5 Questions with… Alan Roberts
ALAN ROBERTS IS MR. THEATRE IN FORT MCMURRAY. After over a quarter of a century at Keyano College, there isn’t a show that he hasn’t had a hand in somewhere or somehow. The Director of Theatre and the Arts Centre came up from Edmonton in 1988, and once the requisite two years fell by the wayside, he decided to stay.
Were you one of those children who always played the lead in the school plays?
For a while I suppose. I loved acting but then when I went to High School I was very lucky. Bonnie Doon Comp had a flytower, and as a result of that I started to take more of an interest in the production side of the theatre as well.
A flytower? You need to explain that one.
It’s the theatrical rigging system used, among other things, to ‘fly’ things up and down on stage. Scenery mostly but sometimes people as well. Not many schools have them.
So that took you to studying theatre production at MacEwan University. Did that lead to Fort McMurray?
Eventually. I spent some fun time working in a toy store. That helped to support my theatre addiction as I worked every show I could get into for all the years I was studying. Then I helped to manage the lighting and sounds at some of Edmonton and Calgary’s hottest nightclubs. Great fun, but the hours were tough. The job up here with Keyano brought me back to my first love.
What was YMM like back then?
It was the perfect learning situation. Rents were still cheap, which was good as the job only guaranteed 17 hours’ work a week. However, the chance to learn more than made up for the financial strains of the early years. I’ve worked just about every position backstage, from lighting all the way to production manager. It’s been the best job in the world.
So the two year plan fell by the wayside long ago, and now you have a dog. I’d say you’re settled here in YMM. Tell me about Roxie.
Owning a dog really is the final acknowledgement that you’re home isn’t it? Roxie is named after Roxie Hart from the musical Chicago. Like her namesake she really can get away with murder.
So Alan Roberts has an encyclopedic knowledge of the theatre, which makes him a treat to talk to, and he loves his dog. What more could you want in a YMM resident?
IF YOU WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT WHAT ALAN AND HIS TEAM HAVE ON THE GO THIS SEASON, LOOK UP KEYANO THEATRE. IT’S ALL THERE.