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Press Releases

Catriona's Castle has been featured in articles written by The Washington Post, Washington Parent, and numerous other DC metro area publications.

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From Monocacy Monocle article dated 8/23/13:

Catriona's Castle: Enchanting Children for 25 years by Susan Petro

     Local Poolesville resident and proprietor of Catriona's Castle, Karen Macgregor Ebert, didn't plan to become a fairy godmother when she studied theatre and drama in college. Although she dreamed of one day performing on stage, she took a more traditional career path working as an insurance agent and then as a caterer. Then she found true love helping children act out plays after she helped a teacher at her oldest son James’s school put on a classroom production of Cinderella.She funneled that love and passion into forming a children’s hands-on theater group company called Catriona’s Castle. 

     Karen described how the teacher was very into children’s theater as part of her class. The following year, Ebert’s son was in that teacher’s class and was chosen to play in a production of Hansel and Gretel. Ebert took an even larger role in helping with the production: assisting the children with their parts, making props, and even sewing some costumes." What I enjoyed was actually helping the children act out the performances themselves,” she said. 

     She decided as a leap of faith she would like to try her hand at doing her own productions. Ebert did her first show, Jack and the Beanstalk, at the Barnesville School twenty-five years ago to great success, and Karen has been making children’s dreams come true one event at a time ever since. Many of her original performance participants are now grown adults still residing in the Poolesville area.

     Ebert loves sewing and created many of the costumes and props herself. Over the years, she has amassed fifteen different story trunks; each with enough costumes for up to thirty participants for themes like Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and Peter Pan. One production, Dinosaur Castle, is her own story that she created with input from her youngest son, Andrew Watson, when he was just seven years old. Her props include items like a real spinning wheel and bed for Sleeping Beauty, a carriage for Cinderella, and a yellow brick for The Wizard of Oz. Her productions are geared for both boys and girls aged two through twelve, although Karen says that most of the children range from three to eight. The parties are fun for boys, too, Karen explained, “because they are not just playing dress up, they are actually acting out a play.

     Decked out in her pink fairy godmother costume, Catriona "flies” up to a seventy-mile radius, to bring drama and theater to life at birthday parties, schools, summer and day camps, and other venues in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. Ebert was honored to be hired by PBS to perform at the Library of Congress book festival held on the National Mall in D.C. a few years ago. She also performed at the National Theater Children’s Series.

     When Karen comes to the party or event dressed as a fairy godmother, she sets about creating a stage of props and backdrops and then turns the participants into a castof characters to perform the chosen story. The birthday child is always the main character. Although the parents usually just watch the performance, some parents and adults want to take part in the fun as well. She has easily-adjustable costumes that can be fitted to all shapes and sizes.

     Even a few high-profile clients have played roles in Catriona’s performances. Karen remembers when she showed up at one party to discover that the birthday girl’s grandfather was baseball legend and Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson and that the party was being held at his home. Robinson played a dragon at his granddaughter’s Sleeping Beauty party. Karen couldn’t wait to tell her husband Dan, an avid Brooks Robinson fan, that one of his favorite baseball stars was acting out a role in her party.

     When Karen showed up for another party dressed as Mother Goose, the former Wonder Woman, Lynda Carter, opened the door to let her in. Karen said when she booked a party for Lynda Carter’s son, she didn’t know it was The Lynda Carter. Other clients included former Vice-President Dick Cheney’s granddaughter, fitness guru Denise Turner’s daughter, NBA basketball star Kevin Grevey’s daughter, and even the Ambassador of Spain who played a deer in his daughter’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs party. At one party, Karen noticed prize fighter paintings and memorabilia all over the walls. She soon realized that she was performing at Mike Tyson’s house for a party booked by his former wife, Monica Turner, for their daughter.

     Originally, Karen did everything from creating the invitations, baking theme-based cakes for her parties. Now she uses other companies for those activities so she can focus solely on the performances. Customers can explore party theme ideas and view the wide assortment of optional cakes and accessories on her website: www.catrionascastle.com. When she is not hosting parties or events, Karen also teaches drama.

     After twenty-five years, Karen continues to relish her role as Catriona, the fairy godmother, and loves to perform for her audiences. However, Ebert’s greatest enjoyment comes from helping the children act out the story themselves. She looks forward to bringing fun, fantasy, and fairy tales into the lives of local children for many years to come.

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Below is an article published in Families Only.com October 2007 issue.

Well-Planned Birthday Parties Can Teach Valuable Lessons By Karen Macgregor Ebert, Founder, Catriona's Castle Hands-On Children's Theatre

In today's busy world for children, outside of the classroom environment there is so much one-on-one time spent on computers, video games, and watching television, that children can really miss out on some important life lessons. A well-planned birthday party can be a wonderful opportunity to help teach kids creativity, imagination, social interaction with peers, sharing, and manners. Interactive activities at birthday parties can be entertaining and educational. It is important that party activities are well planned and structured. Unstructured playtime at a party can become unruly and chaotic. Therefore, it is always best to have something for the children to do as they gather. A simple craft project is nice without taking too much time away from the scheduled activity. It is important to begin planned activities within fifteen minutes after the party start time, so that punctual children do not become anxious. Hands-on party entertainment involving children is a great avenue for peer interaction in a controlled manner. The party refreshment table keeps kids occupied for a maximum of fifteen minutes. Birthday presents can be overwhelming. Today, more parents are opting to open the presents after the party. It is very nice to send a thank-you not and will help teach your children about manners and gratitude. Party favors are best given out as children leave the party to prevent children from opening and scattering items. Try to relax and enjoy this special celebration with your child. He or she will be this age...once! Karen Macgregor Ebert is the founder of Catriona's Castle Hands-On Children's Theatre, based in Poolesville, Maryland, serving MD, DC, and VA. Contact them at 301-602-9877. Their Website is www.catrionascastle.com