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DML Magazine Summer 2020
Imagination Library


Pre-Production Workshops

We’re putting on a show! With support from several other organizations, Dayton Metro is creating a brand new, original theatrical production, FELIX & FIONA’S MUSICAL ADVENTURE. Before the premier takes place in June, there is a lot of work to be done! There are backdrops, sets, and props to build, and theatrical lighting to coordinate.

“We are very excited to have the guidance of Sinclair Community College’s Theatre Department for our pre-production work, but we’d love to get some help from anyone who is interested,” said Jayne Klose, Community Engagement Manager. “There are opportunities for kids, teenagers, adults and families to lend a hand with sets, props and other behind-the-scenes theater work.”

All sessions are free and take place at the Main Library, 215 E. Third Street.

FRI, APRIL 5, 3:30 - 5:30 PM, Opportunity Space @ St. Clair
Members of the Sinclair Community College Theatre Department will paint the backdrop for Dayton Metro Library's musical production that will debut at the Party in the Park on Saturday, June 29. Lend a hand with the painting or just drop in and watch how a backdrop is made.

FRI, APRIL 12, 3:30 - 5:30 PM, Opportunity Space @ St. Clair
Members of the Sinclair Community College Theatre Department will build the set and props for Felix & Fiona’s Musical Adventure. Lend a hand or just drop in and watch how theatre props are made.

MON, APRIL 15, 7 - 8:00 PM, Bassani Theater Off Third
Sinclair Community College Theatre Department faculty member Daniel Brunk will teach the basics of theatre lighting using the equipment in the Main Library's Bassani Theater. See the equipment and learn how lighting enhances the theatrical experience.

 The world premier of FELIX & FIONA’S MUSICAL ADVENTURE is scheduled for Saturday, June 29, at the Dayton Metro Library’s Party in the Park at the Main Library and Cooper Park, downtown.

More information about the creation of the musical, which is designed to support Third Grade Reading Proficiency, follows below.


A Musical Experience for Third Grade Reading

Gwen E Owen
Content Writer, Dayton Metro Library

bookHave you met Felix and Fiona? These two friendly faces are the stars of a new, multi-faceted project led by Dayton Metro Library to support students in Ohio’s Third Grade Reading Guarantee. They are the main characters in a brand new, original book, Felix and Fiona: The Big Stink and Other Adventures – along with an original musical composition and theatrical production too.

“Kids will be able to read the book, watch a live production, listen to the score, or experience any blend of the three,” said Diane Farrell, Director of External Relations and Development. “All kids can discover their favorite way to experience the story, and be encouraged in both reading and creativity.”

The chapter book, currently in production, features best friends Felix and Fiona getting ready for a talent show, cheering up a classmate with new braces, and trying to figure out the source of a mysterious odor that’s disrupting the whole school. The book, written and illustrated by a local team of Children’s Librarians, educators and an outside creative firm, is designed to delight third graders while meeting educational standards to blend into the third grade curriculum. As third graders themselves, Felix and Fiona interact with friends, deal with misunderstandings, and have a lot of silly fun too.

Why third grade? Research shows that from birth through third grade, children focus on "learning to read." From fourth grade onward, children "read to learn." This shift in education means that reading proficiency by the end of third grade is vital. In fact, studies have shown that third grade reading proficiency is the single greatest indicator in determining high school graduation success. The Third Grade Reading Guarantee is an Ohio Department of Education effort to keep students on track.

Why is there a musical element? Comprehension increases when an auditory component is coupled with print. In fact, students comprehend content at two grade levels higher when they not only read it, but hear it as well. DML is collaborating with partners at Sinclair College, Muse Machine, Austin Jaquith, and Montgomery County Educational Services to compose music and create the accompanying theatrical production.

Why do these characters look familiar? This is DML’s third original book featuring Felix and Fiona. In 2015, DML launched First Club, a campaign to ensure that first graders receive library cards. A key element of First Club is The Awesome, Amazing, Wonderful Book of First Grade Firsts, a picture book starring Felix and Fiona as first graders gaining responsibilities and independence, and getting their first library cards. Each fall, Children’s Librarians share the book and activities in first grade classrooms across Montgomery County. To date, nearly 11,300 first graders have received their own library cards through First Club.

Getting a library card is only the first step. Felix and Fiona also appear in a follow up book called The Awesome, Amazing, Wonderful First Trip to the Library, so that all those new library cardholders would know what to expect – and what wonders they can find – at their Library.

What’s next for the project? Families will be able to participate in set-building workshops and prop and costume classes, led by partnering arts organizations. Then, the production will be performed free at Dayton Metro Library Branches this summer. The book will be available for checkout, and the music can be downloaded from the Library's Digital Collection. Ultimately, DML will gift the production and accompanying curriculum to Muse Machine for future use.

“Muse Machine is an incredible asset to our community and well-versed in educational arts outreach,” said Farrell. “We're very pleased and fortunate to partner with them.”

The project is made possible with the support of a federal Institute of Museum and Library Services LSTA grant awarded by the State Library of Ohio, the Ohio Arts Council, The Frank M. Tait Foundation, and the Dayton Metro Library Foundation.

“Sponsor organizations, as well as individual donors who believe in the magic of blending literacy with arts, have stepped up to help make this program a reality,” said Farrell. “It’s truly a collaborative effort. We’re excited to play our role as a valued literacy partner for schools, and a collaborator with the quality arts and educational organizations in our region.”

For more information, contact Chuck Duritsch, External Relations Manager, at (937) 496-8586 or email

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