Tack Center looking for next director
BY MIKE WARREN
SPENCER – When the curtain closes on another season at the LuCille Tack Center for the Arts in Spencer later this month, it will mark the end of an era for two people who have been there from the very beginning.
Diane Veale is stepping down as the Tack’s Executive Director, while her husband, Randy Veale, is leaving the center’s Board of Directors – the last original member to do so.
“I never had any dreams of this job,” Diane Veale told Hub City Times, during a March 27 interview. “I never aspired to it.”
Diane took the job in June, 2017, following her retirement from teaching after 35 years, 32 of them in Spencer. Now it’s time for both Diane and Randy to retire again.
“Randy retired last June from teaching, and we sold our house last May and moved to our cottage up here in Michigan, and we’ve been living here since June of last year,” Diane said. “It was always part of the plan to retire up here, and we go back for shows about once a month, but otherwise we’re here.”
“Here” is Gwinn, about 20 miles south of Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
Both Randy and Diane have been there since the first shows in 1996.
“The grand opening was Lorie Line’s concert in October of ‘96,” recalls Diane. “The first event was a Russian folk orchestra during one of the biggest blizzards ever.”
As their time with the Tack draws to a close, the Veales prepare to help onboard a new executive director, a position which will look different moving forward.
“In the past the Tack Center fully funded the position that I’m in,” says Diane. “In the last year, the Spencer School Board has stepped up, because they also need somebody that can take care of that theater for the school, and so they are now 50 percent partners with the Tack Center, and it will be a school position,” she adds. “They will be a Spencer Schools employee. They will have all the benefits of a regular teacher. They will have a retirement program. They will have health insurance at whatever degree they wish.”
Veale says the ideal candidate will be passionate about the Arts, friendly, flexible, organized, a clear communicator who is able to delegate, experienced in theatre tech (sound/lights) and stagecraft and self-motivated.
“It’s a big job, but it’s also super fulfilling,” says Diane. “You get to see kids coming and going out of that theater after they’ve seen something on stage that just has opened their eyes. You’re doing something very worthwhile, and if you’re into that sort of thing, you can do it,” she adds.
Now, Randy and Diane Veale turn their attention to their final curtain call later this month.
“We have to be thinking that way,” says Randy. “We’re hopeful that that’s the case, but we’ll be available as needed.”
“And we haven’t ruled out volunteering in the future,” adds Diane.
The Veales’ final show, The Great DuBois, takes the stage on Sunday, April 30 at 3 p.m.
Viktoria Grimmy and Michael DuBois – a married duo of circus artists – design their own costumes and sets, rig their own equipment, pitch their own tent (for non-stage shows) and handle the large majority of other production elements required for their two-person act. According to DuBois, people can expect a performance that will feature just as much variety as a circus with more performers, but with one additional element that’s hard to portray in marketing materials: humor.
“It’s really unique to find a show that’s fun for every age,” maintains DuBois. “Our show is actually super funny, and audiences readily engage with us.”
During the 75-minute event, the crowd will see these two multi-talented artists perform juggling, hula hoops, unicycle, aerial, stunts, contortion, magic and many other acts.
Although DuBois didn’t get into the circus arts until college, he’s learned a great deal from his wife and other circus performers he’s worked with in the past 15 years. Grimmy has a particularly large bag of tricks because she’s a fifth-generation Russian circus artist who performed in the traveling Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus with her family throughout the 1990s. Grimmy’s background has largely influenced the setup of the show, which is 100 percent controlled and designed by the two of them.
“It’s a very different skill set – Russian and American circus – and we want full control,” DuBois explains. “Even during the show, I run everything from a tiny remote in my pocket. If I want to change something or react to the audience I can do that, versus having a local audio guy who doesn’t know our vibe.”
DuBois and Grimmy have appeared in countless shows world-wide. They’re also seen in Hugh Jackman’s movie, The Greatest Showman, the Tony Award-winning Pippin’ on Broadway and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Kids of all ages are invited to join the performers for a free hula-hoop workshop following the show.
The Great DuBois is sponsored in part by the generosity of Rembs Funeral Homes – Greg and Tami Jackan and Families and the Wisconsin Arts Board. For tickets and more information, visit lucilletackcenter.com or call 715-659-4499.