Stage Door News

St. Catharines: Carousel Players celebrates its 50th anniversary with a festival in 9 municipalities

Monday, January 31, 2022

Carousel Players is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a festival held April 16-17, 2022, in nine municipalities across the Niagara region.

The Carousel Players 50th Anniversary Festival is a weekend of theatre, drama workshops, and free events for families taking place across the Niagara region. This Festival is a celebration of Carousel Players’ history, its importance to Niagara’s young people, and its future creating and teaching theatre. The Festival is a time for the community to come back together for a shared experience that can be enjoyed by children and adults from age 2 to 92. Families will be able to enjoy performances of three in person shows, screenings of two digital plays, free drop-in activities, drama workshops and more.

To access the plays in the 50th Anniversary Festival and the Community Tour of The Velveteen Rabbit, you will need to a Festival Pass. The passes cover every live show and digital play screening. All other events are free.

Purchase an individual pass for everyone, young and old, attending shows and digital play screenings. The passes are pay what you want, minimum $20. You can purchase your pass in advance or at the door the first event your attend.

If you plan to attend shows and screenings at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in St Catharines, you will need to purchase your pass through their box office so you can book seats through their system. Visit

Passes are valid for every single event in the Festival, whether you buy them here at, through the Performing Arts Centre, or at an event.

*Tickets will also be available for single purchase at the door, but we cannot guarantee there will be space.*

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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.