I was still in college!); and I learned about ushering opportunities from other ushers. I'm now fortunate to volunteer at several theatres. I was on the Seattle Theatre Group waitlist for 3+ years but happily became a volunteer. I love the diversity of programs, one-person shows, huge Broadway productions, films, community and cultural celebrations, and silent movies" – Iris Nielson
"My first gig was THING in 2019, I became a volunteer in 2021 and started ushering in spring 2022. I got involved because it's an opportunity to give back to a community I love. I hope my work continues to inspire our local entertainment community at venues small and large." – Fulton Bryant-Anderson
What have been some of the highlights of your volunteer career with STG?
"It's only been a few months but for me, the audiences have been the highlight. The anticipation, excitement, and nostalgia each person brings with them are wonderful. We're all working our way out from under the trauma of this pandemic and venturing back out to do the socializing we used to do. It makes me happy to be a part of the audience's experience and hopefully, simultaneously assist the awesome STG staff who really make it all happen." – Natasha Yanover
"My favorite memories include Hamilton, Mama Mia and DANCE This." – Iris Nielsen
"The community! Meeting other volunteers, interacting with passionate patrons and seeing shows like Kraftwerk 3-D. I gained a new respect for everything that goes into these productions whether it be the artist, house manager or a paid staff member." – Fulton Bryant-Anderson
Why are you passionate about STG? Why is this an organization you support? (Also please feel free to include ways you'd like to see us improve and grow!).
"I have tremendous respect and admiration for the talented performers who grace the STG stages and who, I think, exhibit a long list of qualities I aspire to, including their sacrifice, determination and courage (it takes a brave person to bare one's soul in front of a room full of strangers, even if they're faking it). In addition, none of that happens without the many terrific people working behind the scenes. I've always known they exist, but now I've seen firsthand how this team of strong, fast-moving, quick-thinking, considerate people work together to create a fabulous space for the public to enjoy. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to assist these professionals and if us volunteers help to lighten their load, freeing them up to do what they do best, then I'm satisfied." – Natasha Yanover
"I appreciate the outreach, opportunities, access and participation that STG offers to diverse communities, such as Dance for Parkinson's and arts programming that involves busloads of youths coming from the whole state." – Iris Nielson
"STG is all about diversity, equity and inclusion. These principles guide the future and are required to learn from the past. I look forward to STG's continued implementation of these practices and hopefully new work with marginalized groups like local Indigenous groups or queer folxs." – Fulton Bryant-Anderson
What upcoming STG show do you recommend and why?
"I recommend taking a chance on a performer or show you've never heard of because it's so good for the brain to have new experiences and you might find a new favorite or at least have a good story to share. There is a world full of talent out there ready for you to discover them! In fact, I hope someday to see my cellist sister, Gretchen Yanover, performing at one of these STG venues. That would be amazing!" –Natasha Yanover
"Bill Frisell at the Moore in February 2023. I know this is ways out but Bill Frisell? Wow! One of the greatest guitarists ever. One of ECM's greats!" – Fulton Bryant-Anderson
Aside from attending shows in the Paramount, Moore and Neptune, what are some other quintessentially Seattle activities you love?
"This is not the same city I grew up in (a phrase said often by longtime Seattleites), but nowadays I enjoy doing the opposite of the quintessential M.O. imposed on Seattleites. I like having a chat. Ain't no freeze here!" – Natasha Yanover
"Walking Green Lake. Also, friends and I are walking different parks around Seattle to explore different neighborhoods and (of course!) drinking coffee and tea!" – Iris Nielson
Anything else you'd like to say?
"Thank you to STG and a special thanks to Xaviera for being a great support and effective communicator—coordinating all of us is no small task!" – Natasha Yanover
"Check out my history podcast Innovative History at innovativehistory.org! Thanks to Xaviera, Marilou and Edward. Those three set me on my way." – Fulton Bryant-Anderson