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Carousel Theatre’s The Papa Penguin Play Celebrates Family In All Its Forms

Events
3 min read
Three Actors From The Carousel Theatre in costumes for the Papa Penguin Play

When Vancouver playwright Dave Deveau became a father six years ago, he went on a search to find stories that represented families of all shapes and sizes.

“Our search led us to the adorable children’s book, And Tango Makes Three, about Central Park Zoo’s famously unconventional penguin family, and it’s been a favourite ever since,” says Deveau, who now shares two sons with his husband, Cameron Mackenzie.

But as a local theatre maker, he noticed these stories had yet to translate to the stage: “I wanted to create a work that added to the legacy of children’s stories about queer families, in recognition of the many different ways a family can look.”

That’s when he partnered with three Vancouver organizations, including Vancouver International Children’s Festival, Zee Zee Theatre, and Carousel Theatre for Young People – where he serves as Co-Artistic and Managing Director, to create a brand new play for young children and their families that celebrates queer families.

Inspired by And Tango Makes Three – the true story of two male penguins who were gifted an egg at New York’s Central Park Zoo – as well as his own parenting experience, The Papa Penguin Play is a playful and imaginative work that follows a pair of penguin fathers and their zoo keeper friend as they navigate the delightful chaos of throwing a first birthday party.

In The Papa Penguin Play, penguins Peaches and Izzy are the Zoo’s main attraction: two male penguins who put on daily shows to visitors’ delight. Their dream to have a family of their own comes true, thanks to help from their friendly Zoo Keeper, when they are gifted an egg, which through their diligent care yields their baby chick, Hedgie. The play welcomes children ages 3-8 and their families to put on their party hats and step inside the colourful and family-affirming celebration that is Hedgie’s first birthday.

The visually-spectacular, over-the-top show pulls out all the stops to celebrate the occasion, with puppetry, drag performance, musical numbers, and audience immersion into a joyful hour of theatre for young audiences.

The play is directed by Mackenzie – Deveau’s husband, co-parent, and Artistic and Executive Director of Zee Zee Theatre, and stars Jeffrey Follis, Kosta Lemermeyer, Rae Takei, and Katie Voravong.

The creative team also includes Set Designer Kimira Reddy; Sound Designer MJ Coomber; Lighting Designer Victoria Bell; Props Designer Monica Emme; Puppet Designer & Director Stephanie Elgersma; and Movement Coach Nicole Rose Bond.

Carousel Theatre’s The Papa Penguin Play Celebrates Family In All Its Forms - BC Parent Newsmagazine

The Papa Penguin Play will be at Granville Island’s Waterfront Theatre until June 2, 2024, and is included in the Vancouver International Children’s Festival program line-up.

Tickets and show information at carouseltheatre.ca

Carousel Theatre’s The Papa Penguin Play Celebrates Family In All Its Forms - BC Parent Newsmagazine

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