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The Carnival of Animals

The silhouette of a person overlaying the silhouette of an animal's head filled with greens and oranges and yellows on a green background. The words "The Carnival of Animals" appear along the top and "Tottering Biped" are across the bottom.

Created by Trevor Copp & Robin Patterson


Number of Performers: 2

Language: English

Length: 1 hour



Robert Missen, The Bobolink Agency


The Carnival of Animals is a classical music composition by Camille Saint-Saëns, often used to introduce children to the world of classical Western music with movements devoted to elephants, chickens, and turtles. Our production features Trevor Copp's interpretation of these animals - watch him become a clucking, growling, and flapping parade of animals who bridge this wonderful music to the hearts of children and adults alike. 


Each animal will also be introduced by  poems considering the ecological role these animals play in this world we share, poems that were longlisted for the Canadian Society for Children's Literature awards. The Carnival of Animals tours as a solo show or as a performance with orchestras. 

A man dressed in black stands in front of a harp and a cello with his hands on his hips, impersonating an animal.
A man dressed in black crouches in front of an orchestra, impersonating an animal with his mouth open wide.

A special feature of 'Carnival' is the original texts. 'Carnival' is traditionally performed using the poetry of Ogden Nash, text which we felt could use some updating. So we penned new verses, creating a collection of poems which draws attention to the Environmental themes of the music.


Here's the first poem:

Before the thrill

When Saint-Saëns’ quill

Notated this noted notation,

That quill had a bill

Whose trills filled hills

From nation to nation to nation.


Can we return that quill

To the bird who trilled

And flew and feasted and foraged?

Who saw from great heights

The world and its sites

Then fell among the foliage?


Can these strings grow wings? 

Can this flute song sing

As sounded the Amazon basin?

Can these reeds reseed 

Till the trees and weeds

Reclaim their conquered kingdom?


Can these ivory tusks,

The keys we now thrust,

Regain their hornèd complexion?

And grow like plants

Into the elephants 

From whose hollowed husks we plucked them?


Sit in silence broken.

I think I see the first one…

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