Carousel Theatre's administrative offices on Granville Island, Vancouver
Theatre for young audiences
Carousel Theatre (also known as Carousel Theatre For Young People) is a professional theatre company for young audiences located in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The company stages plays for young people, families and educators at the Waterfront Theatre and Performance Works on Granville Island and tours to elementary schools across British Columbia and Canada. It was also the first Canadian theatre company to offer signing during its performances for the hearing impaired. Carousel Theatre is a member of PACT, the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres.
History and productions
Carousel was founded in 1974 by Elizabeth Ball, who served as Artistic Director until 2001, when she stepped down and was replaced by Carole Higgins. In its early years, Carousel garnered attention for its adaptations of Shakespeare in modern dress. Later, it shifted its focus to adaptations of classical stories and new works by Canadian playwrights. Carousel first mounted its productions in Vancouver playhouses such as the Arts Club Theatre Company’s old Seymour Street theatre and the Vancouver East Cultural Centre. In about 1993, it relocated to Granville Island, where it has administrative offices and three rehearsal halls. Its administrative and rehearsal space is located across the street from the Waterfront Theatre, which Carousel helped to build and is where it mounts many of its productions. Since Higgins took over as Artistic Director, Carousel Theatre has rebranded itself as Carousel Theatre for Young People, in order to signify its focus on children and youth.
Carousel has mounted premieres of several productions, some of which it had commissioned and developed. Currently, a typical mainstage season for Carousel consists of four or five productions. It offers public performances on weekends and matinees, primarily for schools, during the week.
Notable Canadian plays that premiered at Carousel Theatre include A Christmas Carol - The Musical by Mavor Moore (in 1998), Dying to be Thin by Linda A. Carson (in 1992), and Basically Good Kids by Mark Leiren-Young (in 1993). Carousel also mounted an original production of Pierre Berton's fable The Secret World of Og, adapted under commission by Governor General's Award-winning playwright Kevin Kerr. Other Carousel productions have included Seussical and Kim Selody's adaptation of The Hobbit. Many notable Canadian theatre artists, including Roy Surette, Teryl Rothery, and Anna Cummer  have worked for Carousel Theatre in the decades since it was founded.
In addition to producing and staging theatrical performances, Carousel operates a theatre school for young people from the ages of 3 to 17 years old. The company also operates a "Teen Shakespeare Program" for young people aged 13 to 17 during the months of July and August, culminating in a production staged by the teen actors. Artistic Director Higgins herself got her start in theatre through this program.
Carousel Theatre and its artists have been honoured with a number of awards.
- Outstanding Design, Theatre for Young Audiences - Heidi Wilkinson, Bird Brain
- Outstanding Artistic Creation, Theatre for Young Audiences – Carole Higgins, Bird Brain
- Outstanding Production, Theatre for Young Audiences, Bird Brain
- Significant Artistic Achievement, Theatre for Young Audiences, Design Team, Pharaoh Serket & The Lost Stone of Fire
- Outstanding Production, Theatre for Young Audiences, A Year with Frog & Toad
- Outstanding Performance, Theatre for Young Audiences, A Year with Frog & Toad
- Outstanding Design, Theatre for Young Audiences - Heidi Wilkinson
- Outstanding Artistic Creation, Theatre for Young Audiences - Gordon Roberts (Musical Direction) A Year with Frog & Toad
- Outstanding Production, Theatre for Young Audiences, Seussical (awarded with the Canada Council Prize for Outstanding Production, Theatre for Young Audiences)
- Outstanding Artistic Creation, Theatre for Young Audiences - Steven Greenfield, Musical Direction, Seussical
- Outstanding Performance, Theatre for Young Audiences - Allan Zinyk, Seussical
- Outstanding Production, Theatre for Young Audiences, The Odyssey (awarded with the Canada Council Prize for Outstanding Production, Theatre for Young Audiences)
- Carole Higgins, Outstanding Artistic Creation (direction), The Big League
- Alexa Dubreuil, Josh Dickson, Nathan Schwartz, Chris Van Hyfte, Significant Artistic Achievement (acting ensemble), The Big League
- Swortzell, Lowell (1990). International Guide to Children's Theatre and Educational Theatre. Greenwood Press. p. 35. ISBN 0-313-24881-8.
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- "Artstarts in Schools". Artstarts. Archived from the original on 2008-04-20. Retrieved 2008-06-02.
- "Carousel offers theatre for families - What's Going On: Theatre". Performing Arts & Entertainment in Canada (Fall 1993). September 22, 1993. Retrieved 2008-06-02.[dead link]
- "Professional Association of Canadian Theatres - Who's Who". www.pact.ca. Retrieved 2008-06-05.
- "Councillor Elizabeth Ball". City of Vancouver. Archived from the original on 2008-07-12. Retrieved 2008-06-02.
- Robinson, Red (August 20, 2007). "B.C. Entertainment Hall of Fame". Vancouver Sun.
- "Local candidates schooled in silver screen", The Georgia Straight, November 17, 2005
- "Mavor Moore". Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2011-07-01.
- "Linda A. Carson". The Plawrights Database. Retrieved 2011-07-01.
- Electric Company
- Birnie, Peter (2007-12-05). "Kids will love this colourful Seussical". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 2008-06-05.
- Derdeyn, Stuart (2008-04-10). "Hobbit: Baggins, dragons and all". The Province. Retrieved 2008-06-05.
- "Centaur Theatre Company". www.centaurtheatre.com. Retrieved 2008-06-05.
- "The Official Teryl Rothery Website". www.terylrothery.com. Retrieved 2008-06-05.
- "Touchstone Theatre". www.touchstonetheatre.com. Retrieved 2008-06-05.
- Vancouver Sun
- "Seussical big winner at Vancouver's Jessie Awards", CBC News
- "The Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards Winners and Nominations since 1982". Jessie Richardson Theatre Award Society. Archived from the original on 2011-08-07. Retrieved 2011-06-26.
- "Arts Club, Carousel Theatre, Pacific Theatre win big at the 2011 Jessie Awards", The Georgia Straight