When you are young, the world is quite a large place to enter into. The courage and strength young people call upon to steer through life challenges is remarkable to say the least. Children are so impressive in how they embrace the unknown with joy and openness. My experience as a mother of a bright and hilarious 8 year old, has brought these insights forefront into my mind as I work to collaborate on theatre that speaks to our youth. For this reason, this year at Carousel we have chosen 3 plays that explore and celebrate the strength of purpose in our youth: how they define excellence; how they overcome personal and societal obstacles; and how they recognize their own strengths and weaknesses through the power of imagination.
Spelling 2-5-5, Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin and returning favourite Peg and the Yeti all present us with optimistic and strong-willed protagonists. Each play’s characters imagine a world where they can pursue their dreams to the fullest, and are faced with obstacles that require skills in fortitude and communication.
I am excited to announce that each of the plays in our season are by Canadian playwrights. Peg and the Yeti written by Niagara playwright Monica Dufault, adapted from the book by Canadian author Kenneth Oppel, opens our season this fall 2015. Peg will have a run at Manitoba Theatre for Young People, before going on a Northern Ontario tour. Spelling 2-5-5 is by Halifax playwright Jennifer Overton, and will be our first show to debut in the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in Downtown St. Catharines in late January 2016. Spelling will go on to have a week run at The Grand Theatre in London, before it begins its school tour in the Niagara and surrounding areas. Our season ends with Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin; an adaptation project I have been working on this past year from the book by Canadian author Chieri Uegaki & illustrator Qin Leng (Kids Can Press). Hana is a world premiere, opening in April 2016 at The Grand in London, before heading on its school tour and playing at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre.
I am extremely excited about these three works. I am also thrilled that we are able to offer our FREE Playlinks Workshop Program to schools that book our productions. The workshops are created to compliment each show experience, and are funded in generous support by the Ontario Trillium Foundation.
I look forward to the season-long conversation these plays will inspire amongst us. You, and the children in your lives, are the final component to our season.
Jessica Carmichael, Artistic Director