Committee of friends of the Keller Theatre e.V.
Maria Valentina (called Mimi) Kiefer (Chair)
Theatre has played a major part throughout my life. Being an enthusiastic audience member, a voracious reader and ultimately becoming an actor flung open the doors to perception and brought me closer to wonderful people: Finding the Sun was my first play at the Keller Theatre and it could well be renamed “Finding the Keller Family”. Thanks to Boston Marriage I met my partner and made a wonderful friend; in Pygmalion I got to know my son (who is actually a bit older than me – but who’s counting?!), to mention just a few of the many milestones.
The first play I directed was The Mousetrap. Together with a phenomenal cast and crew, and a brilliant co-director, I brought a wonderful show to the stage.
Since 2017 I have the great pleasure of preserving the Keller tradition and implementing new ideas as chair of the “friends of the Keller Theatre e.V.”.
Alexa Hartmann-Flechtner (Vice-Chair)
My passion for theater was ignited by the flamboyant costumes and colorful makeups presented in glamorous revues and vaudeville shows. As a result, I became a professional hair and makeup artist and gained varied experience in theater work – behind the scenes.
The curtain rose for onstage work when I started studying at Justus Liebig University Giessen. After a strenuous lecture on English Literature, my attention was caught by a Keller Theatre poster on the notice board – an invitation to the auditions for Pack of Lies. My first role onstage as a young police officer was the great consequence I took in 2017.
Since then, I have been hooked on drama – on- and offstage. In addition to acting, my field of activity comprises – surprisingly – hair and makeup, costumes and stage design, and, since 2019, also duties as a committee member.
Gaby Hopfenmüller (Treasurer)
My English teacher took our 10th grade class to see The Play’s the Thing at the Keller Theatre in Jan/Feb of 1988. The idea was to let us experience putting into action what we had learned in theory – even though it was just listening and understanding the English language. At that time, I had no clue that the foundation of a long-lasting passion had been built.
The following year, I went to see every production of “the Keller” and, in 1989, I officially became a volunteer and joined the “Keller family”. I tended the bar, ushered, helped building sets… anything that did not involve me standing in the limelight… until The School for Scandal when nobody could be found to play a maid who had only three lines to speak (literally). So, I caved in to their begging and confronted my fear. Little did I know I would love it. Since then, I have been on stage in many, many productions. I am, however, still involved in offstage tasks as well.
As a founding member of “the friends of the Keller Theatre e.V.”, in 1997, I found it easy to join the committee and help keeping the Keller alive after the US Army had left Giessen in 2007. I took on the position of treasurer which I hold until now.
A lot of people came and went during those years, often due to students being taken to other cities or countries after they completed university here, and long-lasting friendships have been built. I hope we’ll never run out of theater-loving, enthusiastic, creative people who will join our “Keller family” and help keeping it alive. Maybe, you are one of them?
Rosemary Bock (Secretary)
I got to know the Keller Theatre by attending shows back in the eighties and nineties at the Miller Hall. For a native speaker of English, it was the obvious place to go and I loved the vitality and joy of the players. I’ve been actively involved at the Keller Theatre for over twenty years now, initially as an actor and later also as a director. I enjoy helping backstage and front of house, too, with as many shows as possible. (The Keller is addictive; once you start, you don’t want to stop.) I was Vice Chair from 2010 to 2018, took a break for three years and rejoined the committee in March 2021 in my new capacity of Secretary.
Our theatre brings people together from all walks of life, from different countries and of all ages. It’s fascinating and a great place to share a hobby. I once asked an experienced director at a workshop why we want to do theatre. “Anything that makes life better,” was the reply. Yes, the Keller does just that.
Aliye Inceöz (Press Officer)
As a child I always dreamt of becoming an actress one day. Thanks to a good school friend who asked me to come and see a show at the Keller Theatre my dream came true in 1993. My first role was Lady Agatha Mortimer in The Hound of the Baskervilles. From then on I was in almost every show, took on leading roles or was a supporting actress in Nunsense, Harvey, Can Can, Fiddler on the Roof, Charley’s Aunt, Agnes of God, Romance Romance, My Fair Lady, The Fantasticks, God Spell, Gift Exchange and Run for your Wife, just to name a few.
As a volunteer I ushered, helped at the bar or painting sets. In 1996, I also had the chance to work backstage as a light and sound technician for Black Comedy, which I enjoyed very much. I had no idea what it means to put on a show or just a one act play when I directed my very first two-women show, Hello Ma, in 2001.
At present, I am a committee member of the “friends of the Keller Theatre e.V. ” and work as press officer, but honestly, I would love to get on stage again sometime. That acting fever is still there :o)
The Keller Theatre was and still is the best thing that could ever happen to me. I found friends for life, and I learned and keep learning so much about theatre on- and backstage. I am very happy to work together with so many lovely and creative people, and to be part of the “Keller Family”.
Hella Blumentritt (“Beisitzerin”)
My first contact with the Keller Theatre is nearly 15 years ago: I was a visitor at that time.
The tradition had to continue when the US Army left Giessen. So the Verein “friends of the Keller Theatre” was founded. I became a member and secretary as well for about 10 years. Now I am a commitee member, giving a helping hand whenever it is needed. And by the way, I am an expert in organizing props. I love the atmosphere of our theatre and hope the tradition of the “Keller” will continue.
Lothar Silbe (Technical Manager)
In 2004 I met my partner. She had been a member of the Keller crew for many years. So, I gradually got to know the Keller Theatre. Step by step I took on more and more tasks for the theatre. Since 2015, I have been a member of the committee.
My tasks are:
- Set design and construction
- Lighting and sound
- Kleine Buehne facility management
- Assistance with website design
- IT management
Martin P. Koob
Marty was “infected with the theatre-bug” at the early age of six – and no cure has yet been found.
He has been a member of the “Keller family” since 1994, although his first time on the Keller stage was actually in a guest performance from his school, in 1987.
Since 1996, he has also directed quite a few of the Keller Theatre’s productions, and has been responsible for set- and lighting-designs.
In 2007, when the US-base was closed and the “friends of the Keller Theatre e.V.” took over, he took on the position of artistic director. He was also the committee’s chairman for almost ten years, till he handed over this position to Mimi. Now he has more time to take care of other artistic endeavaours in his life.
Being also an accomplished singer, he has toured Europe with an orchestra, gave concerts in several countries, worked for the BBC Northern Ireland and been on Swedish television. He was a board member of an annual international theatre festival in Dublin for three years, for which he still continues to work each year.
Just recently, he portrayed the “Schlammbeiser” in a production of Wer wenn nicht wir – Die Schwätzer in Giessen at the Stadttheater Giessen.