I really didn’t know who Fly Guy was until a year ago when the rights became available to adapt the book series for the stage. I asked a first grade teacher about the books and the next day I had two dozen drawings of Fly Guy on my desk. The teacher said to his class, “OCT is thinking about doing a play about Fly Guy. Can you draw them some pictures of Fly Guy?” As I understand it, they did not even go to the books for reference, they just started drawing. Kids love Fly Guy and, more importantly, they love to read the books.
OCT is so passionate about linking literacy to theater that we have created a program called Ticket to Read. This program will bring 47 classrooms from 14 schools to Fly Guy: The Musical for free. Each of these children, 1,250 to be exact, will receive their own copy of Fly Guy with a bookplate in the front that says, “This book belongs to__________.” I have helped deliver books to schools and it amazes me each time how thrilled kids are to own their own book. I also get a little overwhelmed with emotion because many of these kids immediately want you to read to them. I forget the genuine magic that is released when you read out loud to a child. Both books and theater open the door to worlds that you could never imagine. Together, giving children a book and a ticket has the potential to create a reader for life.
OCT has many dedicated partners who help us bring Ticket to Read to schools, including; Scholastic Books, PGE, The Timbers, KPMG, US Bank, Summer Lea Hillman Foundation, Firstenburg Foundation, and Umpqua Bank. They, like us, believe in the power of this program.
The heart and soul of OCT is to serve the children of our region with theatrical programs that unleash their imagination. In the audience today you may be sitting next to a group from St. Mary’s Home for Boys, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Friends of the Children, or Children’s Cancer Association. These are just a few of the organizations we support with tickets to the theater, because at OCT we believe that every child should experience live professional theater and have the opportunity to open up their worlds a little bit wider.
Oregon Children’s Theatre