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A long run: Theater managers plan retirement after more than 30 years at QMT

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By Erin Hill

After more than three decades at the Quincy Music Theatre, Bill and Jane Mock are retiring.  The two met at the theatre 33 years ago.
“We were buddies for a while before we ever went out,” Jane said.
Bill said back then they were both volunteers.  
“I was building sets, and she was the artistic painter,” Bill said.  “We also starred in several shows
together.”
The 71-year-old said he began working at the theatre in 1985 when his oldest son wanted to be in a play called “Oliver.”  At the time, Bill worked for Talquin Electric.
“I’ve always leaned toward the technical side of theatre,” Bill said.
He said he bought a lighting book for 75 cents at a yard sale and did lighting at the theatre for 12 years.  He said he was president of the QMT oard twice before the board asked him to take over.
Bill said the summer is his favorite part of the year because that’s when the kids come for theater camp.  He said he loves working with kids.  
There are 53 creative campers enrolled this year, and Bill said he likes being able to provide a platform for them.
“How many towns this size have a full music theater and world-class arts center?” Bill said.
Some of the children who came through the camp in years past have gone on to pursue careers in theater.  
Bill said five are working for Disney, and one is in New York.  He said his granddaughter, who was on stage at theatre as a baby, is now an event technician at Epcot.   
“She’s like me, going for a degree in lighting design,” Bill said.
Caleb Howell said he met the Mocks when he started attending the summer camp 10 years ago.  He said Bill was a true mentor to him while he was growing up, and they eventually became more like grandparents to him.  Now at the age of 22, he works at Epcot as a cast technician.  He said his small team of six makes craft items for the cruise ship shows.  He said theater is tough career field to get into, and less than 1 percent of the people in theater make a living at it.
Bill said he’s used to the long hours working at the theater, because whenever he had a job, he always  workedat least 50 hours a week.
The Mocks’ final day as employees of QMT is June 30.  Then they’ll be hitting the road for three months.
They both said their 2-year-old dog,  Rosie, may be more excited about living in the motor home than they are.
Jane said their first stop is Pensacola.  Then it’s on to New Orleans and Tiburon, Calif., where Bill’s sister lives.
Bill said after they visit his sister, they’ll camp at Circus Circus in Las Vegas, and then they’ll head to Yosemite and Mount Rushmore.
Jane said many times they have wanted to go somewhere but couldn’t because the shows were back to back.
She also said she doesn’t expect she’s going to miss working at the theater, because she will probably continue to paint for them, just not as an employee.  She also said she’s looking forward to having time to paint for herself.  
The 70-year-old said she has a lot of fond memories from her time at the theater, and she’s really proud of how it has grown over the past
33 years.
Bill said he knows the theater will be in good hands after they leave.  
Assistant Manager Nick Henn will be taking Bill’s spot.  Bill said Henn has about 21 years of experience in theatre.