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About Carousel Players

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 214 productions to more than 2.8 million children, youth and families predominantly in Ontario.

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. 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.

Carousel has had six other Artistic Directors since its inception: Duncan McGregor, Pierre Tetrault, Kim Selody, Pablo Felices-Luna, Jessica Carmichael, and Monica Dufault.

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.

 

Fast facts

”Since Carousel Players’ inception, the company has…

  • travelled 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

Our Vision & Mandate

Carousel Players is an award-winning professional theatre company for young audiences.

We believe live theatre develops artistic awareness, learning skills and a sense of well-being in children.

We are committed to the development of new work and the production of theatre that entertains and challenges our audiences.

We present inspiring and creative plays for children in theatres, schools and other performance venues.

We ensure that our performances, summer theatre school, and outreach programs can be accessed by all children and families regardless of their socio-economic background.

Our Values

Professionalism: We are committed to a consistent, professional quality of work and maintaining our reputation for artistic excellence.

Respect: We strive to be sincere, respectful and playful in our relationships with children and their caregivers.

Ideas: We are eager to share, explore and stimulate new ideas.

Appreciation: We like to show appreciation for our friends in the world around us.

Responsibility: We strive to be a helpful colleague and good citizen in our discipline (theatre for young audiences), in our field (performing arts) and in our community (the Niagara Region).

Legacy: We are dedicated to making all our children’s first exposure to professional theatre a playful, enlightening and memorable experience.

Balance:  We are committed to helping employees achieve a healthy balance between their personal and professional life.