The “Act Me a Story” Program

Our “Act Me a Story” program provides video recordings of selected children’s book readings by professional actors of color. These videos bring preschool children in touch with caring adults who connect with them through highly acclaimed stories, reflecting and celebrating opportunities for learning and experiencing their world.  Many children of our audience have limited access to books or adults to read to them. Act Me a Story was created by Washtenaw Promise in partnership with PlayZoomers, Inc. an international, online theatre company, based in Boston, MA.  The videos begin and end with a lively musical theme by Christine Barton.

Some of the storybooks. . . 

We’re pleased to make these videos available to all, and will be growing the library in the coming weeks. Check out our first completed videos now!

Our production team includes:

Tim Wilson is the co-founder and Executive Director of Washtenaw Promise. In addition to “Act Me a Story,” Washtenaw Promise initiatives include one-on-one volunteer mentoring for preschoolers, teacher wellness programs, work with The Imagination Library, and collaborative efforts in early childhood literacy, through partnerships with Ypsilanti Community Schools, the Washtenaw Intermediate School District, and many other local organizations that support children ages 0-5 and their families. During a career in education spanning over 40 years, Tim taught children of all grades in all subject areas, specializing in the sciences, was Head of School for Emerson School, Ann Arbor, MI, and received many awards and honors.
Jan Carpman, PhD is a founding producer and Executive Director of PlayZoomers. Previously, she founded, led the Board of Directors, and performed with a Michigan song-and-dance troupe (and its smaller offshoot) for nearly 25 years. She was also a director, producer, actor, rainmaker, set & prop designer, and tireless cheerleader for several community theatre companies. Jan has been Senior Advisor to Washtenaw Promise since its inception. With her co-producer, Mary Ann Nichols Hubbard, she has produced scores of plays for PlayZoomers, cast many, written two, directed several, and acted in a handful. In her other life, she is an architectural sociologist, inclusive wayfinding expert, and author of two, award-winning books.
Matt Mancour entered the film/TV world in 2001 and has worked in many aspects of the industry. Before making his home in Michigan, he served as a Location Coordinator for the Nevada Film Office, procuring filming locations for producers and directors including Michael Bay (“Transformers,” “Armageddon”), Sean Penn (“Into the Wild”), and Robert Luketic (“21,” “Legally Blonde”). Matt has received numerous awards from the Michigan Press Association related to visual production and storytelling.

PlayZoomers Actors

Lianne Awah
Mona Bapat
Nic Campos
Eddie Datz
Maria Eliades
Aziza Gharib
Syd Goin
Joaquín Madrid Larrañaga
Webster McDonald
Sergio Noriega
Crystal Watford Nuchurch
Nisha Singh