This One Goes to Eleven: Carole Higgins

Carole is the Artistic and Managing Director for one of the city’s most vital companies: Carousel Theatre for Young People, which has been turning kids onto the magic of performing arts for 35 seasons. She started her career with a BFA in acting from SFU, and performed across British Columbia before taking the Carousel reins.

Carole took the time away from getting A Year With Frog and Toad ready for opening this week to answer 11 Questions for us…

1. In one word, describe your present condition.

Exhausted and exhilarated. I am rehearsing two shows- one during the day and the other at night. I come in to the office at 8:00 am every morning to do admin before heading into the rehearsal hall…. AHHHH!!!!!

2. In as many words as you like, please describe the present condition of the Vancouver theatre scene.

Exciting, challenging and invigorating. Exciting in that there is so much interesting work being done here in Vancouver, and so much variety for audiences and theatre lovers. I love the concept of Hive, and all the site-specific work being done… the new emerging theatre companies that are forming and I love that the Arts Club is staging August: Osage County (an absolutely brilliant script) next season. At the same time, it’s very challenging given the cuts to the Arts here in BC.

3. What’s your favourite thing an audience member has ever said to you about one of your shows?

Hmmmm….tough to choose just one. I think it would be an email we had from a grandparent thanking us for the tender way that we staged the story Love You Forever. For me, staging that moment was a tribute to my dear mom, who left us twelve years ago after a long battle with cancer. My mom loved that story so much.

4. What part do you see Carousel playing in the theatre ecology of Vancouver?

We are Vancouver’s mainstage theatre for young audiences company. I love that so many young people experience theatre for the first time through Carousel Theatre, and hopefully we are encouraging our young patrons to be live-long theatre goers.

5. Jessie talked about the recent government funding setbacks. How are they affecting you as Artistic Director?

It’s scary. We have so many dreams, and now more than ever we are being forced to rely on earned revenue. We have put our touring program on hiatus, but we are going ahead with all other programming.

6. What would be your ultimate dream for Carousel if we could remove all obstacles?

To stage a year-round season of Mainstage theatre for young people, and to have our own theatre venue where we could stage not only our own productions, but bring in outstanding theatre for young audiences productions from across Canada, and around the world.

7. How does a piece get chosen for inclusion in one of your seasons?

I do a lot of research on what other TYA companies in Canada and the US are staging, and I think about different stories I loved as a child, and stories that children today are reading. I also consider suggestions from educators and subscribers. I visit bookstores, especially Kidsbooks. I look for stories that young people can enjoy with their families.

8. What’s your ‘how I fell in love with theatre’ story?

At age three I saw a family friend play a fairy princess in a Christmas pantomime. I was hooked for life.

9. What is your proudest theatrical moment to date?

Our production of Seussical the Musical.

10. What are your top 3 theatre reads?

I wish I had more time to read! All the classics.

11. What’s next?

Frog and Toad opens April 17th! Then it’s on to our fundraiser the Lawyer Show and then on to our Teen Shakespeare Program this summer.

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