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Keyano Theatre Heads to 40th Anniversary – A Reflection from the Director

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It’s his ever-present slight smile and soft-spokeness, the gentle demeanour, and a radiating kindness – to know Alan Roberts is to know someone amazing. The director for Keyano Theatre – Alan took some time for a Q&A with YMM Magazine as he reflects on the 40th Anniversary of Keyano Theatre happening next fall.

KMK: How long have you been with Keyano?

AR: “I have been at Keyano for 31 years - started out on contract as a stage manager mid-July of 1988 for Baby then started as a Theatre Technician mid-August.”


KMK: What are some of your favourite memories?

AR: “Oh boy… there are so many, and some I have forgot! On the production side it has been incredible to be involved in some of the new works Keyano Theatre commissioned or originated such as Remoka Rink in 1992, The Jazzcracker in 1998 and of course Hometown…The Musical in 2013. Otherwise, I just have to say that it’s all the people that have come through our doors, many of them are still lifelong friends even though some have moved to other parts of the country.”


KMK: Tough question - but if you had to pick a top favourite play, which one would it be, and why?

AR: “I have to say I can’t stick with one favourite… but I will say that Cabaret is on that list, both times we presented it, the audience left completely caught off-guard and some still talk about it. A personal favourite was the amazing chemistry created by the cast, crew and artistic team of Chicago, a play I have always loved and the end result surprised many people that it was not a ‘professional’ show. This is a testament to the talent we have in our region. Then of course I would be remiss if I did not mention our highly acclaimed major works such as Jesus Christ Superstar and Les Miserables. All with an incredible cast of volunteer actors from our community.”


KMK: What are some of the major highlights of Keyano Theatre's almost 40 years?

AR: “KTC – Keyano Theatre Company is a community theatre that continues to make positive impressions and impacts on everyone that either volunteers to perform onstage or comes to the shows. We have had many famous international performers on the Keyano stage such as Liona Boyd, Rich Little, William Shatner, Dionne Warwick, and great Canadian talent like George Canyon, Brett Kissell and Rick Mercer.”


KMK: Tell us about the 40th season - what makes it special?

AR: “Our 40th season is celebrating over 180 live theatrical productions and hundreds of concerts on the Keyano Stage. The Drama Series this year is paying small tributes to our past. Lend Me a Tenor was first produced 25 years ago, and we were thrilled to have the same Director, Darold Roles, come back to direct it again. Bringing Darold back also had special significance as he was one of Keyano Theatre’s previous Artistic Directors and very instrumental in creating our community engagement. Our musical this year, Flashdance The Musical is being directed by former Westwood Community High School Drama Teacher, Karen Towsley, who has also directed and acted in several main stage Keyano productions. We are also thrilled to have local choreographer Kim Hurley join us once again. Closing our season, the beautiful drama, The Great Gatsby, is being directed by former resident and recent MFA (directing) graduate Michelle Thorne. She basically grew up here and has directed on the mainstage and for our Drama Force Summer Intensive program.”


KMK: Anything exciting planned for the future, you can share with our readers?

AR: “I can’t say much at this time, initial planning is in the works… but I will say that we are heading towards the 40th Anniversary of Keyano Theatre (September 2020) and the 30th Anniversary of the Arts Centre so it will be a great time to do something extra special to celebrate with our community. Stand by for updates!”


He’s a kindly tease, too! So here’s your glimpse. Stay tuned for more.

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Kiran is a national award-winning communications specialist, freelance journalist, and social media consultant. She loves telling community stories, and is a strong advocate for inclusion, diversity, women’s rights, and multiculturalism. Got story ideas? Contact her via Twitter: @KiranMK0822.