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Carousel Players' History

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.

 

Recent Seasons

2019/20

Season

Water Wonder

by Cheryl McNamara

A water bottling company is set to clear-cut the forest near Richard’s house to build a new facility. He pleads with his friends and family to help protect the green spaces in their town, but no one seems to care about the brook and the trees, or the creatures who live there. Can Richard change their minds and convince the mayor to save the woods?

Creative Team

Director: Monica Dufault

Featuring: Nathaniel Kingham, Isaiah Kolundzic, Kate Werneberg

Stage Manager: Sara Allison
Set Design: Kelly Wolf
Costume Design: Sim Suzer
Sound Design: Ethan Rising

The Incredible Adventures of Mary Jane Mosquito
book, music, and lyrics by Tomson Highway
with additional arrangements by Ryan de Souza

Western Canada Tour

Mary Jane Mosquito has no wings. At home and at school she is teased by the other mosquitos, and then she is sent away live with her auntie in the city. What she really wants to do is sing her songs, share her language, and make friends. But how will she fit in without wings?

Creative Team

Director: Monica Dufault

Featuring: Haley Vincent, Catherine Teichman, Shane O’Regan

Stage Manager: Martine Beland
Set Design: Kelly Wolf
Costume Design: Alexa Fraser
Music Direction: Ryan de Souza

CRANKED - a Green Thumb Theatre Production
by Michael P Northey

Stan, a.k.a. “Definition” is a rising freestyle MC – or at least he was, until his life’s passion lost out to his drug habit. Now on the road to recovery and prepping for a come-back show, Stan confronts his demons and recounts his harrowing journey through the wild highs and deep lows of addiction.

CRANKED is an award winning piece from Green Thumb Theatre that uses spoken word and hip-hop to create a pulse-pounding full-sensory experience that deals in the brutal realities of addiction and drug culture, and the redemption that can lie in recovery.

Carousel Players’ Youth Tour of CRANKED was supported by the Niagara Region’s Niagara Investment in Culture Program.

2018/19

Season

Bad Hat Theatre's Peter Pan
adapted by Fiona Sauder & Reanne Spitzer
music by Landon Doak & Company

A contemporary musical reimagining of the classic Peter Pan story. With live acoustic music, and minimal scenery, this playful adaptation encourages kids and kids-at-heart to dream, to imagine possibilities, and to remember the power of make-believe.

Creative Team

Director: Severn Thompson

Featuring: Jocelyn Adema, Andrew Cameron, Graham Conway, Landon Doak, Matt Finlan, Lena Maripuu, Matt Pilipiak, Victor Pokinko, Fiona Sauder, Reanne Spitzer, Annie Tuma, Micah Woods

Stage Manager: Lucia Corak
Production Designer: Amy Marie Wallace
Music Director: Noah MacDougall
Original Music Direction by Nathan Carroll
Fight / Flight Director: Jack Rennie

The Community Tour of Peter Pan was made possible by the Nigara Region’s Niagara Investment in Culture Program and the Niagara Community Foundation.

Whole World
by Sean Dixon

Omar is new in school, new in Canada. As he struggles to make himself understood in a new language, a group of students struggle to understand Omar at all. Unexpected friendships form as Nashira, Alex, and the Kid travel through school yards, junk yards, and back yards to learn more about Omar. Will these four find common ground?

Creative Team

Director: Monica Dufault

Featuring: Nicola Franco, Ahmad Meree, Josepeh Recinos, Brady Van Vaerenbergh

Stage Manager: Sara Allison
Set, Props, and Costumes designed by Christine Urquhart
Sound Design and Percussion Direction by Maddie Bautista
Fight Director: Anita Nittoly

The Incredible Adventures of Mary Jane Mosquito
book, music, and lyrics by Tomson Highway
with additional arrangements by Ryan de Souza

Mary Jane Mosquito has no wings. At home and at school she is teased by the other mosquitos, and then she is sent away live with her auntie in the city. What she really wants to do is sing her songs, share her language, and make friends. But how will she fit in without wings?

Creative Team

Director: Monica Dufault

Featuring: Nicole Joy-Fraser, Catherine Teichman, Shane O’Regan

Stage Manager: Jennifer Hare
Set Design: Kelly Wolf
Costume Design: Alexa Fraser
Music Direction: Ryan de Souza

Boys, Girls, and Other Mythological Creatures
by Mark Crawford

Deep in Simon’s basement is a secret world of imagination and adventure—where a young prince can transform into mythological creatures! Simon invites new neighbour Abby to help save a princess in a battle against a fire-breathing dragon. Meanwhile, in reality, Simon’s older brother Zach’s not so sure about all this dressing up and fairy tale business… A thoughtful and hilarious new play about our ability to transform!

Creative Team

Director: Jessica Carmichael

Featuring: Matt Pilipiak, Cynthia Jiminez-Hicks, Drew O’Hara

Stage Managers: Laura Granfield (January), Heather Bellingham (May)
Set & Costume Design: Brian Dudkiewicz
Sound Design: Sam Ferguson

Hare & Tortoise
by Brendan Murray
music by Joe Lapinski

Hare & Tortoise is a whimsical retelling of Aesop’s Fable about two friends who have opposite approaches to absolutely everything. As the seasons change from winter to spring, Hare impatiently waits for Tortoise to wake up so they can hurry up and have their race. But Tortoise has other things to do first: a little spring cleaning, taking care of the garden, and enjoying a holiday. Finally the race day arrives – but things don’t turn out the way Hare expected at all!

 This charming adaptation won Best Play for Children and Youth at the Writers Guild of Great Britain Awards in 2012.

Creative Team

Director: Monica Dufault

Featuring: Kurtis Leon Baker, Kaileigh Gorka

Stage Manager: Jennifer Hare
Set & Costume Design: Kelly Wolf
Music Director: Joe Lapinski

Flying Hearts - a Theatre Direct Production
created by Michelle Silagy & Lynda Hill
original music by Kathy Nosaty

Flying Hearts is a dance/theatre performance conceived especially for children 2 years and up of all abilities. Flying Hearts takes children on a journey through the elements of earth, water, air, and light using dance, live music, and rich lighting. A Relaxed Performance experience with live music and gentle audience interactions, Flying Hearts is Sensory Friendly and Autism Friendly and welcomes children of all abilities and diverse needs.

Creative Team

Featuring: Allison Basha, Lucas Penner, Jake Ramos, Jessica Runge

Production Design: Jung-Hye Kim
Costume Design: Jennifer Dallas
Lighting Design: Jennifer Lennon

The Community Presentation of Flying Hearts was made possible by the Niagara Community Foundation.

2017/18 Season

This Will Be Excellent
by Jordi Mand

Daniel and Izzy  are struggling to complete grade six. Determined to ignore their situation, they daydream of meeting their favorite rapper, Arrow. After Daniel’s mother and their principal deliver ultimatums, the pair decide to hatch a plan to make their dream become a reality. They encounter hard realities in carving out their independence in the face of expected responsibilities as they tackle pre-adolescence.

Creative Team

Director: Erin Brubacher
Dramaturg: Jessica Carmichael

Featuring: Maddie Bautista, Theo Gallaro, Nicole Joy-Fraser, Diana C. Reyes

Stage Manager: Maureen Callaghan
Set & Costumes Designer: Anahita Debonehie
DJ/ Sound Designer YouTube Video Choreographer: Fly Lady Di

Hare & Tortoise
by Brendan Murray
music by Joe Lapinski

Hare & Tortoise is a whimsical retelling of Aesop’s Fable about two friends who have opposite approaches to absolutely everything. As the seasons change from winter to spring, Hare impatiently waits for Tortoise to wake up so they can hurry up and have their race. But Tortoise has other things to do first: a little spring cleaning, taking care of the garden, and enjoying a holiday. Finally the race day arrives – but things don’t turn out the way Hare expected at all!

 This charming adaptation won Best Play for Children and Youth at the Writers Guild of Great Britain Awards in 2012.

Creative Team

Director: Monica Dufault

Featuring: Kurtis Leon Baker, Kaileigh Gorka

Stage Manager: Sara Allison
Set & Costume Design: Kelly Wolf
Music Director: Joe Lapinski

One Thing Leads to Another - a YPT Production
A Collective Collaboration by Maja Ardal, Audrey Dwyer, Mary Francis Moore and Julia Tribe

Developed from the original concept, research, and theme by Maja Ardal. Directed by Mary Francis Moore

The award-winning show for babies that transforms everyday objects into fabulous, fanciful phenomena!

As they develop and thrive, babies use all of their senses to learn about the world. In this play, performers engaged with the audience using music, enticing visuals, and tactile experiences. Carousel Players was proud to present the Niagara tour of this innovative work of theatre created specifically for infants, which received Dora Mavor Moore Awards for Outstanding New Play and Outstanding Performance, Ensemble.

Full Production History

2020+

2020 – 2021
Lig & Bittle
Bluenose
Pop! Pop!

2010 - 2020

2019/20
Water Wonder
The Incredible Adventures of Mary Jane Mosquito
Presented: CRANKED

2018-2019
Bad Hats Theatre’s Peter Pan
Whole World
The Incredible Adventures of Mary Jane Mosquito
Boys, Girls, and Other Mythological Creatures
Hare & Tortoise
Presented: Flying Hearts

2017-2018
This Will Be Excellent
Hare & Tortoise
Presented: One Thing Leads to Another

2016-2017
iChild
Tick
Boys, Girls, And Other Mythological Creatures

2015 – 2016
Peg and the Yeti
Spelling 2-5-5
Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin

2014 – 2015
The Incredible Speediness of Jamie Cavanaugh
Peg and the Yeti
The Power of Harriet T

2013 – 2014
Water Under the Bridge
The Power of Harriet T
Dib and Dob and the Journey Home
Spelling 2-5-5
Presented: Paper Song

2012 – 2013
Water Under the Bridge
Here to Hear
The Forest in My Room

2011 – 2012
Here to Hear
Spelling 2-5-5
Showcase: Water Under the Bridge

2010 – 2011
Peg and the Yeti
The Remarkable Flight of Marnie McPhee
There’s a Mouse in My House
Presented: Offensive Fouls

2000 - 2010

2009 – 2010
Saving Lonesome George
Danny, King of the Basement
There’s a Mouse in My House
Presented: Rocket and the Queen of Dreams

2008 – 2009
There’s a Mouse in My House
The Incredible Speediness of Jamie Cavanaugh
Presented: Kindness
Presented: Brick Bros. Circus

2007 – 2008
Bluenose
The Big League
George & Martha

2006 – 2007
George & Martha
House at Pooh Corner
The Invisible Girl

2005 – 2006
George & Martha
Silverwing
Jelly Belly Makes Garbage Delight of Alligator Pie
Where the Wild Things Are
Wimp
Presented: Wonder Train

2004 – 2005
George & Martha
Where the Wild Things Are
Nightlight
Presented: Beggar Boy
Presented: Foolish Tales for Foolish Times

2003 – 2004
Baking Time
The Power of Harriet T
Dib and Dob and the Journey Home
Presented: Tea at the Palace
Presented: Daredevil

2002 – 2003
Dying to be Thin
Where the Wild Things Are
Wimp
Robot from Orion
Patty’s Cake

2001 – 2002
Rocks
For Art’s Sake
Patty’s Cake
The Hobbit
Presented: Theatre Kazenoko

2000 – 2001
The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe
The Last Drop
The Story of the Little Gentleman

1990 - 2000

1999 – 2000
The Ice Cream Store and More
Rocks
The Last Drop

1998 – 1999
Mella Mella
Dinosaurs and all that Rubbish
Presented: See Saw

1997 – 1998
Loon Boy
One Thousands Cranes
The Nightingale
Presented: Twelfth Night

1996 – 1997
Brazil Nut
The Power of Harriet T
Gandhi High
Presented: Cinderella

1995 – 1996
A Promise is a Promise
One Thousand Cranes
Book of the Dragon
Presented: Stuart Little

1994 – 1995
Emperor’s New Clothes
Ezzie’s Emerald
Hedges

1993 – 1994
Dinosaurs and all that Rubbish
Peacocks and Bandaids
Blush

1992 – 1993
Shall We Call A Teacher
Loon Boy
The Power of Harriet T
The Shadow Stealer

1991 – 1992
Brazil Nut
The Power of Harriet T
The Wizard of Oz
Liars
Snowsuits, Birthdays and Giants

1990 – 1991
Under the Coolabah Tree
Almighty Voice
The Best Present of All
A Festival of Robert Munsch stories

1980 - 1990

1989 – 1990
The Gift
The Singing Stone
The Magic Mirror
Little People of Christmas
Charlotte’s Web

1988 – 1989
The Gift
Silent Night
Ring of Song
Nobody’s Children
Peter & The Wolf

1987 – 1988
Not Like Us
The Torch
Belle of Amherst
The Snow Queen

1986 – 1987
Running The Gauntlet
The Nutcracker
Under the Coolabah Tree
Almighty Voice
Belle of Amherst
Aesop’s & Other Fables

1985 – 1986
Running The Gauntlet
The Best Present Of All
Earth Song
Canadians All
Tales of Four Seasons
Beauty & The Beast

1984 – 1985
Upper Canada Challenge
King Arthur’s Christmas
Ring of Song
The Harper’s Song
New Friends Old Friends
Charlotte’s Web
A Place To Grow

1983 – 1984
Singing Stone
Way To Go
Ice Wolf
Upper Canada Challenge
Tales of the Four Seasons

1982 – 1983
First People
A Place To Grow
Betty Byleorski Finds a Home
The Snow Queen
New Friends Old Friends

1981 – 1982
Totem Go Round
Iron Horse
Betty Byleorski Finds a Home
First Canadian Christmas
A Christmas Carol
Aesop’s & Other Fables

1980 – 1981
Not Like Us
Norse Saga
The Best Present Of All
Betty Byleorski Finds a Home
The Wizard of Oz

1972 - 1980

1979 – 1980
Earth Song
The Harper’s Song
The Torch
Mistletoes & Tales
A Christmas Carol
Where To, Turelu?
Bremen Town Musicians
Don’t Tell ‘Em You’re Irish

Summer 1979
Don’t Tell ‘Em You’re Irish
Lock Up Your Daughters
New Friends Old Friends
Cabaret I
Cabaret II

1978 – 1979
First People
A Place To Grow
Way To Go
Christmas Carousel
Escape From The Dark Galaxy
New Friends Old Friends
Tangle Tales

Summer 1978
Old Times
Confusions

1977 – 1978
Totem Go Round
Golden Age
Maritimes Show
The Ballad of Nickle Jim
Escape From The Dark Galaxy
On the Briny Ocean Toss’d

Summer 1977
A Day In The Death Of Joe Egg
Play Strindberg
The Ballad of Nickel Jim

1976 – 1977
Not Like Us
Norse Saga
Pipeline
The Best Present of All
Betty Byleorski Finds a Home
Grand Old Lady
5 Minutes To Morning
Mirror Mirror

1975 – 1976
Earth Song
Metric Circus
The Torch
New Friends Old Friends
Fair Game
Grand Old Lady

1974 – 1975
Peas In A Pod
Canadians All
Way To Go
Merritt
Tangle Tales
Earth Song

1973 – 1974
Totem Go Round
Norse Saga
Border Games
Oniagara
T’is The Season

1972 – 1973
In The Beginning
Almighty Voice
Checkmate
Dandy Lion
Four on the Floor