Tree House Youth Theatre presents Robert Munsch (a variety pack)

The talented young actors with Tree House Youth Theatre are prepping to present Robert Munsch (a variety pack).

Shows run Dec. 3rd-5th with curtain at 7:30 p.m. at the Scott Block Theatre.

A matinee will also be held Dec. 5th at 2 p.m.

This collection of Munsch’s plays have been adapted by Irene N.Watts. Munsch’s work is always heart-warming and is great for sweeping audiences down memory lane.

Munsch provides perfect works for younger and older students and will give a show to delight all audiences. With soft and sweet moments, humour, and playfulness the production bring us back to imaginations and family relationships.

Directing the production is Matt Gould, who actually resigned earlier this year as artistic director, but has come back onboard to help not only guide this season’s productions but also to help ensure the transition to the next leader goes smoothly.

He has also been joined by Nicole Leal, who has been hired on as an associate artistic director for the troupe. And although, as said, it’s his intention to leave Tree House Youth Theatre by the end of the season, he is happy to be back with the organization after a refreshing summer break exploring other forms of creativity.

As for the show, it offers audiences of all ages a delightful, theatrical presentation of several of Munsch’s most well-known tales. “A lot of people read Robert Munsch books to their kids, so really it’s a trip down memory lane for older kids and for parents, too.”

The sheer variety will also add a fun and engaging touch to the production as well, with the young people playing a number of differing kinds of roles. “We’re pretending that it’s a tickle trunk kind of thing, so we’ve got boys playing girls, and girls playing boys, and both playing kids that are older. There’s one actor playing a mother two times. Some girls are playing fathers. It’s like we are all in a rumpus room, it’s a rainy day and someone says, ‘Let’s play!’

“I think it’s kind of fun that way.” In total, nine stories will be acted out with transitions slipped in between each. All kinds of props will be utilized – including a puppet show.

Gould’s direction is of course precise and generous. “Every detail counts – how you are, how you are present and how you sell it,” he said.

According to Wikipedia, Munsch was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Fordham University in 1969 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and from Boston University in 1971 with a Master of Arts degree in anthropology.

He studied to become a Jesuit priest, but decided he would rather work with children after having jobs at orphanages and daycare centers. In 1973, he received a Master of Education in Child Studies from Tufts University.

In 1975, he moved to Canada to work at the preschool at the University of Guelph in Guelph, Ontario. In Guelph, he was encouraged to publish the many stories he made up for the children he worked with.

One of Munsch’s best-known books, Love You Forever, was listed fourth on the 2001 Publishers Weekly All-Time Best selling Children’s Books list for paperbacks at 6,970,000 copies (not including the 1,049,000 hardcover copies).

Meanwhile, Tree House Youth Theatre was created in 1988 and was the brainchild of Richard O’Brien who was head of the Theatre Arts Program at Red Deer College (RDC).

Over Gould’s years as artistic director he produced, directed (and in some cases wrote) over one dozen productions including Fiddler on the Roof Jr. (2007), Ho, Ho, Oh (2007), The Wind in the Willows (2009), Last Known Position (2011), Sleeping Beauty (2012), Red Deer River Stories (2013) – Red Deer’s official play of the centennial – and Sweeney Todd (2014) to mention a few.

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