fbpx

About Carousel Players

Board & StaffCompany Policies

50+ Years of Theatre You Never Outgrow!

Carousel Players is one of Canada’s oldest and most respected professional theatre for young audience companies.  Founded in 1972, Carousel has performed more than 220 productions to over 2.8 million children, youth and families predominantly.

Carousel Players is committed to the development of new work and the production of theatre that entertains and challenges young audiences. We have presented inspiring and creative plays for children in schools, theatres, and other venues for over 50 years across Niagara and globally. 

At Carousel Players, we have seen first-hand how live theatre helps children develop artistic awareness, learn vital life skills, and develop a sense of well-being. We ensure that our performances, summer theatre camps, and classroom programs are affordable for all children regardless of their socio-economic status or situation.

Carousel Players was founded in 1972 by the late Desmond Davis, a Professor of Drama at Brock University in St. Catharines. Des and his wife Faye came to Canada from Australia and created a theatre to serve youth in Niagara. Carousel has had six other Artistic Directors since its inception: Duncan McGregor, Pierre Tetrault, Kim Selody, Pablo Felices-Luna, Jessica Carmichael, and Monica Dufault.

The name for the company is inspired by one of Canada’s oldest carousels in nearby Port Dalhousie, where you can still enjoy a ride for just a nickel.

We regularly perform in schools, community venues, and performing arts centres across Southern Ontario. We have also toured nationally to theatres and festivals in Ottawa, Montreal, Winnipeg, Calgary, Saskatoon, and Vancouver. Our award-winning plays have toured as far away as England and Japan.

Our plays have been nominated for 14 Dora Awards in the Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) category. We received Dora Awards for Dinosaurs & All the Rubbish in 1993 and Patty’s Cake in 2003. Carousel Players received the 2003 Canada Council for the Arts for Theatre for Young Audiences Prize for Patty’s Cake, the Great Grants Award from Ontario Trillium Foundation in 2005, the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for the Arts in 1997, the Innovation in the Arts Award from the City of St. Catharines in 2009 for our Niagara Artists in the Classroom program and the inaugural Arts in Education Award from the City of St. Catharines.

 

Our Vision & Mandate

Carousel Players’ mission is to ignite imaginations, inspire curiosity, and build empathy through theatre experiences crafted specifically for young audiences.

By producing, presenting, and touring professional theatre in Niagara and beyond, we ensure access to the arts for children, youth, families, teachers, and schools.

Through educational drama programs, we nurture a sense of creativity, imagination, and play. 

We are dedicated to enriching the lives of young people and their caregivers through innovative, thought-provoking performances and participatory arts experiences that celebrate diversity and promote lifelong learning.

Our vision is to build an empathetic community where children and youth are empowered to expand their understanding of the world by engaging with all forms of theatre.

Our Values

INCLUSIVITY: We prioritize programming which nurtures an inclusive environment where children and youth feel seen, heard, and safe to contribute. We celebrate differences and encourage unique voices and approaches to guide us in new discoveries and continuous learning.

WELLBEING: We create a healthy and safe environment for audiences, participans, staff and guest artists. We prioritize a healthy balance of work and personal life for our staff, educators and artists.

ACCESS: We cultivate a world where all children, youth and families have the opportunity to engage with and participate in arts and culture activities without barriers.

EDUCATION: We develop arts education enrichment opportunities that inspire children and youth to meaningfully engage with the world around them.

EMPOWERMENT: We empower young people to be unafraid to explore, ask questions and engage with new perspectives in life beyond the stage.

PLAY: We ensure children’s first exposure to professional theatre is a playful, enlightening and memorable experience.

Fast facts

”Since Carousel Players’ inception, the company has…

  • travelled over 575,000 km…that’s to the moon and halfway back!
  • performed for over 2.8 m students 
  • produced over 200 shows 
  • presented over 12,000 performances

Recent/Notable Press (click to read):

 

 

audience feedback

“I wanted to sincerely thank you and your team for the wonderful play that our students were able to watch last week. The students were very engaged and the feedback was extremely positive. It was a great story and the actors were both skilled and friendly.” – Principal

“It was wonderful to watch the play through my students’ eyes. Their looks of awe and amazement and hearing them laugh or interact with the actors as well as watching them dance along were obvious cues they thoroughly enjoyed the performance.” –  Educator, ELKP

“Love the curriculum connections to science and the theme of patience and getting along. For the musical aspect: kids loved it. – Educator, Grade 1

“I must say that when I was invited to see Hare & Tortoise. I didn’t know what to expect. Being my first time to a live show I was quite taken by the performance, how it caught my attention right off the bat and  how I thoroughly enjoyed it to the finish.  My grandkids and family had such a great time.  I would like to thank the performers for putting on such a captivating show. For young and old alike. I’m looking forward to another chance to see fun entertainment in the near future. – Community Audience Member