When my children were young, I loved bringing them to see live theatre. Not only because I work in theatre myself, but because it was a communal event for our family, a shared activity that took us out of our everyday routine and allowed us to see ourselves and the world around us in a new way. It gave us a common experience that we could discuss, reflect on, and refer to when we met new challenges as a family. My kids are older now and they attend theatre on their own, but I am still drawn to creating plays for children and families, as well as young people in schools and their teachers, because I can see the unique effect on our audiences.
In this fast-moving technologically-connected world, theatre gives us the chance to experience a story in real time and real space. Theatre makes time for storytelling to happen, and to be received. Theatre lets children build empathy for others, and make intellectual and artistic connections as they watch a performance unfold before them. Theatre relies on an audience’s imagination to create meaning, and so it actually enhances cognitive ability in children.
A live theatre performance has the extraordinary power to synchronize the heartbeats of an audience.
We become a community as we participate in theatre.
It’s my great joy to be the new Artistic Director here at Carousel Players and to have had the privilege to choose what plays to bring to our community this year. As I considered what to program for our 47th season, I was drawn to the themes of friendship and belonging, and I have chosen stories that depict young people finding friends in their world.
We begin our season in October 2018 with a new adaptation of Peter Pan, the classic story about a boy who doesn’t want to grow up but who finds a true friend in Wendy. This production will encourage kids – and kids at heart – to dream, to imagine possibilities, and to experience the power of make-believe. Carousel Players is thrilled to be touring this show to community venues, high schools and performing arts centres around the Niagara region and other municipalities this fall.
Our second show is a world premiere of Toronto writer Sean Dixon’s play Whole World. In this funny and touching story, grade six Omar is a refugee newly arrived in Canada. He’s trying to feel at home in his new school, but his efforts keep getting lost in translation. How can he fit in and make new friends? Whole World will feature live junk band style percussion and will tour to schools and community venues for kids in Grades 4 to 8.
In the spring of 2019, we’re proud to present The Incredible Adventures of Mary Jane Mosquito by celebrated Indigenous playwright Tomson Highway. Little Mary Jane Mosquito was born without wings, and has always felt like an outsider. She discovers that her true gift is singing and that she can make friends wherever she goes by sharing her songs, her language, and her kindness. This heartwarming show features live music, puppetry, fanciful costumes, and interactive moments when Mary Jane teaches the audience Cree words and encourages them to sing along with her. This is an engaging piece for very young audiences, ages 4 and up, that will tour to schools, performing arts centres, and other community venues in Niagara and beyond.
In addition to all this, we will be offering an interactive performance called The Drama Garden as part of Culture Days on Saturday, September 29 at Rodman Hall. All are welcome to attend this free event. In January, Carousel Players will tour our production of Boys, Girls and Other Mythological Creatures to Oakville, Brantford, Brampton, and Toronto. And we’ll be back in Lakeside Park in the spring of 2019 with our 2nd Annual Community Picnic, another free event for kids and families.
Carousel is pleased to offer our popular Summer Theatre School again this year, this time with six camps, and we are planning to offer fall/winter drama education opportunities for kids aged 6 to 12 as well. Please watch our website for more information as that develops.
We have so much going on this year, so please bring the special young people in your life along and join us. We hope that you find a friend with us this season at Carousel Players.
– Monica Dufault