Debut Theatre Company

A nonprofit organization

Debut Theatre Company

Theatre for young people, by young people.

We are Northern Colorado's only troupe-structured, non-profit, young person's theatre school. We provide a world-class theatre education and exceptional theatre productions that are affordable and appropriate for all ages. As the only hands-on, year-round, progression-based children's theatre in Colorado, Debut offers troupes, classes, and workshops for a wide range of ages, talents and interest levels.   


Young people onstage, backstage, and in the audience.

Debut is a "hands-on" company that believes learning is best done by doing and quality arises through pride of ownership and participation. The actors don't just act. They participate in the design and construction of everything from posters to costumes to sets. 

Believing that the humanities are a force that binds our Community and its people, Debut Theatre Company is a nonprofit corporation whose artistic and educational purposes are:

 -to provide Fort Collins area families with the best of children's theatre through the affordable performance of dramatized literary classics by young people 

-to instruct young artists in the craft of theatre through hands-on participation in both the performance and technical skill-building

-to prepare young people for adulthood by applying the fundamental dynamics of creativity and problem solving, responsibility, communication with others and working as a team towards a common goal

We recognize that the arts play an important role in the recreational and cultural well-being of this community. The arts can be a vehicle to reduce discrimination and prejudice; to promote understanding and education; to open minds and expand the sense of self; and to foster an appreciation for others. 


Co-founded in 1991 by siblings Lee Osterhout-Kaplan and Gregg Osterhout, Debut Theatre Company is based in Fort Collins. For 33 years Debut has offered theatre education for ages 8-17 years old through small troupes of 12-15 students. Troupes meet each week to collaborate and create, culminating in an end of semester performance at a variety of local venues that best suits the age and experience level of the troupe.

Debut Players, DTC's signature troupe, is one of only three professional children's performing arts companies found between California and Minnesota. By audition, Debut Players is made up of 17 talented young people between the ages of 10 and 17 years. Recent productions include: Robin Hood; Henry & Ramona; The Railway Children; Alice in Wonderland; Dracula; Vintage Radio Shows (during covid); Sarah, Plain & Tall; The Phantom Tollbooth; A Little Princess; Emil & The Detectives; The Legend of Sleepy Hollow; A Wrinkle in Time; The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes; Charlotte's Web; The Boxcar Children; The Jungle Book.

The apprentice troupes and Debut Players combined perform a total of more than 40 performances per year! 


"As I grew through the awkward adolescent years, Debut helped establish my confidence, poise, determination and sense of humor - traits that continue to benefit me today in all that I do." -- Ali Kresge, Former student

"Debut has been so much more than merely an acting school for both our children. Debut has helped to teach them responsibility. It has helped them learn how to deal with creative conflict. It has helped them to be confident about their own individuality. It has also given them the close circle of friends that so many teenage children lack. The positive family atmosphere among the staff cast, crew, and their relatives has to be seen to be believed." -- Ross and Jill Cunniff, Parents of two students

"I was blessed to perform five shows with Debut Players over several years. Lee Osterhout-Kaplan and Gregg Osterhout are two incredibly gifted individuals who share their gifts, talent and time with youth of all ages. No other theatre company around teaches children both acting and technical theatre techniques. Actors learn respect for the technical realm of theatre, while technically oriented individuals have the opportunity to stand in the limelight for a while. I have learned so much from Debut Theatre and highly encourage everyone to look into becoming a part of this excellent experience. Performing with Debut has only encouraged my desire in theatre and for that, I am eternally grateful." -- Laura Pacini, Shadow Play Films, Former Debut student

"I recently directed two very ambitious production for Colorado State University. Each play had a key role for a young boy and thankfully Debut Theatre gave me access to their young talent. Both of the young actors I selected were highly professional in their attitude and a delight to work with. Keep up the good work Debut - we need you!" -- Eric Prince, professor of theatre at Colorado State University

Organization Data


Organization name

Debut Theatre Company

other names


Year Established


Tax id (EIN)



Arts, Culture & Humanities, Youth Development

Organization Size

Small Organization


827 Riverside Ave.
Fort Collins, CO 80524

Service areas

Larimer County, CO, US



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