A Quick Chat With Jan van de Stool

This year Hats Off! has found a new ambassador and it’s international music therapist Jan van de Stool. (If you’re not familiar with her work, you might know beloved actress Queenie van de Zandt?) We asked Jan all about being a professional host, hot theatre gossip, and what we can expect from Hats Off! this year.

Introduce yourself to our readers – tell us who you are, and what you do.

I am an International Musical Therapist, originally from Holland, but now from Woy Woy where I live with Pieter, my husband and cousin.  I run self-help courses at the local Manudji Scout Hall with Helen, who is in charge of the tea and coffee and is also my pianist.  I am quite famous online and with homos. 

Jan van de Stool will host Hats Off! in 2015.
Jan van de Stool will host Hats Off! in 2015.

What else should we know about you?

Nothing – the rest is none of your business.

What’s was your New Year’s resolution for 2015?

I don’t make them.

What exactly is “Hats Off! to the Hits”?

It’s a charity concert where this year all the performers will be singing Classic Pop songs that have been made into musicals – so for those people who have no imagination and like to only hear songs they already know when they go to the theatre – this is the show for them.

Where do you think the name “Hats Off!” comes from?

I think it was probably from a bunch of homo dancers playing strip poker – and that was the final piece of clothing for the loser. But that’s only a guess.

Are you a qualified host?

Yes – I was the Ambassador for the charity concert – Light the Night and hosted their shows many times – but then they stopped doing concerts last year and suddenly I was Ambassador of nothing – so the timing of Hats Off asking me to be Ambassador for 2015 couldn’t have been better.

What unique attributes do you bring to the hosting game?

Kindness, intelligence, warmth, but mainly kindness.

How do you feel about your co-host, Garry Scale?

I like him.  I have known Garry Kenneth Samantha Scale for many years since he did my course – Singing With Your Pets.

Who would be your ideal co-host, if you could have anyone in the world at your side?

Well that would just be rude to Garry to say that I dream of hosting with Ricky Gervais, Tina Fey, or my favourite – Kamal.  So – Garry – Garry is my ideal co-host.

Which performer are you most looking forward to seeing on the night?

I don’t know most of them as I don’t go to the musical theatre or cabaret. Like most Australians I only know the people who are on The Voice, Australia’s Got Talent and X-Factor.

Jan van de Stool
Jan van de Stool

Will you perform for us this year?

Come to the show and see.

Any theatre industry gossip you can share?

Yes, Pieter attends many show events with his theatre ladies (a lovely bunch of women, with big hands, who all love the theatre and love wearing lots of make-up and big shoes). I heard from them that the show Les Miserables is coming to Sydney soon – so you can tell people you heard it first here!

Any regular gossip you can share?

There is a new bus stop going up in the North side of Woy Woy which is good for the pensioners, who go to Bingo and Aldi on Thursdays.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

When I used to wish for things my Mum would say: “Wish in one hand and shit in the other and see which one fills up first”.  It taught me an important lesson – you can have your dreams but you have to be realistic.

What advice would you give an aspiring concert host?

Don’t do it.  That way there will be more concerts for me to host – you need to be ruthless in this business.

What’s your best party trick?

My outer labia are quite long and I can tie them in a bow.  But I only do this trick with very close acquaintances obviously.

What’s your favourite song to play when you’re getting a party started?

Anything by the Wiggles really or Kamal – obviously.

Tell us what you think of this year’s Hats Off! director, Edward Grey.

One of the most extraordinary talents in Australia (I don’t actually know him, but you have to say things like that for the publicity).

The concert is for a good cause, Oz Showbiz Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. What is your favourite cause?

I don’t mind what the cause is as long as I can be of service by being the host and get more likes on my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/JanvandeStool

Why should we come and see Hats Off!?

I don’t know – I’m not you.  But if I was I would come and see it because it is always excellent entertainment, you will know all the songs, and you will be inspired by me and by Garry too a little bit.  And if you are a homo – you could meet someone there – because the show is part of the Mardi Gras – the festival for the Lesbians and Homos – who are my favourite people – they remind me of home.

Catch Jan at Hats Off! on 23rd February. For bookings and more information, click here.

Cassie Tongue

Cassie is a theatre critic and arts writer in Sydney, and is the deputy editor of AussieTheatre. She has written for The Guardian, Time Out Sydney, Daily Review, and BroadwayWorld Australia. She is a voter for the Sydney Theatre Awards.

Cassie Tongue

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