Anton deGroot | Top 40 Under 40


Age: 36

Job title: Theatre Designer (set, light, and sound)

Why he's a 2017 Top 40 Under 40:

An award-winning theatre designer who brings worlds to life for local and international audiences, deGroot also creates off stage magic with art installations and podcasts.


photograph by jared sych


Anton deGroot remembers when his grade 10 guidance counsellor asked him what he wanted to do when he grew up, and deGroot jokingly told him he wanted to be the guy that makes things explode in movies. “I was immediately signed up for the theatre class and the introduction to electronics class,” says deGroot. “I think that was my first introduction to the stage and, now that I think about that, it’s huge to where I am now.”

While he has yet to make anything blow up, deGroot’s work has blown away theatregoers and critics alike, netting him dozens of awards for his sound, lighting and set design. 

He has a knack for finding creative solutions to technical and logistical challenges. His award-winning set for Vertigo Theatre’s Travels with my Aunt needed to transform into dozens of locations quickly. His solution? Luggage. “We set the rules of the play at the beginning, so the set was this gigantic pile of suitcases that transformed from a gravestone to a chair or from a table to a car,” says deGroot.

While his work has graced every major theatre in the city, from Stage West to Theatre Calgary, deGroot’s creativity isn’t contained to the stage. In 2012, he co-created a podcast, The Deep Field, with Inside Out Theatre’s Col Cseke. Since then, they’ve added Alberta Theatre Project’s Laurel Green to the team, and the podcast has been downloaded thousands of times. The show, named for the Hubble Deep Field photos, aims to find stories in places people wouldn’t normally look, such as the life of a mall Santa or the work of a death midwife. 

Other deGroot projects include interactive artwork created for the first GLOW Festival last winter.  “A Light Shower” was a free-standing shower stall that at the push of a button bathed the participant in two minutes of light and the sounds of Calgary’s summer, including the Stampede parade, Folk Fest, lawn mowing and birdsong. 

The work deGroot does also takes him to other cities. This year, he worked for four months at the Avon Theatre at the Stratford Festival as the assistant lighting designer for a pair of productions. 

“While Calgary is my home, I want to be able to take my work abroad, play different stages and show the world what Calgary’s got,” he says. “The best damn theatre community in the whole country.” —Andrew Guilbert


Here's a breakdown of a typical workday for Anton deGroot.
Click here to see the workdays of all the Top 40 Under 40s.

Timelines were submitted by the Top 40 Under 40s, and do not reflect volunteer work, multi-tasking and periods of unusually high workloads.


Top 40 Under 40 Class of 2017

Marie-Claire Arrieta
Yann Blanchard
J.R. Brooks and Gareth Jenkins
Dr. Shauna Burkholder
Shawn Cable
David Crosby and Cole Torode
Kevin Davies
Anton deGroot
David Dick
Mark Erickson and Matthew Kennedy
Christina Fast
Dr. Geoffrey Gotto
Angel Guerra
Tulika Gupta
Devon Guy
Amanda Hamilton
Aubrey Hanson
Dr. Glen Hazlewood
Scott Henuset and Suzanne Henuset
Jeff Jamieson and Jesse Willis
Kenneth Keung
Matthew Kinderwater
Anila Umar Lee Yuen
Jennifer MacDonald
Richard MacDonald
Avnish Mehta
Uyen Nguyen
Dr. Daniel Niven
Melanie Noel
John Pantazopoulos
Mark Powers
Kevin Read and Julia Read
Eddie Richardson
Pam Rocker
Liz Scarratt
Dr. Fiona Schulte
Jessica Shaw
Dr. Amy Tan
Tommy Wheeldon, Jr.
Jennifer Winter


This article appears in the November 2017 issue of Avenue Calgary. Subscribe here.


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