Staff and Board
Lynda DeCan – Publicity
Nancy Jacobs – Book keeper
Annessa Hoffmann – Custodian
Bill Hoffmann Jr. – Custodian / Grounds
Board of Directors
I am an attorney of 24 years. I bring legal knowledge and experience to HCT, especially in the area of Not-for-profit Corporate Law. I also have significant experience in nonprofit management. My theatrical background goes back 42 years.
Sue Ann Culp
Director of Development
Sue Ann Culp has 25 years experience in non profit development and fundraising. She serves as the Director of Development for Holland Civic Theatre, designing and implementing initiatives that raise awareness and support for the theatre’s mission. These include the annual appeal, sponsorships, donor relationships and other efforts to support the theatre’s productions and ongoing operations.
Theatrically, Russ has been involved in numerous professional and community theatre productions as actor, director, and designer in West Michigan for the past 40 years. He holds a BA degree in Theatre with honors from the University of Waterloo, Canada; and MA degrees from Aquinas College and Catholic University. He has directed, designed and performed in more than 20 productions at HCT since joining in 2006.
Russ has served previously on the Central Park Players Board of Trustees (Grand Haven), Executive Board for the Campaign for Human Development (Grand Rapids), and USS Silversides Submarine Museum Board (Muskegon). Russ lives on the north side of Holland with his talented wife Cheryl.
Jim works as a computer programmer to fund his theatre habit. Being involved in theatre since the sixth grade has made him the person he is! (so you can blame theatre!). There is something special about theatre. It creates an environment where a large group of complete strangers can sit in a darkened room and experience a story being told by real live people in front of them. That energy is completely different than watching a movie. You are watching “life” happen right in front of you.
Theatre has a way of making us face different parts of ourselves… realize that we have certain tendencies that might not be all that nice. Theatre gives all of us an opportunity to see things from a different perspective.
Jim likes challenging shows, which is why he has directed Death of a Salesman and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. His sense of humor is why he also has directed the spoof, Dracula, the musical? and January Thaw.
Jim’s background in organizational psychology has been beneficial in his time as President of the Board at Holland Civic Theatre. He has greatly enjoyed his time on the Board, and is looking forward to a great year!
Jodi is responsible for capturing the dialogue and preserve the motions and discussions of the Annual Membership Meeting and the meetings of the Board of Directors. In addition, she ensures that the Board of Directors and the membership have an accurate description of results of each meeting.
Jodi’s involvement with Holland Civic Theatre began in 1984, when she earned a role in the show “Annie”. Since that time, she has appeared in countless shows and has served as the President, Treasurer, Show Liaison, and Recording Secretary on the Board of Directors.
Jason was molded by this asylum and looks to give back everything HCT has given to him. When he’s not acting he enjoys sampling local beers and making desserts.
Deborah Ozga Ruth
Debbie has been involved at Holland Civic Theatre for more than 15 years. “Believe it or not, I am actually quite shy, but I am also very, very creative. I love people, the arts, and always make every effort to keep things positive. I am also super family oriented.” In fact, after being involved with several community and dinner theatres in East Michigan, it was because of her family that Debbie first became involved at HCT as a Theatre Mom when her daughter Jessica was cast as Gretel in the Children’s show Hansel & Gretel. As her other children Danny and Annessa also became involved in the theatre, Debbie hopped back in as well. “It was so much fun, and I loved meeting other families and like-minded parents.”
Having taught drama & art as well as writing scripts and directing professionally, one of Debbie’s favorite memories at HCT was being the Assistant Director and Co-Producer for Godspell — the very first Student Production. “The talent was absolutely amazing and it was so much fun to work with the students all summer!”
One of Debbie’s bittersweet memories was when her 3 kids grew up and she was not able to be Theatre Mom anymore. The Children’s Shows and Student Productions were now just memories, but along the way, she had made so many lifelong friends, and considered HCT as her theatre home! “It’s like walking into … what’s that place where everyone knows your name?” So after taking a short break following her divorce, Debbie returned full gusto to HCT. Many years later, Debbie is remarried to Chuck Ruth, and has eight new stepchildren – two of which are young enough to bring out to the shows and get involved in the tech side of theatre … and do the fun “Mom Stuff” with again.
Keeping the life and theatre balance as best as possible, when each new season is announced, Debbie carefully looks at it from two perspectives: As an Actor and as a behind the scenes Theatre Geek. She asks herself if there is a show she is interested in auditioning for, and more importantly, in what areas are there shows I can help behind the scenes? “I don’t even look at another theatre until I have considered my commitment to HCT first. I do try to be involved somewhere in 3 shows a year … at least, that’s my goal. I know that if I am a little busy in my personal life, I can always take on a smaller volunteer experience. I know how important it is to keep live theatre arts going on, and I want to see it continue here at our humble little theatre home at HCT.” Knowing the show must go on, Debbie feels there is nothing in the world that is more satisfying than seeing the piece of art many volunteers have placed their hands on go up on opening night. Image may contain: Deborah Lynn Ruth, eyeglasses and closeup.
Over the years, she earned the nickname Dark Debbie, even though she loved directing comedies and musicals, everyone knew her real passion was for the dark, suspenseful thrillers she loved to read and direct. “The reality is, I’m really a big baby; if you saw me watching a scary or suspenseful movie at home, you would probably find me hiding behind my hands or watching through the holes in an afghan. But, on the flipside, when I was directing 2017’s Deathtrap, I would grab my Assistant Director Katie Fynewever’s hands and we would both start giggling like school girls when something intense would happen during the rehearsal process, watching the actors learn to die or beat each other during the fight sequences. It was actually quite funny at the time. What can I say? We’re sick puppies. LOL.”
When not working behind the scenes, Debbie is working … behind the scenes. Currently, as a second year Executive Board Member, Debbie will continue as the Communications Secretary, and will also continue with the challenge of getting folks more active in our theatre – Onstage, Offstage, and Socially. “I am very focused on the HCT’s Volunteer and Membership engagement. While it is good to see the same people sticking around and helping, there is nothing I would love more than to see lots of new faces join in, lighten the load, and add a little spice to the variety. The more the merrier, as they say!” Debbie also loves when those who are normally just onstage as actors volunteer behind the scenes. Why? “Because more often than not, they learn the experience is a great one and want to come back for more!” One of our newer volunteers always asks Debbie if she can bring a friend while she is volunteering to help with props, painting, make-up, or whatever. Debbie always laughs at this and tells her to bring all the friends she wants – and keep bringing them! “HCT isn’t a scary place that only wants professionals. We want people who have a passion or interest in what we are doing. People who want to learn and grow. Trust me, there are so many here who would be so delighted to share their knowledge with you.”
‘“There are so many ways to be involved at HCT. “I wish I could take everyone out for a cup of coffee and ask them, so, what is it you like to do?” and then show them where they can plug in to get involved. “Seriously, it takes a community to put on a show and to run a Community Theatre. But, many hands make light work — and they make that work fun!”
Jon brings his passions for family and not-for-profit leadership as a first-year Board member. As a parent of a “theater kid,” Jon wants to see HCT grow and increase opportunities for children & youth to get involved with theater. He has previously worked and volunteered for several other organizations and prefers to work behind the scenes rather than on stage. Jon loves baseball, sound budgets, and collaborating with other organizations.