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April 11, 2013

Diversity taught through laughter

Performers provide character education in circus-themed show


“I’m afraid everyone isn’t going to fit,” he said.

Smudgy comes storming out blowing her whistle reminding Doug he must include everyone. Doug tries again, making it work the second time.

Doug and Heidi have been putting on school assembly productions since 1987. Some are curriculum-focused, but 75 percent of their shows focus on character education. The first was called “Les Trouble, P.I. (Problem Investigator),” a conflict resolution show and their flagship production. According to the performers, “Les Trouble, P.I” began morphing in 1999 after the Columbine shootings. Doug and Heidi said after analysis by the Secret Service found that bullying played a major role in more than two-thirds of premeditated school shootings, they began receiving requests for a bully-proofing show. That is when “The Mystery of the Super Character Surprise” was born.

Two years later, after 9/11, the couple asked themselves whether shows about bully-proofing and conflict resolution were really enough. Doug then wrote “Diversity Circus.”

The performances at Cooperstown were made possible through funding provided by the Cooperstown Parent Teacher Association.

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