Magic Carpet Theatre Celebrates 25 Years of Performing For Children

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Theatrical arts non-profit inspires children to become readers and writers

Catherine and children create the magic of theatre.

School Performance

“Children experience the positive messages in the literature because they participate with their hands, minds, and voices.”

In 1991, when a single theatrical performance for the Michigan Reading Association Conference was met with tremendous enthusiasm and demand, the Magic Carpet Theatre came to life and is now entering its 25th season. Through 563 performances in schools, libraries and communities in Michigan and Ohio, over 172,000 children have benefited from the creativity, inspiration and talents of this amazing non-profit that develops reading and literacy skills in children.

Catherine Zardus, Artistic Director, marvels at the longevity of Magic Carpet Theatre from such humble beginnings but is not entirely surprised. Once children begin to experience a live performance from the professional acting company, they are engaged with literature in a memorable way. “Magic Carpet Theatre’s mission is to bring top quality literature to life through our unique readers theatre style, which involves the active participation by our audience in the stories we perform. Since we use no literal sets, props, or costumes in our performance, the audience employs their imagination right along with the actors to create the magic of theatre.” Performances include children role playing in “The Sneetches” which helps them experience and identify the concept of discrimination, they create the storm sounds in “The Fisherman and his Wife” which addresses greed and bullying, and they make rhythms in the African folktale, “Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain” which raises their awareness that children across the world may be thirsty. “Children experience the positive messages in the literature because they participate with their hands, minds, and voices.”

By fostering a love for reading through their Magic Carpet Show© and exploring what goes into writing a good story through the Bridge Show©, children have fun while learning. Throughout Magic Carpet Theatres’ history, the reactions from children, parents and educators has consistently been one of amazement and profound appreciation. Zardus says “The opportunity to bring joy and inspiration into the lives of children through the dramatic arts has been a wonderful privilege. The imagination is an amazing gift and to help children discover and open that gift is tremendously rewarding.”

Magic Carpet Theatre has developed with generous grants and support from the Junior League of Detroit, the Bauervic Foundation and Target©, as well as donations from benefactors that have funded performances over the years. “Our partnerships have been invaluable in helping us perform for children in many schools where creative arts programs have been reduced or eliminated, allowing us to keep the dramatic arts as an integral aspect of their education.” In addition, the Magic Carpet Theatre has been prominently featured in publications by the Michigan Humanities Council, and has appeared at the Michigan Reading Association Conference, Michigan PTSA Conferences, Festival of the Arts in Detroit, The Fairytale Festival, and the Livonia’s Young Writer’s Conference.

A recent study featured by Education Next proves there are major learning benefits for students who attend live theater including literary knowledge, tolerance and empathy. Magic Carpet Theatre is a unique opportunity to bring live theatre right into schools. “We believe the greatest impact on a child’s education is their ability to read. It is of vital importance that they are inspired to read and by helping them use their imaginations they become better readers and writers, which profoundly effects their education.”

Magic Carpet Theatre, a 501c(3) educational non-profit organization, is dedicated to its mission of inspiring children to read by bringing literature to life through their unique and fun readers theatre style. They have performed their imaginative Magic Carpet Show, Bridge Show and Workshops for over 172,000 children in hundreds of schools, libraries and communities across Michigan and Ohio. Visit magiccarpettheatre.org for more information on these exciting assemblies and workshops or to book a performance.

Catherine Zardus, Founder & Artistic Director, Magic Carpet Theatre
Phone: 313-359-1736 • Email: Catherine(at)magiccarpettheatre.org

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Catherine Zardus
Magic Carpet Theatre
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