Yiann Stamas Reflects on the History of “Lights Camera Read” and its Evolution through Performing and Workshopping at a Series of NYPL Branches in NYC

Theater Group Performance

Yianni Stamas revealed to us that “Lights Camera Read” was originated many years ago by him and his wife along with other performers in the Inwood Manhattan Branch of the New York Public Library. The event was so well received by both kids and their parents, the troupe was asked to do another magic and reading experience.

Other Troupe Appearances

The Stamas family consisting of Yianni and Alison, along with their then toddler daughter, did a couple of different free shows at the Washington-Heights-Inwood “Y” that were open to the public and included entertainment, librarians talking about reading programs plus fun activities and free stuff giveaways.

The NYPL Library Magical Mystery Tour

Lights Camera Read evolved over a period of years and ultimately became a fixture in 3 other NYPL branches including one in midtown, another on the east side, and finally a branch in the upper west side.

Workshopping to Making a Difference

“Lights Camera Read” had gone from being a kid favorite, to now being an ongoing media workshop done in partnership with the late Rodger Taylor. Also, during this period pre COVID, the Magic Neighbors Theater Group partnered with Lights Camera Read to do a special show for homeless children in a Bronx branch of the NYPL.

Fun Experiences

The magic tricks, snow person costumes and other items used to entertain event goers have been traded in for other methods of creating community. The motivation for the Stamas’ in terms of creating “Lights Camera Read,” “Magic Neighbors” and other community building events, was not just to get communication going in their neighborhood, but was also to have fun experiences that their then toddler daughter could participate in.