Red Deer’s Albertus Koett is thrilled to have signed on as the new artistic director for Tree House Youth Theatre. photo submitted

Tree House Youth Theatre welcomes new artistic director

Albertus Koett has signed on to guide the talented local troupe

With loads of experience from his own years in theatre, Red Deer’s Albertus Koett is thrilled to have signed on as the new artistic director for Tree House Youth Theatre.

Born and raised in Red Deer, the extremely talented Koett has been acting, writing, directing, and producing theatre for the last 25 years.

“This year also marks our 30th season, so that’s really exciting,” he said during a recent chat.

As to his own particular vision for the group, Koett said he aims to hold to the initial vision that was set all those years ago. “Tree House was created to be a place where youth in Red Deer and Central Alberta can learn the fundamentals of theatre and make really good productions,” he said. “We really believe that youth theatre can be inspiring, it can be challenging and it can be thought-provoking. It can be quality theatre.”

Another outstanding facet of Tree House Youth Theatre is the ongoing commitment to help prepare participants to go beyond Tree House.

“So those with Tree House can take their skills to the high school programs, to post secondary institutions and (later) onto community and professional theatre.

“They are going to learn the industry standards as far as auditioning, preparing for rehearsals, what to do in rehearsals, theatre terminology and the history behind a lot of the ways that we do things,” he said.

“Theatre is my passion, and I also love working with people in theatre because it’s a shared passion,” he said, adding that he’s really excited to share with the Tree House youth from his own extensive experience.

Looking into the new season, Koett said registrations are open for two programs plus a summer camp as well.

There is a nine to 12-year-old program and a 13- to 17-year-old program.

“The nine to 12-year-olds are primarily going to be working on the fundamentals, such as speech and movement for the stage, improvisation and acting skills. They will be doing this through different workshops as well as working on monologues and small scenes,” he explained. “They will also be doing some stage combat as well.”

Elements of what they will be working on through the year will be presented next March for family and friends to check out.

“The 13 to 17-year-olds, in addition to learning the speech and movement and improv, will also be working on a production. The roles will be auditioned. Everyone will get a part, and it will be a lot of fun as most people will have multiple roles as well,” he said.

Rehearsals for the older set will begin shortly for a March production of Alice in Wonderland.

Koett got the acting bug early, having starred in a production of A Christmas Carol when he was in Grade 4.

The next year he was in a show called The Artful Dodgers. He also collaborated on a couple of CAT shows during those younger years, and after graduating high school, he studied theatre arts at Red Deer College and starred in many memorable roles.

Tree House Youth Theatre has a long and tremendously creative history in Red Deer.

The organization was launched back in 1988 and was the brainchild of Richard O’Brien who was head of the Theatre Arts Program at Red Deer College at the time.

Matt Gould would be at the helm for 10 years and Nicole Leal then came onboard for two seasons.

Meanwhile, Koett can’t wait to get things going with these truly creative and talented youth. 

He’s going to have his hands full no question, what with his ongoing Sherlock Holmes series which he is both adapting and directing.

But he’s more than ready for the exciting challenges that lie ahead. The key is surrounding oneself with great folks with a similar passion.

“To see someone begin with us at age nine, and then grow in confidence and skills and abilities until they are 17. And then, we get to watch them in their careers. That’s what I’m looking forward to.”

For more about registering, check out http://www.treehouseyouththeatre.ca/newweb/registration-tickets/.

For more about Tree House Youth Theatre, email treehousetheatre@gmail.com or visit www.treehouseyouththeatre.ca.

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