Treehouse Theater (THT) offers year-round theater education classes, specialty workshops, and performance opportunities EXCLUSIVELY for youth, ages of 4-18. THT seeks to inspire youth to explore their individuality, creativity, and self-confidence while developing responsibility and a strong work ethic.
Formed in 2012, THT is a 501c3 federal nonprofit organization ~ EIN #45-5119877 ~ operating by the grace of multi-talented Board members, one full-time Staff member, and countless volunteers. Donations are tax deductible to the full extent of the law.
To enrich the lives of children and their families by providing quality theater education and performance opportunities
educational arts PROGRAMMING
Local Musical Productions Acting Academy classes
Music Theater Dance & Workout classes Group rehearsals and trip to national Junior Theater Festival
Workshops with Special Guests
Grant applications, Facebook fundraisers, and home mailings
MURDER MYSTERY DINNER adult fundraisers
NIGHT IN THE TREEHOUSE annual signature fundraiser
Family dinner nights at area restaurants
NEW REHEARSAL STUDIO RENOVATION
We purchased the building located at 910 Washington St. in downtown Manitowoc in July of 2019. Our volunteer base is leading the construction immediately began demolition, disposal, and revitalization efforts and would greatly appreciate YOUR help. If interested in volunteering (adult and responsible youth welcome), please contact Karen Rohrer or watch our Facebook page.
All About Us
Strengthened by community partnership, Treehouse Theater (THT) has been proactively supporting youth education and development through quality performing arts programming since 2012. THT offers year-round theater education classes, specialty workshops, and performance opportunities exclusively for youth between the ages of 4-18. This sole focus on youth development makes THT a unique non-profit community arts organization within Northeast Wisconsin. Once limited to Manitowoc and Two Rivers, families now come from Valders, Sheboygan, Howards Grove, Brillion, Denmark, Green Bay, and beyond to participate in programming and join in the audiences.
In just eight years, THT has produced 23 high-quality local musical productions, won awards at seven of the past eight Junior Theater Festival national competitions, designed and built their first rehearsal studio on Franklin St, launched Acting Academy classes, hosted several specialty arts workshops, and worked numerous fundraising events to sustain their mission. THT seeks to inspire youth to explore creativity and develop a strong work ethic while becoming more responsible and confident. THT instruction with the guiding principles of respect, trust, leading by example, healthy communication, and teamwork produces students that can then strengthen the casts of arts organizations and their own public or private school theater programs. THT is blessed with continual support from many local arts partners. Regular collaboration with experienced members of The Masquers has resulted in THT musical performances that far surpass audience expectations.
Year-round operations are guided by the Board of Directors. Karen Rohrer, integral founder of the organization, serves as Executive Director and is the one full-time staff member. Believing that youth will thrive from the opportunity to work with a variety of arts enthusiasts, THT secures a fresh directing team for each musical. Interested students can choose to audition for the opportunity to appear onstage as cast members, apply as Jr. production team members, or volunteer to assist as members of the stage or technical crews. Each cast is a blend of new and returning student actors, all of whom are encouraged to explore their artistic individuality, be creative and responsible, improve their listening skills, and gain self-confidence while making new friends. Each cast and crew works together to develop a high-quality music theater production for sharing with the local community and/or showcasing at the Junior Theater Festival in Atlanta each January.
To further the mission of building confident leaders, Mrs. Rohrer partnered with volunteer Education Director, Deanne Stokes, to create and supervise the THT student leadership development program. When accepted as Jr. production team members, students between ages 14-18 can observe the organizational process and grow to appreciate the many challenges encountered during each production. Under the guidance of an adult mentor, some of these students have later stepped forward to lead one aspect of a THT summer musical. The 2019 production of Pirates Past Noon KIDS was proudly led by seven students in the positions of Director, Music Director, Choreographer, two Stage Managers, Set Designer/Decorator, and Hair Designer.
Each educational class and musical production serve to strengthen the extended community by attracting students from multiple public and private schools as well as from home school settings. Each musical showcases 60+ student actors with fabulous set, lighting, sound, make- up, hair, and costume designs. The December 2019 production of Disney’s FROZEN Jr featured 62 student actors who attend 27 different schools or are home schooled. Performances are held on the UWGB-Manitowoc Campus Theatre stage and audiences routinely fill nearly every available seat. THT takes great pride in exceeding the commonly low expectations for youth theater and audiences are repeatedly impressed by the high-quality sets, costumes, lighting, sound, and talent level of the student performers.
THT identified a highly visible, structurally-solid building and adjacent parking lot in downtown Manitowoc, in dire need of revitalization. The building, located at 910 Washington St, is 11,000 sq. ft. on two floors, plus a full, dry basement. The West Foundation awarded THT with a grant to fully fund the building's purchase on July 8, 2019, and to launch renovations. The expansive THT volunteer base - including staff, board members, community arts enthusiasts, youth and families – has completed demolition and disposal, full framing of both floors, painting, staining, finishing, and basic construction efforts. The Executive Director designed a floor plan that focused on expanding future income streams, including a rentable 40’ x 50’ Community Room and 22’ x 25’ Kitchen, one-on-one vocal and instrumental instruction rooms, and 1,200 sq ft Costume Room that will provide improved efficiency in storing all of our fabulous costume sets that are available for rent via www.TreehouseTheaterCostumes.com. This market is exploding as countless schools and community theater programs across the country face decreased funding and lack of staff needed for creating quality costumes for their youth musicals.
As detailed within the capital campaign brochure, THT is thrilled to have purchased our new permanent rehearsal home. The full project totals $675,000, including the building’s purchase price and $125,000 in estimated value of volunteer labor. As of November, 2020, 167 volunteers of all ages have donated over 4,600 hours on this community project. Subcontractors are nearing completion of all new HVAC, electrical, and plumbing, working alongside skilled THT volunteers. This collaborative revitalization project will result in an exciting new permanent youth arts complex for many years of enjoyment by the extended community.
IMPACT OF COVID-19
THT was planning a full 8th Season of programming for this robust nonprofit organization: bringing three local musicals to life on stage; helping with the new studio’s renovation; creating a Holiday Parade float; plus assisting at Murder Mystery Dinners, family meal fundraisers at local restaurants, and the second annual Night in the Treehouse signature fundraiser. Unfortunately, all THT youth arts programming ceased as of March 15, 2020, and the number of volunteers working at the studio has dramatically declined. The small group of dedicated volunteers who continue to work with subcontractors have understandably grown tired.
Remaining ever positive, THT is nearing completion of all requirements needed ahead of requesting inspections for occupancy of the full building. Once achieved, THT plans to hold several small Open Houses, each with a limited number of guests, to see our amazing progress to date. Photos of the studio renovation can be found on our Facebook page.
THT leadership would be greatly appreciative of any sized financial donation, noted to help maintain the Executive Director's stipend or to support the $6,000 deficit in our Capital Campaign. Donations are accepted online or by mailing a check, made payable to Treehouse Theater, to PO Box 1722, Manitowoc, WI 54221.
2020-21 BOARD OF DIRECTORS
President - Martin Schaller
Vice President - Jamie Vergenz
Secretary - Warren Schmidt
Treasurer - John Iannitello
Jeff Brandenburg, Denise Kitzerow, Richard Ladwig, Luan Leonardelli, Eric Nycz, Doug Odell
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR - email
Karen Rohrer - (920) 242-6842
Chair: Margaret Iannitello
Youth: Mazie Frahm, Alethea Quick
Adults: Danielle Frahm, Lisa Heili, Erin Nycz, Deanne Stokes
EXECUTIVE / FINANCE
Chair: Martin Schaller
Board Members: Warren Schmidt, John Iannitello, Jamie Vergenz
Chair: Jeff Brandenburg
Board Members: John Iannitello, Richard Ladwig, Jamie Vergenz
Chair: Madde Gilmore
Board Members: Eric Nycz, Doug Odell
Youth: Noah Van Ells
Adults: Danielle Frahm, Elizabeth Geissler, Ginger Van Ells
Chair: Luan Leonardelli
Additional Board Member: Warren Schmidt
Youth: Kiersten Moser, Ethan Stokes
Adults: Betsie Auchter, Jean Fuhs, Erin LaFond, Katie Lawrenz, Shannon Meulbroek, Deanne Stokes