Rick Moll

Rick Moll
Production Electrician with Performing Arts Services, College of Arts + Architecture

BCA Theatre, UNC Charlotte (1994)
BA English, UNC Charlotte (1994)

Hometown: Asheboro, NC

As a lifelong comic book fan, Rick Moll was always drawn to a dialogue-driven story. This love surfaced in English class, where studying and reading plays out loud became his favorite school activity. 

“Growing up where I did, the arts were not a high priority to my school district's student experience. At the time, football every Friday and starting a soccer team from scratch were the higher priority. Some would argue the only reason to have a band was for Friday nights in the fall. We had a band director, art teacher, and choral director. The cupboard wasn't bare, but it wasn't well stocked. Theatre and dance were the disciplines that were short changed.”

However, one high school English teacher was allowed to direct one play a year. “It felt more like an outlaw project than anything sanctioned by the principal's office. Anyway, on a whim, I auditioned my senior year and was cast.”

From there his passion for theatre and the arts began to grow,, but he had so little experience in it that he came to UNC Charlotte as an English major and signed up for a theatre class to fill a general education requirement. At the end of the first class, Anna Sartin, the Scenic Professor at the time, mentioned the department was doing a production of "Robin Hood" and encouraged anyone to audition. Rick was cast as Merry Man #5.

“From there, I picked up a theatre minor that became a theatre major. I learned about Molière, Chekov, and Williams. I learned how to thread a sewing machine, analyze a script, collaborate on team projects, speak with confidence, and use a table saw without injuring myself or others. To make a short story long, I walked into Rowe Arts not knowing anything, and when I left three years later, I had everything I needed to take the next steps on my journey.”

While a student, Rick had the most fun on the set of his first show, "Robin Hood." This show was the start of his journey in the theatre department and where he met some of his closest friends, including the actor that played Little John, who would be the best man at his wedding. Rick also participated in more challenging shows that got him out of his comfort zone, such as the docudrama "God's Country," by Steven Dietz. 

“I was cast in a dance concert (first time/ last time) but was also roped into coordinating the logistics of projections for the final piece. During final dress, there was a critical snafu that paused the rehearsal and, in full costume, I had to go crawling around in the catwalks of the Rowe Theater to fix it. Bob Croghan (the costume design professor) was not amused: ‘Good work – next time, change first.’” 

After graduating, Rick's career led him to Illinois (Great American People Show) and Florida (Hippodrome State Theatre), followed by five years at the Children's Theatre of Charlotte (Production Electrician), and 10 years at Blumenthal Arts (Production Manager), before landing here at UNC Charlotte. As the production electrician with the College of Arts + Architecture’s Performing Arts Services, he coordinates the lighting needs for dance, music, and theatre across all the performance spaces. Over his career, Rick has been involved in more than 1000 different productions in one capacity or another.

Outside of the university, Rick stays current in his field by working as a freelance lighting designer and as a stage technician with the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (I.A.T.S.E Local #322), based here in Charlotte. 

“Within the last year I have worked for or at Charlotte Ballet, Theatre Charlotte, Baran Dance, Three Bone Theatre, One Voice Chorus, Charlotte Dance Festival, the Charlotte Hornets, Knight Theater, Belk Theater, Booth Playhouse, Ovens Auditorium, Bojangles Coliseum, Spectrum Center, Skyla Uptown Amphitheater, and PNC Pavillion. Events from the past year include ‘The Prom,’ Charlotte Dance Festival, ‘Clara's Trip,’ Blink 182, John Mayer, Snoop Dogg, Weezer, Li’l Baby and Maluma.”

One of Rick’s favorite parts of his job is interacting with and making connections with students – whether it is finding out that current students are related to former classmates or helping them make connections in the Charlotte community. 

“I've been able to leverage my professional affiliations with local arts groups and with I.A.T.S.E. to create artistic and paying opportunities for current students to help build their professional skills while still in college. It's a great feeling for a student to work a show at the Spectrum Center over the weekend and come in with questions about what they saw on Monday. I was 26 when I worked my first I.A.T.S.E. gig. The current students don't need to wait that long.” 

His advice for current students: “This is all from the perspective of what 52-year-old Rick would tell 22-year-old Rick. They may not apply to everyone but they do apply to me:

  1. Your time at the university should be spent, in equal measure, learning about your craft/ discipline and learning about yourself. Your personal journey is just as critical as your academic one. Balance both without leaning too far into either.

  2.  Give yourself a break. Learn as much as you can while you're here but don't get frustrated if you can't get everything letter perfect, there's time. There's always time.

  3. Ask the question. Don't assume any answer. Make the other person tell you "no".

  4. Don't put your taxes off till April 14th. Have someone explain to you the difference between a W2 and 1099. Today. At this very moment.....”