Lyric Lifetime Member Passes

January 2006: Stan Wollaston 1915-2006

The Burlington area lost one of its most colorful and dedicated community theater workers with the passing of Stan Wollaston on January 16th. A "techie" through and through, Stan worked tirelessly out of the lights for at least seventy of his ninety years. Stan was born and raised in New Jersey and, as a child, was taken by his mother almost weekly to Broadway shows, instilling in him a love of theater that he carried with him the rest of his life.

During WWII, Stan served as Stage Manager of the Stage Door Canteen in New York City-a USO operation that provided nightly entertainment to GI's, sailors and airmen. Big name artists and bands would perform at the Canteen late at night after closing their evening gigs in New York City night clubs and theaters.. Stan loved to tell stories of working with the likes of Gypsy Rose Lee, Harry James and Benny Goodman.

He moved to Burlington in 1945 and immediately became involved in the Burlington Theatre Club, a small group of play-reading devotees The Theatre Club evolved eventually into the Burlington Community Theatre which performed comedies and dramas in the old Taft School auditorium. Stan was Stage Manager for virtually all of their productions, in addition to designing and building most of their sets! In a pinch, he'd fill a role on-stage, but he much preferred watching from the wings.

In 1968, the Burlington Community Theatre fell victim to television and the other forms of readily available entertainment, so it was only natural that when Lyric Theatre began to blossom, Stan Wollaston was there ready to work. 

He built sets, served on the Board of Directors as VP of Operations and VP of Productions, as well as chair of the Membership Committee. Running the pin rail at the Flynn was, by far, his favorite task and woe to any actor that even hinted at getting in his way of his crew! For five of Lyric's shows, Stan served as the Production Supervisor (Producer). He was tireless in his dedication to the organization and always willing to offer a helpful word to the newcomer. Stan loved to verbally spar with actors and directors, in part to keep them in mind of the fact that there can be no show without lights, sets, props, costumes and makeup.

Stan was pre-deceased by his talented and lovely wife, Ann Middlebrook. Anne was an outstanding actress and director in the history of Burlington Theatre Club and Burlington Community Theatre. Professionally, she was head of the drama department of Trinity College.

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