A new professional theater company is looking to bring the arts into area schools and is hiring actors for its touring productions.
The Pied Piper Theatre is the brainchild of two local children's theater veterans. Artistic director Brendan Byers spent nearly a decade as both a performer and managing director with Magic Carpet Theatre, a similar theater that used to be operated by the Oakland Center for the Arts. Educational Director Patricia M. Fagan has worked with Kent State University at Trumbull Summer Stock, Trumbull County Arts EXCEL and Youngstown Playhouse Youth Theatre. Fagan also has written several plays targeted to young audiences.
"(Magic Carpet Theatre) was one of the most rewarding things I ever did," Byers said. "When the Oakland wasn't doing Magic Carpet anymore and it fell by the wayside, I was talking to Pat Fagan, who is so good at this and who's scripts are so wonderful, and we decided why don't we do a touring company again."
Pied Piper is planning to start with two scripts written by Fagan - "The Frog Prince," which will be targeted toward children from preschool to grade 3; and "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," which will be for children in grades 4-8.
"I read a lot of scripts, and then I look at her stuff and it's so much better than what's out there," Byers said. "They are great titles, but the messages in both of them are so relevant ... We touch on bullying in both of them, keeping promises, peer pressure, cliques. It's so relevant to everything that is still going on. These issues don't go away."
Byers performed in both of these shows as a member of Magic Carpet.
"Out of all her scripts, these were my favorites," he said. "They were really successful that year. We did really well. I have very fond memories of these."
At its peak, Magic Carpet Theatre was doing more than 300 performances every school year in northeastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania.
"We went out most of the time five days a week," Byers said. "A lot of days we did four shows, sometimes five."
Auditions for Pied Piper Theatre will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at Easy Street Productions, 865 Mahoning Ave., Youngstown. Needed are male and female actors, ages 18 and older, who are available for daytime, weekday performances. Auditioners should bring a wallet-size photo and will be asked to read from the script.
All positions are paid. For more information, call 412-512-4420.