June 28, 2019

Tintera reflects on 23 years of thespian volunteering

Marcy Tintera
Lindsey Amen | University Communication

Lindsey Amen | University Communication
Marcy Tintera stands outside the Lied Center, where she has volunteered at the International Thespian Festival for 23 years.

This week, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln celebrated its 25th and final year hosting the International Thespian Festival.

For Marcy Tintera, Nebraska law review assistant and Continuing Legal Education coordinator at the College of Law, the goodbye will be bittersweet.

Tintera has served as a Lied Center volunteer usher during the festival for 23 years. Throughout her long tenure, she said, she’s been inspired to help by the unique energy the high school students bring to campus each year.

“Their enthusiasm is wonderful. We’re really going to miss them, we really are. I think everybody has said that,” Tintera said. “It’s been a joy to work with them.”

On June 24, the first night of the festival, Tintera and a host of other ushers were welcomed to the Lied center stage to be honored by the Educational Theatre Association as Volunteers of the Year.

For a group that works behind the scenes and stays out of the spotlight, the award was a meaningful surprise.

“We had no idea, so it was a shock,” Tintera said. “But it was a nice shock. It was a beautiful award. The standing ovation they gave us seemed to just go on forever. I’m just an introvert, so it was very overwhelming for me.”

Bill Stephan, Executive Director of the Lied Center, reiterated the volunteers’ importance to the Lied. Over the past 10 years, 443 individuals have volunteered to usher the sold-out houses of theater students.

“The area residents who volunteer as ushers are integral to the community connection that is part of the Lied’s mission,” said Stephan. “Their work for the International Thespian Festival is above-and-beyond what they give to the community all year and we are delighted to join in this salute to their service.”

Marcy Tintera
Lindsey Amen | University Communication

Tintera’s service to the Lied extends back even before she started working with the thespians. She participated in her first training session in December 1990 after some friends at the university suggested they volunteer together.

“The first couple of times I went there, I thought to myself, ‘I’m never going to find my way around here,’” Tintera said.

“I like being able to help people not feel that way.”

Since February 1991, Tintera has worked over 800 performances. Ushering, she said, has been an excellent way for her to enjoy the arts while also giving back to the community.

Dressed in her usual uniform of black slacks, a white shirt and a helpful smile, Tintera helps visitors feel more welcome by handing out programs and giving directions around the building. She said that making people feel more comfortable is an important part of the job — and one of the reasons why she’s found the work so fulfilling.

“You can tell the people that haven’t been there before are a little anxious about finding their correct seat, and that’s always nice – to be able to take them right there and tell them to enjoy the performance,” Tintera said.

2019 is a year of milestones for Tintera. Along with watching the festival depart Lincoln, she will retire from the university on Aug. 1 after 42 years of service on East Campus.

She has held positions in the offices of 4-H, Agricultural Economics, Fisheries and Wildlife, the School of Natural Resources and – since 2002 – the College of Law.

With her free time in retirement, Tintera plans to continue volunteering at the Lied.